Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring arrives in the Sierra Nevada Foothills (and a gratuitous mammal photo)

A long work week, and then another family gathering, this time in Porterville in the southern part of California's Great Valley. We couldn't resist the desire to see what was happening in the Sierra Nevada foothills, so we headed up a new road for us, Yokohl Valley Road.
The road goes nowhere in particular, joining the valley with roads leading to Success Reservoir and Balch Park in the Sierra high country south of Sequoia National Park. Mostly it provides access to a number of ranches.
Descending some steep switchbacks below the pass, we began encountering wildflowers at about the 2,000 foot level. I've seen more fiddlenecks than I recall seeing in the past. Many yellow slopes so far this year have been fiddlenecks instead of poppies. That's not to say we didn't see poppies; they were abundant in a few places, along with some beautiful bush lupines.
 There were the usual unidentified small flowers that I the geologist can never remember a name for...
And more bush lupine providing a foreground for Yokohl Valley Road in the distance. There was some interesting geology along our route, which will likely be the basis of another "Other California" post in the near future.
The spring flower season comes and goes quickly in the Sierra foothills and Great Valley. It's building to a climax, and I hope I can think of enough excuses to hit the road again soon.
Oh, and as promised, a gratuitous mammal photo. This little guy was looking pretty well fed, but someone should warn him about the coyote that was lurking around the next bend in the road....


Robert Moser said...
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Robert Moser said...

Lovely shots. I've noticed an unusual abundance of fiddlenecks up here in Gilroy, too, many of them where I'd usually expect poppies. I would have thought poppies would have been the winner after an arid winter, but I enjoy the blooms regardless. :)