Saturday, April 10, 2010

La Jolla Canyon

This last week I have been frustrated not to be able to write up new posts as my computer has been out of action- so once again I have a backlog of material that I want to share.

Last Saturday a friend took me for my first hike up La Jolla Canyon, which was crammed with both visual and sensory delights, so I will start with this:

La Jolla Canyon is part of the Point Muga State Park in Ventura, West of Malibu, off PCH. In sight of the Mugu Rock standing out in the Ocean, we set off up the Canyon. It was a perfect day for hiking, sunny but not too hot; we did not rush, but stopped constantly while I took endless photographs of this Paradise. Having so many images, that all seem to me to be vital to describe the landscape , it has been hard deciding which to omit...

Coming from the UK, I am always childishly happy to see Cacti growing in the wild, however common, so will begin with them- these being the Prickly Pear Cactus:

That day the most prevalent plants in the landscape were the Coreopsis- or Sea Dahlia- the golden flower heads crowning their delightful green "pom-poms" and making lovely patterns on the mountains, the green glowing in contrast to the complimentary colour of the red rock.

I was constantly excited to see plants that were new to me- here is the Indian Paintbrush growing amidst the Californian Broom, a miniature version of the Broom I first knew as a child in Scotland:

And I loved these spikey vine seeds, which I find are California Manroot:

This elegant, geometric flower is one of a familiar family of plants- the Convolvulus. It is an Orchard Morning Glory:

Before we set out, my friend had told me there was a possibility that the Wild Lilacs would be flowering. This sounded totally magic to me. I love domestic Lilac, and funnily enough the previous day both my daughter and I had unknowingly bought each other bunches of Lilac as Easter presents! I was quite prepared for it NOT to be blooming, so it was wonderful when walking down the creek we turned a corner and there were the Wild Lilacs (Ceaonothus, or "California Lilac"). The flowers are in fact much smaller than regular Lilacs and they do not have that intoxicating smell but they ARE quite magical out here in the wilds...

Down in this creek, with its dried out river bed, were fantastic tulgey scenes. Many of the trees were charred from mountain fires:

Another flower that I remembered from my childhood in Scotland, where it grew wild on the shingle of the River Dee, was this blue Lupin:

Now I come to a flower that I really fell in love with, it is to me so exotic and so enchanting- the Catalina Mariposa Lily:

Here is a Lichen covered rock on which a Gecko WAS sunning himself until some other hikers pushed passed me as I was about to take his photo:

And I will leave you with another Gecko who was more obliging:

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