Thursday, March 24, 2016

El Cajon Mountain in Mid-March

El Cajon Mountain, in the El Capitan Open Space Preserve in Lakeside, CA, is one of the gnarliest hikes in San Diego. I call it my abusive lover, because I keep going back so it can smack me around a little more. The real reason I keep going back, however, are the flowers. As you go up the steep (42% grade) slopes of the 5.5 mile trail, you pass some of the best flowers around.

This time around, in mid-March, the flowers really had not gotten started yet. The signs were there as soon as I arrived: the monkeyflowers had not bloomed yet, and the wild cucumbers were still blooming. But I still saw a few nice ones.

Blue Eyed Grass
Blue-Eyed Grass

Blue Eyed Grass

DSC_6769

Holly Leaf Cherry
Holly Leaf Cherry

There were two different species of lupines. Here's one, found around Mile 1:

Lupine
Collar lupine

Chaparral Yucca
Chaparral yucca

Chaparral Yucca

Wild Hyacinth
Blue dicks a.k.a. wild hyacinth

Bush Poppy
Bush poppy

Wild Peas
Wild peas

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Owl's Clover
Owl's clover

Owl's Clover

Owl's Clover

Yellow Bush-Penstemon
Yellow Bush-Penstemon

Later in the season, the trail will be covered in snapdragons. There were only a few there now.

Nuttall's Snapdragon
Nuttall's Snapdragon

Nuttall's Snapdragon

Chaparral Yucca
A close-up of the chaparral yucca flower. The petals are actually tepals.

And the other type of lupine (around Mile 3):

Lupine
Stinging lupine

Lupine

Lizard

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