Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wandering Wednesday

We love visiting the Santa Rosa Plateau (near Temecula, California) and have been going there for years to hike, bike, run, relax and enjoy nature. I never get tired of it because it's so beautiful and always changing...the flowers, the colors of the grasses from green to brown and back again, the sky, the animals...it's all amazing.

Since we got our new trail running shoes, we've been going there even more often than before. I haven't been taking my camera...which, I have to admit, is weird and nice all at the same time. That means I won't have pictures for me or my blog...that's a difficult adjustment because I almost always have a camera with me...but, it's relaxing because I can just enjoy my time without thinking about trying to get great shots. Sometimes, however, I just HAVE to take my camera. Here are some pictures from one of my recent visits...we didn't have a blue sky that day but the weather was warm and wonderful...

Welcome to the Santa Rosa Plateau...this is a road near a historic adobe that is on the property. This was once a huge cattle ranch...


The reserve consists of 8,300 acres of beautiful rolling hills, trails, streams, vernal pools, flowers and more...


Here's some evidence of it's cattle ranch history...


Did I mention the amazing oak trees?!...


There are different kinds of oaks on preserve and there's a lot of blooming going on....Some are pink...


Some are frosty pink...


Some are golden and frilly...


The oaks are all looking very happy from all the rain we've gotten this year, with lots of new, green leaves . And, by the looks of all the blooms, I think there will be a bumper crop of acorns. That will be great for some of the wild life...like the woodpeckers. They'll have lots more to put away in their "cupboards"...


Here's a close up of one of their "cupboards"...I think this is a reallly old "cupboard"...


They have rows of them!...


Here's an old, dead tree...but it's full of life because there are lizards and caterpillars crawling all over it...


Speaking of caterpillars...there are more out there this year than you can imagine! The trails are covered with them, traveling here and there and relaxing in the sun. It's hard to walk in some places because there are so many and we don't want to step on any. These are going to become moths...


The flowers are constantly changing on the plateau. Here are a few of the flowers that were blooming when I took my camera out this time...

These are "Shooting Stars"...


There were more of these this year than I've ever seen. They're so cute! Most of them point down but this one was pointing up and down...


I don't yet know what this one is called but aren't these white clusters pretty?!...


The "Western Buttercup"...so bright and cute!...


This is another white flower that I haven't found the name of yet. It looks fuzzy. They grow on vines in the shade...


This one grows mostly in the shade and I think it's fascinating how the little flowers grow up from the center of these cup shaped leaves. The plant is called "Miner's Lettuce" and I found out that it's actually edible...although, I don't think I have the courage to try it...


This isn't a flower but it's a plant that's not to be ignored and it's doing extreeeemly well this year with all the rain...poison oak! It's pretty, but I keep my distance!...


Something else that lives up there and we keep a constant eye out for are rattlesnakes! This one was curled up near one of the entrance gates. The ranger had a chair in front of it and kept a close eye out and gave warnings to stay away. He was pretty big! Yikes!...


This is obviously left over from another season...I'm not sure which one but I'd sure love to see it when it is blooming and see what color(s) it is. It does look good in brown though...


On some of my recent visits, without a camera, I've seen lots of garter snakes, deer, tadpoles, bugs, butterflies, birds and lots more flowers. It's a very special place!

If you're interested in visiting, you can get more info HERE. To see some of the other varieties of wildflowers that grow there, you can visit HERE.

Thanks for wandering by! :-)

5 comments:

jomamma said...

Great pictures!!! This landscape could easily be mistaken for the countryside just north (out of the suburban areas of Dallas) of us. Except our rattlesnakes are Diamond Backs and we also have Copperheads to deal with... no warnings involved.

Sel and Poivre said...

What a wonderful little travelogue Cheryl! Thanks so much for sharing the wonderful photos - so many plants the likes of which we would never see around here! (There aren't any rattle snakes either!)

Sandra said...

so pretty! While I do love our changing seasons, I would dearly love to be surrounded by the near tropical things you have growing.

Benita said...

Lovely place - I love the woodpecker cupboards! I didn't know oak tress had so many types of blooms, either. I know we used to have rattlesnakes here in Indiana (do we still?), but mostly we have copperhead snakes and they are very poisonous. We had to be careful of them when we cleaned our land to build the house.

KarenB said...

I love the pictures, Cheryl. You're my wildflower resource you know!