5+ miles DIFFICULTY: Moderate to Difficult
PLANT KNOWLEDGE: Botanical Experience required.
. Easter is on April Fools Day this year and we're going to head up to Guatay Mountain in the Cleveland National Forest for our very own Easter egg hunt! The April Fool's is that the eggs are rare plants and there's no guarantee they will be in bloom. Jenny Moore, the Forest Botanist for the Forest Service will assist leading us to the top of the mountain for a great view of East County San Diego. This hike is open to any professionals who have collected before and know how to key rares and log them into the SD Plant Atlas / iNaturalist. Apologies to any who are just learning the ropes, this area is very sensitive and a portion of the trip will be off trail in sensitive habitat, so the discussions and rules will be very technical. Experienced California Native Plant Society (CNPS) members and professional biologists are highly encouraged to attend.
From the Pine Creek Trailhead, we'll head up the Guatay Mtn Trail. Through oaks, manzanitas and ceanothus chaparral, the trail will wind atop the gabbroic pluton that boasts many rare gabbro endemics such as Calochortus dunnii, Diplacus (Mimulus) clevelandii, Allium marvinii, and of course the grove of Hespercyparis forbesii. We'll be looking to check on the Tecate Cypress woodland and chaparral. In addition, we'll be adding to the list of known plant species with in the Research Natural Area (RNA), where possible. Any listed species found will be uploaded to the Plant Atlas and recorded. We are especially looking for any Review List species such as Githopsis diffusa ssp filicaulis or Heuchera rubescens var versicolor (though unlikely), as well as disjunct species like Ceanothus foliosus and Salvia sonomensis.
Where we head off trail is up to Jenny, but be sure to bring ID keys, GPS units, lenses, gaiters, cameras, etc. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen and a lunch. We'll stop under the Cypress grove for a rest before heading back down. We expect to be back to the vehicles around 1PM, but this might be later.
CARPOOLING: Available from Fashion Valley mall transit center from 8:00 to 8:10 AM. Park near Fashion Valley Rd at the West Entrance to the mall or come in on the bus or trolley. Parking is free at Fashion Valley all day in spots marked "Trolley Parking", but it is still a private lot, so please patronize the businesses there and be aware that there are risks to parking there like any mall.
Valid 2018 ADVENTURE PASS REQUIRED to Park at Pine Creek Trailhead.