Sunday, April 18, 2010

Treks on the Santa Rosa Plateau: Vernal Pool Trail to Historic Adobes

Our destination today was the historic Adobes on the Santa Rosa Plateau via the Vernal Pool Trail, and rounding back on Ranch Road to the Trans Preserve Trail.

Weather was perfect: 70s, hazy, and mildly breezy. The grasses are in good form, especially the Purple Needlegrass, with their lovely, drooping, burgundy-tinged panicles.

4/17/10 Purple Needle Grass (Stipa pulchra). Vernal Pool Trail.

4/17/10 Western Buttercups (Ranuculus occidentalis), Vernal Pool Trail.

The water level in the main vernal pool is substantially lower from just a couple weeks ago, and it's now a sea of green with what appears to be a lush growth of Spike Rushes (Eleocharis acicularis)? 

There's also been a population explosion of Two-Striped Garter Snakes in the vernal pool.
4/17/10 Two-Striped Garter Snake (Thamnophis hammondii).

4/17/10 Clover Fern (Marsilea vestita).

4/17/10 Main Vernal Pool, with a dense growth of Hooked Popcorn Flower (Plagiobothrys undulatus) along the receding edge of the water.

4/17/10 Hooked Popcorn Flower (Plagiobothrys undulatus)

4/17/10 Main Vernal Pool.

Continuing past the main vernal pool along the vernal pool trail towards the Adobes, there was an abundance of Poppies, Bush Lupines, Muillas, Owl's Clover, and a literal sea of Blue Dicks (or Wild Hyacinth, if you prefer)...

4/17/10 Bush Lupines & Poppies, Vernal Pool Trail.

4/17/10 Bush Lupine/Grape Soda Lupine (Lupinus excubitus var. hallii), Vernal Pool Trail. For some, it smells like Grape Soda.

4/17/10 Owl's Clover (Castilleja densiflora), Vernal Pool Trail.

4/17/10 Blue Dicks/Wild Hyacinth (Dichelostemma capitatum ssp. capitatum), Vernal Pool Trail.

4/17/10 Muilla (Muilla maritima), Vernal Pool Trail. The common name is an anagram of "Allium" (just spell it backwards). Sorta looks like an allium, but is not. 

4/17/10 Caterpillar Phacelia (Phacelia cicutaria var. hispida), Vernal Pool Trail.

4/17/10 California Everlasting (Gnaphalium californicum), Vernal Pool Trail. These also grow on our property, and make for some really cool dried flower arrangements. 

Bush Monkeyflower (Diplacus aurantiacus), Vernal Pool Trail. The colors of our Monkeyflowers on the Plateau vary from red to an almost "burnt' orange.

4/17/10 Vernal Pool Trail to Adobes.

4/17/10 Blue Dick/Wild Hyacinth (Dichelostemma capitatum ssp. capitatum), Vernal Pool Trail.

4/17/10 An unusually pale, almost whitish variety of Blue Dicks (Dicholestemma capitatum ssp. capitatum), Vernal Pool Trail.

4/17/10 Purple Sanicle (Sanicula bipinnatifida), Vernal Pool Trail.

4/17/10 Checkerbloom (Sidalcea malviflora ssp. sparsiflora), Vernal Pool Trail.

The Adobes are historic landmarks. The Moreno (1846) and Machado Adobes are perhaps the oldest standing structures in Riverside County: 

"Adobes have stood the test of time" 5/13/07 North County Times 

From the Adobes, we headed back by way of Ranch Road and the Trans Preserve Trail. 

4/17/10 Trans Preserve Trail.

4/17/10 Trans Preserve Trail.

4/17/10 Blue-Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium bellum), Trans Preserve Trail.

4/17/10 Sticky Cinquefoil (Potentilla glandulosa ssp. glandulosa), Trans Preserve Trail.

4/17/10 South Coast Morning Glory (Calystegia macrostegia), Trans Preserve Trail.

4/17/10 Common Bedstraw (Galium aparine), Trans Preserve Trail.

4/17/10 Tarantula (Aphonopelmus reversum), Trans Preserve Trail.


  1. Loved all your photos of the wild flowers - they really do have a beauty all of their own and then I came to the last one! and I got shivers............... don't really mind spiders but it does depend on the size of them - not too sure about that Garter snake either.

  2. Yes, Rosie - the Tarantulas are a bit scary to encounter because of their size and especially if you've never seen them before. However, they are actually quite gentle and take their sweet time meandering along their way. Some people actually keep these as "pets," but I would much rather see them in nature and from a distance!

  3. Our rain spiders are similar, but not quite as big as your tarantulas.

  4. Elephant's Eye, never heard of a "rain spider" before, and now I'm intrigued. Must check it out on Wiki.

  5. just went up to rosa platue and the tarantula we saw was black with a white rear. I hate spiders but that was awesome seeing one