- Top of the Morning - Elsinore Peak - Riv Cnty w CNPS-OC
DIFFICULTY: EASY to MODERATE ~ 2 miles PLANT KNOWLEDGE: Beginner to Novice, Professionals always welcome! ACCESS: Open to all, no charge VEHICLES REQUIRE a USFS Adventure Pass [$30 Annual pass or $5 day pass] [SEVERE WEATHER CANCELS EVENT] This trip will be set in the backyard of Orange County and San Diego County atop the ridge of the Santa Ana Mtns on the far western edge of Riverside County. We're doing another joint trip with Ron Vanderhoff of Orange County CNPS, a great botanist who will help the group identify some of the extremely rare species we're hoping to find. There are locations on the mountain where good years produce Munz Onion (Allium munzii), Hammitt's claycress (Sibaropsis hammittii), and Paniculate tarplant (Deinandra paniculata). While we likely won't find all of those very rare species, there is very likely going to be a great bloom of Chocolate lilies (Fritillaria bicolor), Goldfields (Lasthenia sps), Clarkia sps), Onions (Allium sps), Monkeyflowers (Diplacus [prev. Mimulus] sps), Lupines (Lupinus sps), Peony (Paeonia californica), Sanicle (Sanicula sps), and much more! Elsinore Peak is the southern most of the Santa Ana Mountain peaks and offers an unusual habitat of grasslands with some coastal sage scrub and coastal chaparral. The area near the peak stands out for botanists due to its inland & coastal influence and unusual foundation of basalt rock like the nearby Santa Rosa Plateau. The specific stops for our visit will depend upon current conditions and the season’s always unpredictable bloom. We may explore the area just below the peak for spring wildflowers then visit the site along S. Main Divide Road of the 2013 “Falls” fire. Depending upon the group, there's a lot of diversions and trails in this area so let us know what you are most interested in! We may also get to see some of the many fire followers that take over the mountain in the years after a burn. Ron describes thousands of Fire poppies (Papaver californicum), rare Spineflowers (Chorizanthe sps), Larkspurs (Delphinium parishii), Penstemon sps, Wild cabbage (Caulanthus sps), Whispering bells (Emmenanthe penduliflora), and others. Pack a lunch and suitable gear and clothing to handle either cold or heat. The temps shouldn't get above mid 80's, but there is the possibility of rain. Keep a cautious eye out for rattlesnakes, and know that the most dangerous thing we'll encounter will likely be slips / falls and ORVs. Come prepared with plenty of water. VEHICLES: The compacted earth road on the ridge area is fine for all vehicles, though rains may cause rutting so high clearance is recommended if possible. CARPOOL: TWO LOCATIONS I will provide my truck (black Toyota Tundra) with three seats from Fashion Valley Mall Transit Center parking area nearest Fashion Valley Rd (west end of the mall) from 7:20 to 7:30 AM. Be prepared to drive if space fills up. Parking at the Transit Center parking lot is free for 24 hrs and is occasionally patrolled by security. That being said, the same risks apply there as to regular street parking. Donations for gas are welcome, but not required. The roundtrip is about 160 miles. Expect to return to Fashion Valley after 3:30PM. Ron Vanderhoff will meet those closer to Orange County at Bravo Burgers, 31722 Rancho Viejo Rd., San Juan Capistrano (just off Hwy 74 near Int. 5) at 8AM. Mention the field trip and you're in!
- Algodones Dunes Camping or Day Trip - Imperial County
DIFFICULTY: EASY to MODERATE < 4 miles PLANT KNOWLEDGE: Beginner to Any on Saturday, Professionals & CNPS / SD Botanical Society fellows on Sunday ACCESS: Open to all, no charge [ALL WEATHER EVENT] For everyone that missed the Algodones Dunes trip last year, here is your chance to jump in on a great repeat, with the extraordinary additions of Steve Hartman the CNPS Board President and Amy Patten, CNPS Rare Plant Botanist. Early April will hopefully have a great bloom of Algodones Dunes sunflower (Helianthus niveus ssp tephrodes), Giant spanish needle (Palafoxia arida var gigantea), Pierson's milkvetch (Astragalus magdalenae var piersonii), Sand food (Pholisma sonorae), and Fairyduster (Calliandra eriophylla) among other rare species and extreme desert endemic species. For Saturday, we'll meet up at the ranger station for orientation and a quick look for the odd sand food, then head over to the Osbourne Overlook to check out the dune ecosystem there. We're looking for the plants that amazingly grow and thrive in rolling sand. Following this, we'll head over to the microphyll woodlands, where abundant water below the surface creates an open woodland of ironwood (Olneya tesota), palo verde (Parkinsonia florida), and mesquites (Prosopsis sps). We'll have lunch under the shade of these trees before exploring a little more around the area for anything of interest. Afterwards, anyone who wants to stay to camp or stay in lodging nearby will wish our friends safe travels. That evening, we plan to do overnight dry camping in the desert, with some of the best stargazing in the whole state. In addition, it'll be a new moon. Sunday, we'll meet up at the ranger station once more to get anyone who is coming out for the CNPS rare plant survey. Right now, our intended target is the Saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) 2B.2 as a landmark species but in addition, interesting listed species in the Hwy 78 / Ninemile Wash area like Argus blazing star (Mentzelia puberula), Chocolate mtns Coldenia (Tiquilia canescens var. pulchella), and Sand Evening Primrose (Chylismia arenaria). We'll do iNaturalist and CalFlora observations and Herbaria collections where possible. This portion of the trip is aimed at botanists specifically. We hope to finish by 4PM to get back home before dark. The desert can be dangerous if you are not prepared. Bring plenty of water (2 gallons per person per day at least), sunscreen, and light fully covering clothes. Even in early April, expect the temperature to be above 90F (32 C). Also, if driving, make sure your vehicle can handle sand, meaning high clearance. 4x4 and all wheel drive is preferred, but not necessary. Also be aware that sand and fine dust is everywhere and will get into everything. DRY CAMPING: No services or facilities will be available at the camping location. All the food, water, etc you bring in will need to be packed out. Remember, dig the hole before! Lanterns &/or flashlights will be needed, along with good sleeping bags and tents as it gets very cold at night. The chance to encounter scorpions over night is high, but this is offset by the possibility of seeing kangaroo rats bounce across the campsite! CARPOOL: I will offer carpool in my truck to those who want to camp. Please PM me head of time. Look for a black Toyota Tundra (three extra seats), leaving from Fashion Valley Mall Transit Center parking area nearest Fashion Valley Rd (west end of the mall) from 6:45 to 7:00 AM. Of course, for anyone who will day trip on Saturday only, be prepared to drive and bring along other Meetup people. Parking at the Transit Center parking lot is free for 24 hrs and is occasionally patrolled by security. That being said, the same risks apply there as to regular street parking. Donations for gas are welcome, but not required. ($20 is suggested to cover gas)
- Torrey Pines Extension & Crest Canyon - Del Mar
DIFFICULTY: EASY to MODERATE 2-3 miles (or less) PLANT KNOWLEDGE: Novice +, Professionals always welcome! ACCESS: Open to all, no charge [RAIN CANCELS THIS EVENT!] This trip is a yearly treat, and the trail won't change much but the plants and flowers and knowledge will be for the better! For 2019, we've had an extraordinary amount of rain and that means an extraordinary amount of bloom. We'll do a three part trip, with opportunities to head out after the Red Ridge trail, or continue on down the Margaret Fleming Trail to the canyon below with a completely different vegetation community and plant types. Instead of calling it a day - there's a third portion where we'll rejoin after lunch at Crest Canyon Park (just to the north). Crest Canyon has many similar environments and species, but is not as covered. We'll be more focused on doing stronger documentation including iNaturalist and tagging species for possible collections. Our CNPS San Diego Rare Plant Botanist Fred Roberts will join us to help identify and document the rare plants in both areas. RED RIDGE TRAIL: 9AM - 10:30AM From the parking area, the Red Ridge heads out over a rocky expanse of mesa top that has many rare species such as Wart stemmed Ceanothus (C. tomentosus), the Del Mar Manzanita (Arctostaphylos glandulosa ssp crassifolia), and the very imperiled and rare (in the wild) Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana ssp torreyana). Some of the common natives in bloom will be Celeveland sage (Salvia clevelandii), San Diego monkeyflower (Diplacus puniceus), Scarlet larkspur (Delphinium cardinale), Broomrose (Heliathemum scoparium), Bush poppy (Dendromecon rigida), and bulbs/corms like Blue dicks (Dichelostemma capitatum). The halfway point is the red ridge which looks out over Torrey Pines State Park and the Pacific beyond. MARGARET FLEMING TRAIL: 10:30AM - 12:30PM Further down the canyon trail, there's other species than come in along side us including the rare Coastal barrel cactus (Ferocactus viridescens) and Ashy spike moss (Selaginella cinerascens). Down the canyon, bloomers change to species like Wild cucumber (Marah macrocarpa), California bee plant (Scrophularia californica), SoCal milkvetch (Astragalus trichopdos var lonchus), Coast morning glory (Calystegia macrostegia), and many different "goldenbushes". Expect to see and hear many nesting birds like California gnatcatcher, mourning dove, warblers, quail, hummingbirds, wrens and cedar waxwings. I've seen San Diego horned lizard here too. CREST CANYON: 1:30PM - 3:30PM+ After a quick lunch break, we'll meet again at the north trailhead on Durango Dr., just across Del Mar Hts Rd. (Where it turns to Lozana Rd). This portion of the trip will focus on finding rares in Crest Canyon and uploading them to iNaturalist. We'll be identifying morphological characters and the pace will be much slower as we employ a scientific method of transects off trail, and along the trail. In addition, we'll be looking for the extremely rare Dudleya brevifolia, which can often only be found in new areas when in bloom (April to May only). Bring any gear, lunch, snacks, and water suited to your plans for the day. There will be a few times during the day when we'll be close to the cars to head out. CARPOOL: Carpool will be available for anyone who might find it convenient, especially anyone using public transit. Arrive between 8:20 and 8:30AM at the Fashion Valley Transit Center Parking Lot (West side parking area of the Fashion Valley Mall near Fashion Valley Rd). Look for a black Toyota Tundra. Spaces may fill up, so please be prepared to drive. Carpool participants will be part of all three trail trips and may not return until 4PM. Parking is free for 24 hrs and has roving security at Fashion Valley Transit Center, however risks are the same as parking anywhere on the street. Message the group for alternatives.