Sunday, March 17, 2013

Life from an Ant's Point of View: Springtime in the Sierra Foothills

I find that the average lifespan of an ant is something like a month or two. So bear with me while I have some silly thoughts about ant culture. What must the average ant think when it sees the explosion of color above when spring arrives in Sierra Nevada foothills? Probably not much, but it's fun to imagine the legends they might pass on down through the generations. "Your great aunt ant? Remember her? She was so old: four months. She told us of a time when the brown stalks were green and alive with color, and there was sweet nectar in the midst of the plants, and it was a time of richness, never to be forgotten in our legends"
I was off on another adventure this weekend. It was work, actually, helping a relative move in Southern California. I've been down Highway 99 probably 150 times in the last 25 years, so when we woke up this morning, the San Bernardino to Bakersfield drive prior to following Highway 99 to our home near Modesto just did not seem all that...appealing.
Luckily, we did not have a strict schedule, so we got very creative, seeing if we could spend as little time as possible on Highways 58, 14 and 138, and despite all my explorations, we found four roads that I have never traveled, or hadn't traveled in more than 25 years. They included Lone Pine Canyon along the San Andreas fault near Cajon Pass, Backus Road and Willow Springs Road outside of Mojave, Woodford-Tehachapi Road at the top of the Tehachapi Mountains, and Arvin Road at the bottom of the Tehachapi Mountains. Four adventures in one day, capped by the 200 mile drive on Highway 99 to Modesto. We had the most fun on the first part...
I took 200 pictures, and Mrs. Geotripper took even more, so there are probably a few more posts coming in the next few days, discussing faults, wind energy, trains, and wildflowers. Since wildflowers are the subject of today's photos, I can report that spring has arrived at the very south end of the Great Valley, and there are some beautiful sights along Highway 223 out of Arvin to the junction with Highway 58. It's been a dry year, so I don't know how the long the show will last. I don't know how often people find a reason to visit Arvin, but this is a really good time to head there. More coming on wildflowers!
Meanwhile, please enjoy these few shots of life from an ant's point of view....
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