It was a trip chocked-full of collecting. Sarah De Groot, a recent PhD graduate, assisted me in the field for three fun-filled days. There was so much to see and collect. The wildflowers were going crazy, especially the Gilia. Sarah decided that Horse Canyon will now forever be known as Gilia Lake Canyon. There was so much Gilia, is was out of control.
I am so thankful that the last rain event spurred this much growth. I can't believe that it was the right amount of water at the right time.
The field days for this trip were very long. Therefore, I've decided to document this trip as a photo-log with intermittent text.
We left RSABG Thursday afternoon and reached Bird Springs Pass around 8:00 pm. We set up camp, ate dinner and then it was lights out.
Friday, March 21st
I was glad to be back in my study site. I have been obsessing about it in my head. Where to go next? What will I find? Which canyon will be producing?
In the morning we started my mini project, "A Flora of the Pacific Crest Trail in the Kiavah Wilderness."
|Bird Springs Pass. PCT trailhead|
|Tragopogon dubious (?) a non-native|
|Chamaesyce sp. So tiny. I have a soft spot for little plants|
|Lupinus concinnus. Common but cute|
|A different Poppy! Not the CA poppy!|
|Nama sp. and Eschscholzia sp. Beautiful spring colors!|
|Green as far as the eye can see. Bird Spring Canyon|
|Welcome to Cholla Canyon|
Saturday, March 22nd
|Camp at the end of Cholla Canyon Road|
|Sarah leading the way to the outcrop|
|Eriogonum sp. Tiny cute annual buckwheat|
|A lupine and Camissonia claviformis|
|A capitate Gilia|
|Bunches of California poppies|
|One of the most beautiful natural floral bouquets|
|Leaving Cholla Canyon as the clouds rolled in|
Short Canyon was not short of surprises, it's where we possibly made a noteworthy collection of a fern!
|Notholaena californica. Possibly the first record for Kern county!|
|Check out the chalky surface of this fern|
Sunday, March 23rd
In the morning I decided to go back to Horse Canyon. Last Saturday Horse Canyon was pretty impressive and I wanted to see how much it had changed in a weeks time. We started down Highway 178. I was explaining to Sarah how well the BLM portion near the highway was doing the last time I was there with Tommy Stoughton. We parked in a turnout and dropped into a wash to find a beautiful display of hundreds and thousands little flowers in bloom.
We collected what we could and realized that we could have spent the entire day in this one wash. But time was running short and we had to get over to Horse Canyon to see it in all of its glory.
|Highway 178 desert wash. A lone Leptosyne|
|Bunches of Malacothrix glabrata on the bank of the wash|
|I hate ants, but I love them in their natural habitat|
|A happy little sun cup|
|Xylorhiza tortifolia var. tortifolia. Finally! My first collection of it|
We made it over to Horse Canyon and it was amazing! In over a week, the hillsides were painted with more color. More blue from Gila, more yellow from Leptosyne and orange from the poppies. I drove up the switchbacks to see how high in elevation things were growing.
And then I had to photo document something that continues to be a threat to my study site. OHV trespassing. Ugh. Seriously. Come on. Fresh tire tracks could be seen in the sandy soil. It seems that this year there is more illegal tire tacks in the Wilderness compared to last year. I also documented many broken "no motorized vehicles past this point" signs. I'm pretty upset that people feel the need to destroy signage and the Wilderness.
|The signs are not working. Spike strips might halt illegal activity|
|I call them the three sisters. I've been keeping a close eye on them. First time seeing bloom|
|Astragalus sp. such vibrant colors|
|An Allium sp. ? about to bloom!|