Hike at Russian Ridge

After nothing but anticipating, experiencing, and blogging about the garden tour, maybe it's time for a change of pace, we thought. So for this Saturday, we invited some friends for brunch and, well fortified, set out to see some wildflowers. We had originally planned to drive down to Pinnacles National Monument, but we worried that it would be too crowded on a weekend, so we decided instead to go to Russian Ridge Open Space Preserves, not too far from home.

It was a perfect day, and not too long after we'd started walking, we saw the first field of lupine. I believe this dainty little lupine is Lupinus bicolor, but I'm not a wildflower expert.

Here is a second shot of the same lupine together with some Sidalcea malvaeflora (checkerbloom). We walked on through the green hills, and saw a lot of Sisyrinchium bellum (blue-eyed grass).

Also a few poppies, here photographed with the crinkly large leaves of a soap plant that will bloom in a few weeks.

We also found this mystery plant that I cannot find in Calflora, though I've searched in that area.

Then we came to an area where a controlled burn had been performed, and it showed the most amazing cover of small yellow violets.

Looking yellow from a distance.

And quite impressive from close up.

It made me remember the stories about the Oholone Indians, who did burns every year to have a lot of flowers the next spring, and who harvested the seeds.

On our way back, we took a detour through a small oak woodland area to see what plants we might find there. Oaks are on both sides of the ridge, beautiful, large, healthy trees.

And we were not disappointed. In addition to some hound's tounge, miner's lettuce, and some other oak woodland plants, we saw several large trillium at the side of the road.

Well please with our outing, we returned to the car, and back home for lunch and chores -- and to sit on the front patio and rest for a while.


vanessa cardui said…
Wow! I'll have to make a note of this place in my hikes of CA book. Gorgeous.

Could the mystery plant be an amsinkia?
Chandramouli S said…
What a wonderful tour of the wild! Nature is such an adept artist! She rocks! Especially the violets!
Isn't the mystery plant common fiddleneck?
Queer by Choice said…
Yes, the mystery plant is definitely a fiddleneck (Amsinckia) of some kind.
Randy Emmitt said…
Thanks for the tour, must have been an exciting day! That field of yellow violets will certainly be covered in fritillary butterflies which host on violets.
Brad said…
Beautiful photos. I would love to see that field of violets. I also like the field of lupines, but I've seen that once or twice. Never seen one of violets though. I need to hike in the south bay more often.