|Phillip and Millie at the county line|
|Collecting 101 tutorial|
|Millie's first collections! Sun cups|
|A sea of Golden Linanthus with Millie and Preston|
|Up close and personal with a Sun Cup|
After spending some time on the exposed dry hot desert floor, I figured it was time to reward my crew with some shade. We headed up Horse Canyon to the top of the ridge. As we drove up the switchbacks, Mille was pointing out flowers and asking if we could collect them. If it was a calm weekday I would have stopped the truck in a heartbeat. The only problem with the Kiavah Wilderness on the weekends is the off-roaders on their "too fast, too furious" OHV's. Mille spotted the Desert Dandelions (Malacothrix glabrata) and was very insistent that we make a collection of it. I was pretty sure we would see it at the top of the ridge, but when we reached the top and parked the truck we didn't see any. Millie did find a bunch of cute ittty-bitty Polemoniaceae plants and Miner's Lettuce (Claytonia parviflora spp. parviflora). After we collected those, we decided it was time to eat lunch under the Pinyons before embarking on a one mile downhill hike to Yellow Jacket Springs.
|On our way to the springs|
On our hike down to Yellow Jacket Springs, Preston kept pointing out awesome rocks to Millie. I quickly learned that Millie is quite the rockhound. If she could she would probably take every single rock we encountered home with her. Even though the wilderness is mostly granite, there are very pretty rocks all around. I should have followed suit in Millies collection of geologic specimens. I'm pretty sure we came across a metamorphic outcrop. Time to buy that rock-hammer and get collecting.
As we descended the trail we finally found the spring. It was pretty interesting and very green. We made a collection of Alkali Buttercups (Ranunculus cymbalaria) and a sedge (Carex sp.). Then we decided it was time to turn back and hike back to the truck.
|Yellow Jacket Spring|
|Doing what botanists do best|
Did I mention the hike was one mile downhill? That means that the hike back was one mile uphill! Millie hiked a total of two miles. For some of us this expedition was a cakewalk (Preston!) for the rest of us it was a little tiresome. We made it back to the truck, turned on the air conditioner and let the car cool before heading to Hesperia for some In-N-Out.
I throughly enjoyed my time in the wilderness with the Alba crew. They really know how to have a good time and they were great sports in the field. Millie's identification and collecting skills were phenomenal! Phillip's photographs really captured the moments and Preston's presence was a delight! I would be happy to venture back to the field with them!