Dick's Adventures of 2022 - Part 3

  
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San Joaquin Gorge River Trail
 
San Joaquin Gorge River Trail

I would guess that I have made more trips to the San Joaquin River Gorge Special Management Area, and spent more time there, than any foothill location other than my parents homes in Mariposa. So with a desire to enjoy the spring weather and wildflowers before it gets too hot, where do you suppose I went on March 25? It goes without saying.

Since the Ramblers will be hiking on the Bridge Trail there April 6, my plan was to walk on the San Joaquin River Trail, which in this area is far from and out of sight of that river. The Ramblers went there on February 21, but the vegetation changes rapidly in the spring, and it was my hope to see flowers that were not out earlier.

Just before I entered the BLM property, a field of popcorn flowers caught my eye, so I stopped. A barbed wire fence, and some posts which had been drilled by woodpeckers added interest to the floral scenery, which also included fiddlenecks.

   
Popcorn flowers near the BLM property entrance Woodpeckers have been using these posts for acorn storage
      

Once I parked and put on my boots, I set out for a hike that would take me a little less than a mile in from the trailhead. I counted at least 18 different known species of wildflowers. I've included photos of some of them below.

   
Bush lupines are fading in the San Joaquin Gorge;
this was the only one in bloom along the trail
Blue dicks and a few fiddlenecks against a fallen log
      
Zoom in on the photo and you can see
blue dicks among the popcorn flowers
Birds eye gillia

The dominant species was popcorn flowers, which covered many acres. Blue dicks were also present in large numbers, but their growth pattern does not create a massive patch of color. There were a lot of birds eye gillia, and of course, filaree. I saw a single poppy blossom, but they never appear in significant numbers on this trail, even in the best of years.

Flowers I had hoped to see but did not were owl clover, mustang clover, purple brodiaea, and Mariposa lilies. Maybe next time, which fortunately is not far away.

--Dick Estel, April 2022

More Photos

Note: Until a few years ago this Bureau of Land Management property was known as Squaw Leap. Considered offensive by Native Americans, the name survives on the table mountain overlooking the area on the south. A name change is under consideration.

    

 

Photos (Click to enlarge; pictures open in new window)

    

San Joaquin Gorge

 

San Joaquin Gorge

 
Birds eye gillia An unusual clump of mistletoe Harvest brodiaea
   
Long-dead tree stands in a field of popcorn flowers Yellow-throated gillia One of several areas with Indian grinding holes
 
Related Links
   
San Joaquin River Gorge San Joaquin River Trail Woodpeckers
San Joaquin Gorge Hikes    
     
   

 

 

 

 

 
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Adventures of 2018 Part 6
  
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Adventures of 2019 Part 3 Parkfield Bluegrass 2019
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Updated April 2, 2022