Fortunately, I was able to visit the high desert near Pearblossom this past weekend, March 9th, 2014. Oh my! Certain areas in the desert were just spectacular! We found Muilla coronata in flower! This was the sign I had been waiting for. This was the sign that screamed, "Get out there! Go to the Kiavah ASAP!"
|Fellow classmates smelling desert annuals near Pearblossom, California|
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Tommy and I left from Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, around 11:30 a.m. We headed up the 395 with ease.
It was a great day to go to the field. We parked on the side of Highway 178, geared up and started our hike straight up the slopes into the Sequoia National Forest Boundary. Our destination was Pinyon Peak. We were going to backpack in and botanize the flat dry meadow at the top.
At about sunset and after climbing over 1000 vertical feet for three hours, we decided to set up camp, eat dinner and call it a night.
|Setting up camp. Owens Peak in the background.|
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
From camp we loaded daypacks with collecting gear and the essentials and headed over to the dry meadow. It took about an hour or so to get to. As we were hiking we noted tons and tons of Allium leaves, but no flowers in sight. At one point all of the Allium leaves looked like grass blades. It was spectacular. I cannot wait to see which species it could be.
|Tons of Allium sp. leaves littering the ground. Photo by T. Stoughton|
|Dry as a bone meadow. Carex sp. popping up. Pinus Jeffreyii bordering the meadow.|
|Little Lewisia rediviva leaves. Photo: T. Stoughton|
We reached base camp, packed up our gear and headed out. As we were hiking out we noticed that a couple of things were in bloom but near the lower elevations. We picked up the few things we found and finally reached the car.
|Phacelia fremontii Photo by T. Stoughton|
We decided that we could stop along the highway and collect in the BLM area since we had a little time before sunset. We found a turn out, parked, got out of the car and then it happened. TONS and TONS of annuals! All over! This was what I was looking for and I only had less than 45 minute to scour the desert floor in sandals. Tommy and I hunted like mad botanists in pursuit of something great. We must have looked crazy. One would scream a plant name, "BOECHERA!" and the other collector would yell, "CASTELLEJA!" It was a collecting frenzy.
|Collecting desert annuals. Lots of green going on|
|Pressing our bounty|
|Tommy and Boechera pulchra in a Joshua tree woodland.|