DIFFICULTY: Moderate (2 to 5 miles, some bouldering)
PLANT KNOWLEDGE: Novice to Professional
Before I get into the main description, this trip includes driving on Truck Trail dirt roads. Cars can make this trip ok, but bear in mind that mud, rocks, rockslide, and branches are expected hazards on the Truck Trail.
The Santa Ana Mountains will be a new place to pin on our growing list of locations trekked, this one at Tenaja Falls, a Riverside County favorite location to dip in the summer. In the winter, there will (hopefully) be a wide array of lichens, mosses, liverworts, and of course plenty of native vascular plants (ferns included!). Some rare species I hope to encounter are Western spleenwort (Asplenium vespertinum), Rainbow manzanita (Arctostaphylos rainbowiensis), and Fish's milkwort (Polygala cornuta var fishiae). Hopefully the forecast holds and we can get a good early season soaking (maybe not on the plant sale day, but after).
We'll be led by Forest Service botanist Jenny Moore with another amazing botanist Chris Wagner, curator for So Cal lichens & bryophytes on iNaturalist. Along the way, we'll upload as much science worthy data to the app as possible.
This trip will either be short or long depending on our group, so plan to stay awhile and make sure your transport is well fueled, and that includes you. Bring a lunch or at least snacks and plenty of water, good soled shoes, and a jacket / change of shirt or socks in case it's wet. The canyon should be warm in the noon day sun, but quickly gets cold this time of year in the shade. If you have a good hand lens and / or excellent camera, this is the trip to bring them.
CARPOOL: From Fashion Valley Transit Station at Fashion Valley Mall, nearest Fashion Valley Rd, there is free parking for up to 24 hours, with the occasional roaming security cart. Bear in mind this location carries the same risks as parking on the street. We'll meet there between 8:15 - 8:30 AM, leaving promptly then to arrive by 10AM. I have three seats in my truck, which may fill up quickly, so please be prepared to drive or volunteer to drive with company. Suggested gas money for the round trip of 160 miles is about $10. I expect we'll return back into San Diego around 4 PM.