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Wildflowers – Sierra Spring 2011 (Part 3)

Natural Bridge landscape
Perfect day for a hike but a lot of pollen in the air.

I was determined to take a hike last weekend even though conditions were still windy and the pollen count was off the scale. I did something I rarely do and that is to take an antihistamine. Sometimes they work just fine and then other times they make me feel worse so it was a gamble. Other than feeling tired more quickly, I think it ended up being a good day outdoors.

Wildflowers and Creek
Looking down from about half way to the water.

Some of the family had other plans so in the end it was my husband, my oldest son, and I who hit the trail. I like hiking in small groups so this worked out great for taking our time and quietly enjoying the views and wildflowers.There were a few other families on the trail but everyone was friendly.

Unidentified Flower 2

I had my usual wildflower game going where I try to name the flowers as we pass them by…mostly in my head but sometimes out loud if the guys happened to stop to point one out. This plant is something new and we almost missed it growing right along the trail in a rock face.

Unidentified Flower
How it can manage to grow stuck right in the crack of the rock is amazing. You can see the delicate yellow flowers with the cute little pansy-like faces. It is always frustrating to me when I can’t readily identify a plant, although I think I learn more when I have to really break the plant down and look at its parts to work with the field guide. I will come back to edit if I discover the name of this one.

Poppies in the Rock

Here is another angle where you can see a poppy determined to grow right in the same crack. The rock is along a steep section of the trail and there was much graffiti scratched into the surface.

Ferns in a Rock

How about a fern on the same rock?

Back to the hike…it was warm and there were birds singing practically the whole way down to the water (which was our destination).

Hiking Landscape
We had parked at the top of the canyon and began the trail which wound around and down a steep grade. We took our time and noticed quite a bit of poison oak already flourishing at the trail’s edge and I was so glad we didn’t have the dog with us. She is oblivious to poison oak.

This plant is growing in patches alongside the trail on rocky outcrops. It is a striking color and seems to grow right on the rocks. I believe it is a variety of Dudleya, perhaps this one.

Chinese Lanterns
More Chinese lanterns in the shady spots….love this flower.

I have been noticing the abundance of thistle this year. It is very pretty right now with its purple flowers.

Tidy Tips

This is one trail where I know to look for Tidy tips. Look carefully and you will notice the notice the difference between this and other yellow flowers.

Maverick Clover

I really want to take the time to record this flower in my nature journal, partly because it is my favorite color but also because I like the way when you slow down to observe it closely it has the purple dots on the petals that seem to point the way for insects to come and investigate its pollen.

Natural Bridge
So this was our destination….the natural bridge. The creek comes right through the rocks here in this spot….looks like a cave but it is more like a tunnel. You can wade through the water and come out the other side if you want to, which I don’t. We were content to enjoy the sound of the water rushing through the rock and seeing the water cascading down at the opening.

Natural Bridge 2

There are formations on the top that are covered in moss…stalactites from the top rock that hang down. Sort of on the creepy side but still very interesting.

We reached our destination and found a place to sit on the rocks to rest and enjoy the setting. There were quite a number of birds including robins, towhees, swallows, and one bird that sang and sang and sang. I had my mini binoculars with me and I was able to capture a glimpse at him in a tree on the other side of the creek. Between the song and the quick look, I identified him as a Black-headed grosbeak.

We sat near the water for quite a long time just enjoying our first real spring hike of the year. We drank some water and then started back up the hill to the car. Even with allergies, allergy head, and with the heat, I was able to keep up with the men.


One last interesting image from the day….bright orange lichen covered many of the rocks. What a punch of color!

Hope you enjoyed seeing our spring hike and some of our wildflowers….more to come. You can count on that.

7 thoughts on “Wildflowers – Sierra Spring 2011 (Part 3)

  1. This is wonderful!!!

  2. I love taking these walks with y’all. I enjoy the warmer dryer weather flowers! We have/had a waterfall that the bottom had that ledge, and it fell this winter. I look foward to going to see the change!

  3. We love Natural Bridges and have been there several times. My Mom lives in Murphys. I’m glad you enjoyed your hike!

  4. hello barb! i love your hiking day 🙂 i love learning about the flowers and the birds you see. we need to get out again. i need to do some “serious” scheduling 😛

  5. Oh, what an adorable little yellow flower! Sounds like a lovely hike–we are really looking forward to being outdoors more as the weather warms up!

  6. Beautiful! The flowers growing from rocks are lovely — and such survivors. And the natural bridge is incredible. Looks like you had a lovely day to get outdoors! Kathy at

  7. Your photos are beautiful and your hikes always look like a lot of fun!
    I homeschooled my two, now young adults, girls and enjoyed using Anna Comstock’s ‘Handbook of Nature Study’ with them at different times. Now that they have graduated homeschool high school, I use the book….. for ME!
    I enjoy visiting your blog and appreciate all the information you share with us.
    Thank you.
    Lisa in SC

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