What a beautiful time of year . . . the days are lengthening, the California native wildflowers are blooming, and Orange County’s wild trails are calling!
Running barefoot uphill is completely different than shod; the lack of weight on your feet makes it possible to actually fly . . .
The warm temps and wildflowers also make the butterflies happy, and many were out this morning, cruising through the coastal sage scrub, almost crashing into me more than once. How would a butterfly collision feel?
Although this butterfly’s name is “Common Buckeye,” it’s uncommon to me–I have never spotted one along a local trail until today.
What is more common along the trail than a “Common Buckeye”?
Why do folks think it’s OK to just chuck these on the ground?
Earth to knuckle-head outdoors-person: it’s NOT OK!
I feel as prickly as a coast cholla when I see trash along the trail . . .
Today I was able to chill out with a tangy snack of lemonade berries . . . guaranteed to take your mind/mouth off of litterbugs . . .
Hopping over/past/around/near side-blotched lizards is another way to get cheered up along the trail. There were so many lizards out cavorting today . . . I was hopeful there would be snakes on the trail as well . . . but not such luck. (I did see a beautiful California king snake last week, but was without a camera that day.)
This is the first time I’ve spotted Turkish Rugging in Santiago Oaks; I’ve seen it before along the Chutes Trail, but here it is one ridge over. Only two plants in this cliff-side population overlooking Weir Canyon–a fun surprise sighting.
Another rarity, at least in this place/at this time. . . . not too many chaparral yuccas are blooming right now, which makes this one all the more appreciated/spectacular.
These last few flowers sightings were near the Hawk Trail: “Not Recommended for Horses,” but highly recommended if you like to take the steep, slippery, rocky, flowery path from up here to down there.
I have way too much fun with my little camera’s 10-second timer. My goal today: get an image of me with my feet off the ground. Success! (after quite a few failures)
This is back in the lower, tree-filled section of Santiago Oaks Regional Park.
Near the creek: lush foliage indeed. Here the poison oak is weaving a nice tapestry with black sage and California sagebrush . . . hanging waaaayyy out onto the trail. Watch out, folks!
And, of course, no run through Santiago Oaks is complete without a final foot-soak in Santiago Creek, still sludging along through this dry winter. I recall other months of March when this was a raging torrent, with no way to cross for weeks (if you valued your life).
Now it’s time to start another work week . . . in my windowless office, in front of a computer for much of the day . . . distracted by thoughts of dusty trails lined with such plant-and-critter beauty . . . “springing” all through our Orange County wildlands.