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.
Holly Leaf Cherry
There were two different species of lupines. Here's one, found around Mile 1:
Blue dicks a.k.a. wild hyacinth
Later in the season, the trail will be covered in snapdragons. There were only a few there now.
A close-up of the chaparral yucca flower. The petals are actually tepals.
And the other type of lupine (around Mile 3):