It was a nice drive up the 395. We listened to talk radio, stopped at Stater Brothers in Adelanto and chatted most of the way.
For this trip I wanted to venture into Cow Haven Canyon to collect species I haven't documented yet. The road into Cow Haven Canyon was surprisingly smooth. Smoother than Sage Canyon and Horse Canyon.
As we drove into the canyon and reached the Wilderness boundary I was mentioning to my mom that all of the Joshua trees were blooming this year. When we got to the Joshua trees they were all fruiting. Even though she did not get to see the epic bloom, she did admire the gigantic fruit pods.
Driving into the canyon a little farther, my mom said "Oh! There's a cactus blooming!" We stopped the truck, geared up, put sunblock on and headed over to the many blooming beaver tail cacti (Opuntia basilaris). I'm so glad we got to see the cacti blooming! It must be the first days of the bloom. Each Opuntia had one flower each, with many more to follow.
|Beaver tail in action|
|Mom botanizing the desert floor|
It was a beautiful day, a little on the warmer side with nice breezes in-between. My mom kept admiring how clear the clean the air was and the blue skies. She said that she was having difficulty breathing such clean air, we're not used that kind of freshness in the Inland Empire. I think she really admired the clarity and fresh air. We got back in the truck and drove to the end of the road in Cow Haven Canyon. We parked the truck and followed a trail up the canyon. Again not too many plants were flowering. We made some collections and the trail seemed to have vanished. We went down a sandy steep slope into a wash. I'm proud to say my mom did a fantastic job navigating the steep terrain. She seemed a little hesitant at first but I said, "if cows can do it, so can we." Her quick witted reply was, "they have four legs!" Nonetheless we successfully made it down without anyone taking a tumble. We ventured up the wash a little ways, but we encountered biting flies. That was our sign to turn back.
|At the end of the canyon|
|Down in the wash|
|Death of a Joshua tree|
Leaving Cow Haven Canyon we had time to go over to Sage Canyon. I really wanted to show her Sage Canyon because it is my favorite canyon so far. I made a collection of Savia dorrii and drove to the end of the canyon to take a look at the Dudleya sp. to see if it was flowering. My mom is seriously a trooper. We hiked up a steep hillside to get to the rock outcrop. She sat and waited at the top while I went down the other side of the hill to check-in on the Dudleya. I found the Dudleya but they were still not blooming! I snagged a little piece of the clump, hoping that the flowers will open up if I let the plant sit on my porch.
|Dudleya still not flowering|
|Heading back to the truck|
|Mmmm mmmm :)|