Archive for March, 2016

Flowers on Nine Trails

March 25, 2016

My best guess for the flowers on the Nine Trails course tomorrow…


Asparagaceae

Dichelostemma capitatum
blue dicks

JanJuly

Melanthiaceae

Toxicoscordion fremontii
Star Lily

FebJuly

Poaceae

Avena barbata
Slender Wild Oat

MarMay

Apiaceae

Torilis arvensis
Field Hedge Parsley

March
Sanicula arguta
Sharp-Toothed Sanicle

FebMay
Sanicula crassicaulis
Pacific Sanicle

FebMay
Apiastrum angustifolium
Wild Celery

MarMay
Tauschia arguta
southern tauscia

JanJune

Asteraceae

Cotula australis
Southern Brass Buttons

JanJune
Matricaria discoidea
pineapple weed

FebJune
Baccharis salicifolia
Mulefat

JulyMay
Logfia filaginoides
California Cottonrose

FebMar
Pseudognaphalium biolettii
twocolor cudweed

AugMay
Bidens pilosa
Beggar’s ticks

All year
Encelia californica
Bush sunflower

All year
Venegasia carpesioides
canyon sunflower

All year
Senecio vulgaris
Old man of Spring

DecMay
Centaurea solstitialis
Yellow star thistle

MarDec
S. asper
Prickly sow-thistle

DecJuly
Uropappus lindleyi
Silver Puffs

MarJune

Adoxaceae

Sambucus nigra-caerulea
Blue Elderberry

All year

Apocynaceae

Vinca major
periwinkle

All year

Rubiaceae

Galium porrigens
graceful bedstraw

FebAug

Lamiaceae

Stachys rigida
woodmint

DecOct
Salvia mellifera
black sage

DecSep
Salvia spathacea
hummingbirdsage

NovJuly

Oleaceae

Fraxinus dipetala
Flowering Ash

FebApr

Orobanchaceae

Castilleja foliolosa
Woolly Indian Paintbrush

JanJuly

Phrymaceae

Mimulus aurantiacus
sticky monkeyflower

DecSep

Plantaginaceae

Antirrhinum kelloggii
climbing snapdragon

FebJune
Collinsia heterophylla
Chinese Houses

FebJuly

Scrophulariaceae

Scrophularia californica
California Figwort

JanOct

Convolvulaceae

Calystegia macrostegia
Coastal Morning Glory

All year

Solanaceae

Solanum douglasii
white nightshade

All year
Solanum xanti
purple nightshade

All year

Boraginaceae

Amsinckia menziesii
common Fiddleneck

FebJune
Cryptantha sp.
popcornflower

JanAug
Eriodictyon crassifolium
Bicolored Yerba Santa

MarApr
Eucrypta chrysanthemifolia
spotted hideseed

JanJuly
Phacelia grandiflora
large flowered phacelia

FebAug
Phacelia viscida-albiflora
white Sticky Phacelia

JanJuly
Pholistoma auritum
fiesta flower

JanJune

Loasaceae

Mentzelia micrantha
Stick-Leaf

January

Ericaceae

Arctostaphylos glandulosa
Eastwood manzanita

JanMay
Comarostaphylis diversifolia
Summer Holly

FebJuly

Polemoniaceae

Gilia capitata
Globe gilia

FebJuly
Leptodactylon californicum
Prickly-phlox

JanJuly

Grossulariaceae

Ribes speciosum
Fuchsia-flowered gooseberry

DecApr

Saxifragaceae

Lithophragma cymbalaria
Mission Star

FebMay
Micranthes californica
California Saxifrage

FebMay

Amaranthaceae

Chenopodium murale
Nettle-leaved goosefoot

DecJune

Caryophyllaceae

Stellaria media
chickweed

DecJune

Montiaceae

Calandrinia menziesii
Red-maids

JanMay
Claytonia perfoliata
miner’s lettuce

JanJune

Nyctaginaceae

Mirabilis laevis
Wishbone bush

DecJuly

Brassicaceae

Brassica nigra
black mustard

DecJuly
Capsella bursa-pastoris
Shepherd’s purse

JanMay
Cardamine californica
milk maids

DecMay
Cardamine oligosperma
bittercress

JanApr
Caulanthus lasiophyllus
California mustard

FebJune
Hirschfeldia incana
Summer Mustard

All year
Sisymbrium officinale
Hedge Mustard

FebJune
Thysanocarpus curvipes
Fringe Pod

FebMay

Geraniaceae

Erodium botrys
long-beaked storksbill

JanSep
Erodium cicutarium
Red-stemmed storksbill

DecAug
Geranium dissectum
cut-leaved geranium

FebMay

Cistaceae

Helianthemum scoparium
Common Rush-Rose

All year

Onagraceae

C. hirtella
Hairy suncup

FebApr
Eulobus californicus
California suncup

JanAug

Anacardiaceae

Rhus integrifolia
Lemonade Berry

SepApr
Toxicodendron diversilobum
poison oak

DecMay

Cucurbitaceae

Marah fabaceus
common manroot

NovMay
Marah macrocarpus
Chilicothe

JanMar

Fabaceae

Lathyrus vestitus
common pacific pea

SepJune
Lupinus hirsutissimus
stinging lupine

JanJune
Lupinus nanus
sky lupine

FebJune
Lupinus succulentus
arroyo lupine

DecJuly
Acmispon glaber
Deerweed

All year
Acmispon grandiflorus
Chaparral lotus

DecJune
Acmispon maritimus
Coastal Lotus

JanJuly
Medicago polymorpha
Bur Clover

DecJune
Melilotus indicus
yellow sweet clover

SepJuly

Fagaceae

Quercus agrifolia
Coast live oak

JanMay

Rhamnaceae

Ceanothus spinosus
Greenbark

DecAug
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus
Blue Bush

DecJune
Rhamnus crocea
Spiny Redberry

FebMar
Rhamnus ilicifolia
Holly-leaved Redberry

FebMay

Rosaceae

Cercocarpus betuloides
Mountain Mahogany

FebJune
Prunus ilicifolia
Holly-leaved cherry

JanJune
Rubus ursinus
california blackberry

DecAug

Euphorbiaceae

Ricinus communis
Castor bean

All year

Oxalidaceae

Oxalis corniculata
Yellow Sorrel

DecJune
Oxalis pes-caprae
sourgrass

NovJune

Papaveraceae

Dendromecon rigida
Bush poppy

All year
Eschscholzia caespitosa
Tufted Poppy

JanSep
Fumaria parviflora
fine leaved fumitory

JanApr

Ranunculaceae

Clematis lasiantha
wild clematis

JanMay
Delphinium parryi
purple larkspur

FebJune
Ranunculus californicus
California Buttercup

JanMay
Thalictrum fendleri
Fendler’s Meadow-rue

FebMay

Aytoniaceae

Asterella
California Asterella

Dryopteridaceae

Dryopteris
Coastal Wood Fern

Polypodiaceae

Polypodium
California Polypody

Blechnaceae

Woodwardia
Giant Chain Fern
Elgaria
California Aligator Lizard

Nymphalidae

Euphydryas
Variable Checkerspot

Papilionidae

Papilio
Western Tiger Swallowtail

Arionidae

Ariolimax
Pacific Banana Slug
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The Waterfall on Gidney Creek

March 9, 2016

Gidney Creek has its headwaters near the little bench on the backside of Cold Spring trail (the one about half a mile down from Camino Cielo with the watertrough beside it). Gidney flows down, roughly parallel to the trail until Forbush Camp at which point it turns west, out of my ken and eventually flows into Gibraltar Reservoir just east of the back side of Gibraltar Rd.

Forbush sits on a divide and on a wet enough day there’s a little spring in the meadow, perhaps 100 yards from Gidney but which flows east down Forbush Canyon to Cottam meadow where it merges with Blue Creek. It’s kind of neat to see a place where two different watersheds diverge.

Gidney Map

Perhaps two thirds of the way down to Forbush there’s a spot where you can turn and look back up the canyon, and if you are lucky you’ll see a waterfall. This doesn’t happen very often, there must be a good flow down Gidney Creek, and I hadn’t seen it for years.

But I saw it yesterday.

There was water flowing near the bench, and I could hear the stream intermittently as I ran downhill, so when I got to the magic spot I turned and looked back and there it was.

It’s hard to get a good look at it because you can’t even see it except at this one spot, and you’re fairly far away there. It’s even harder to take a good picture because, looking north, you are always looking into the sun, and because the waterfall itself is in a shaded nook surrounded by sun.

Maybe if I had a stronger zoom and could get rid of the bright background… But that camera is too heavy to run with.

GidWaterfall1

GidWaterfall2

I ran on down to the Grotto, and then back. The waterfall was still flowing, and I thought what a pity it was not to be able to take a better picture (at this hour the view was even worse because there was more light nearby but still none on the falls.

As I plodded up the trail I was tempted to go down to the creek and look at the falls from close up. After all, who knew when they’d next be running? Eventually I got to the place on the trail which I estimated to be about the closest I could get to the falls.

I cast about and found a spot where there was an opening in the brush and plunged down.

According to my GPS the horizontal distance between the place I left the trail and the creekbed where I ended up is about 65 meters (as the rock plummets). The vertical distance is about 100 meters (take this with a grain of salt, GPS altitudes are not very accurate). Or about a 50° incline on average. It’s steep.

For a while the open space continued, but then the chaparral closed in. Chaparral has lots of tough wiry branches that tangle up with each other. In theory there’s an open space underneath, but not here — too close to the creek probably.

Oh, and it looks as if about half the wiry branches are actually poison oak vines. I don’t usually worry much about poison oak, but then I don’t usually push through thickets of the stuff either.

The chaparral liked my cap too, and kept pulling it off my head. Eventually I just carried it in my hand (which meant one hand less for climbing with).

After I’d been going for a while I realized that I was being stupid. If I had an accident no one would ever find me down here. Cold Spring trail is fairly well traveled (even the back side) and there were people camped at Forbush, so if I had problems on trail someone would find me, but no one would come down here.

Still, I was more than halfway down. It seemed a shame not to continue now.

I ended up about 10 feet above the stream with a fairly vertical drop to reach it. I decided to leave my cap on the rock here while I turned all my hands to climbing. If going down was difficult, how was I going to get up? I decided to ignore that question.

I managed to slither down in one piece.

It took about 15 minutes to cover those 65 meters.

The stream was in a deep channel with closed canopy forest above it. It began to seem unlikely that I’d actually be able to see the waterfall from this angle… but having come so far (or at least having spent so much effort to move such a short distance) it seemed silly not to go and look.

The going was easier now, no plants to hold me back, but the rocks beside the stream were slippery and the stream was steep. I was below the waterfall and had another few decameters to go upstream.

GidCreek

If I had been willing to sit still, it would have been pretty.

Eventually I could see the falls peeping through the trees

GidThroughShrubs

And finally I pulled myself into the open area around the falls. A little shallow pool. A very thin stream of water, but it looked an impressive drop. Hmm.

I wonder…

This cascade seems awfully well screened by trees, perhaps it’s not the fall I saw from the trail, maybe there’s another one right above it?

But I have absolutely no interest in trying to climb higher. This cascade is quite enough for me.

GidneyFalls

I turn back.

Looking, essentially down, the way back looks steep. And slippery.

GidLookingDown

But I manage it, though I do worry a little about finding my route up again. And even that I find eventually.

I go a little below the precipitous drop I took on the way down and find an alternate route up.

I recover my hat.

I follow my footsteps up for a while, but after a bit I lose them. Oh well, I just have to push my way up, I can’t really get lost.

Eventually I reach a spot where I can see, and find the trail to my left and below me, so now I head downward (through a poison oak tangle) and eventually reach the trail.

I’m glad I saw that waterfall, but I don’t think I need to do that ever again.


Next time I ran the trail, nine days later, the waterfall had gone.GidNoFall