Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Enjoying a Bit of, Um - "Seasonal Wetness"

Spring has been kind to the lands of El Rancho de Los Chimineas. And that's a good thing, because the last 3 years of drought had hit some areas hard. Dry, dryer, dryest is fine for martinis, but it's tough on open grasslands and runoff-dependent riparian habitats.

But that's how California rolls. Up and down - hot, hotter, too hot, cool, wet, hot, wetter, too wet... In 1862 the El Niño was so drenching that the telegraph poles in Sacramento were under water and down for 3 months. San Francisco saw 37" of rain before January 31st. And, the entire Central Valley became a 250-mile lake that didn't dry until summer.

Fortunately, this year's El Niño was a baby in comparison.

We definitely enjoyed the benefits of the wet spring during our mid-May stay on the ranch. The weather was mild and the "April showers brings May flowers" show a daily performance. The previously-seen sweeps of goldfields, blue dicks, lupines, shooting stars, owl's clover and tidy tips had given way to the "farewell-to-spring" crowd: the clarkias, mariposas, buckwheats, asters and larkspurs now flecked the fields, creeks and canyons.

However, the edge of imminent heat was in the air. The oaks were easing into summer waxy greens, and the grasses prepping to audition as amber waves.

We explored a variety of seasonal waterways and happily found that nearly all still had moving water - and several were ripe for a little camera trapping.

But, you'll have to wait for the Codger for results. Ain't no better teller of trapper's tales than he.

This photo-hike is to show the landscapes of Chimineas Ranch in May, and to set the stage for the fair May-days flora that you'll see in more detail, shortly.

rolling oak grasslands
The rolling oak savannahs of mid-May on Chimineas Ranch

trees on the rocks
Old snags on the rocks

strata exposed
Scruffy San Andreas -twisted strata

chaparral canyons
Sandstone and chaparral

sandstone faces
Browning grasses, but green bushes and trees (and wildflowers!)

the carved waterfall
Just-dry seasonal waterfall and thriving cottonwoods

scoping cam trap sets
Guys scoping for cam trap locations

our trusty trail scout
Our trusty trail scout

san juan creek
San Juan Creek still flowing

water dog
Chief water inspector

broken dam
Broken Dam lake full up

cam trapper's flat?
Camera trapper's flat - a siesta under the juniper

cuyuma river
Along the Cuyuma River

"if we put the camera there..."
The Codger scripts a river-side set: "the critters will walk through there..."

cuyuma river
A trap on the Cuyuma

amigos in the arrow weed
Amigos in the arrow weed

rocks & clarkia
Crags, clarkia, yarrow and juniper

mixed canyon
Lower Saltos Canyon

scruffy yucca rocklands
Yucca, sage & buckwheat rocklands

saltos canyon
Upper Saltos Canyon

sunset on sandy 1B spot
Canyon "beach" in setting sun

gypsophilum with a view
Listed larkspur with a canyon view and private beach

And while it might not be obvious in all these shots, there were many May flowers here, there and everywhere. We'll get down on the ground and take a gaze at them next.



1 comment:

  1. Once again some beautiful photographs! Great stuff!


Please leave a comment, thought or question at any time.