Date: April 14, 2018
Place: North Table Mountain Ecological reserve, Oroville, California
Coordinates: 39.59555, -121.54164
Length: 1.5 miles in and out
Last spring was a super bloom year in California. This year the rains came late and I already resigned to the thought that this spring will be just nice, not mind blowing. For some of the places of last year's boom bloom that is true, but thankfully other places more than compensate for it. After seeing the online posts with photos from Oroville's North Table Mountain Ecological reserve I looked for an opportunity to go there. That came last weekend when my mother came to visit me with her friend and I convinced them (with ease) that Oroville was the place to see.
We left home just before noon on Saturday and took our time, including a lunch stop, to get to Oroville. As we made our way along the narrow, winding road leading from the town to the reserve I got a strange feeling that we might not be alone there, as in our last visit. Many cars were parked along the road, indicating that the small parking area is probably full. People were walking up and down the narrow, shoulders road, slowing down our drive. Already I could see colorful carpets of wildflowers behind the cattle fences on either side of the road.
Perhaps it was because we arrived relatively late that we found parking fairly close to the trailhead, just outside the parking lot. It took us some extra moments to clear all the cars and people that were between ourselves and the reserve but when we finally made it through the (new) gate we stopped and stood there, gaping.
|The sky below: A field dominated by Lupinus nanus and Cryptantha intermedia|
|California Goldfield and Stonecrop, Sedelle pumila (yellow), and Sky Lupine, Lupinus nanus (blue)|
|Stonecrop, Sedelle pumila|
|Pretty Face, Triteleia ixiodes|
|Variable Linanthus, Leptosiphon parviflorus, and California Goldfield, Lasthenia californica|
|Yellow Monkeyflower, Mimulus gutattus, and White-tipped Clover, Trifolium variegatum|
|Snow-white Meadowfoam, Limnanthes douglasii ssp. nivea|
|Tomcat Clover, Trifolium willdenovii|
|Bird's-eye Gilia, Gilia tricolor|
|Sky Lupine, Lupinus nanus, and Owl's Clover, Castilleja exserta|
We reached the top of the waterfall. The trail narrowed and became steeper. My mother and her friends decided to stay up but I moved a little further, trying to get a good view of the waterfall.
On my way I found out what those elongated buds I have seen near the rocks were. They were buds of clarkia. I found the first one that was open. All the rest of them were still maturing.
|Kellogg's Clarkia, Clarkia arcuata|
|Woodland Star, Lithophragma heterophyllum|
|Kellogg's Monkeyflower, Mimulus kelloggii|
It was getting late and the sun was hanging ow in the western sky, making the flowers shine and more difficult to photograph.
Well above the waterfall I resumed hopping back and forth both sides of the creek, trying to take it all in. I am well aware of how fleeting all this beauty is. A single heat wave can end it all. Even with no hear wave, this boom bloom will be over as spring turns into summer.
|Allocarya, Plagiobothrys stipitatus, and White-tipped Clover, Trifolium variegatum|
|Tupftet Eschscholzia, Eschscholzia caespitosa , and Caterpillar Phacelia, Phacelia cicutaria|
I aslo noticed some plants that might be part of the next wave of bloom. I'll check on this one next month.
|Algae at the bottom of the creek|
Nearly all the trees we saw there were oaks but there were some willows, and they too were blooming. Willow bloom isn't a colorful display but is very delicate and pretty.
|Red Willow, Salix laevigata|
And many thanks to the members of the California Native Plants Society for all the help in identifying plants!