It’s wildflower season again and after years of drought the blooms are making up for lost time. I choose the Gold Country (California foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mts.) this year as a hot spot. We started near Yosemite and made our way north on HW 49 – and various floriferous side roads.
California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) and gold fields (Lasthenia californica)
The discovery of gold in 1848 sparked the largest mass migration in U.S. history. Prospectors moved from one strike to the next along rivers and streams . Today there are remnants of diggings, rusting machinery, stamp mills and old camps. There are historic towns and wonderful plant diversity. The California golden poppy has replaced the “gold in dem der hills.”
The small flowers above,aptly named “gold fields,” are in the daisy family.
I found a field of shooting stars too.
Numerous creeks flow out of the foothills of the Sierras and into rivers that eventually join the San Joaquin River, one of California’s largest.
Below is the Stanislaus River.
Old bridge over the Stanislaus. A sign says it was covered to make it last longer. In the foreground are the remains of an old stamp mill, which crushed rock for extraction of gold ore.
Many wildflowers have evolved to root in serpentine soil and gravels – which are toxic to most other plant life. This is Bitter root – Lewisia rediviva (named after explorer M. Lewis of Lewis and Clarke fame).
I was hunting for one particular wildflower I’d never seen: a fawn lily, Erythronium tuolumnensii – and was excited to find it…. The thrill of the chase.
Below: wait for it – it’s a brief slide show ( or click if feeling impatient 😉 )
Is that horse sticking his tongue out at me?
Yeah pretty funny trying to ruin my shot. (I did not photo-shop this horse – he really was mocking me. So disrespectful!)
The one(s) that got away 😉 : I had some fabulous photos of a place famous (with botanists anyway) for wildflowers near Yosemite Park. That night I downloaded over one hundred photos to my laptop and was going through them, deleting those that were out of focus etc. and taking pleasure in the ones that were sharp. Long story short, my laptop died and I’d deleted the photos in the camera card to make room for the next day’s findings. I paid a computer guy to retrieve them and he found everything else – that I had already backed up, except those photos I had driven many hours to take. Ah well another year, and excuse for another trip!