Gene and I flew home to California on May 14 for a one month visit. We spent most of our time at our daughter's and son-in-law's house in Murrieta. Her house is very close to the beautiful Santa Rosa Plateau and the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness Area in the Cleveland National Forest. Both are in the Santa Ana Mountains (Ortegas).
Monkey Flowers, Asters and Splendid Mariposa Lily
click on the photo to enlarge
On May 24th, we drove up to the wilderness area and walked the Fisherman's Camp Trail. I used to camp in this area in the early 1970's. You could drive in then and camp at Fisherman's. Now the area is closed to vehicles. It was beautiful and special when I camped there 40 years ago and it still is.
It was an easy 1.7 mile walk down to the old camp. It seemed longer than that on the way down and I kind of worried about climbing back up, but it was not strenuous. The day was perfect; sunny but not hot. It must have been about 76 degrees. The scenery was fantastic and wildflowers were plentiful. In the sunny areas the scent of the sages hung in the air and butterflies and dragonflies flittered and flickered. The lizards were out sunning and birds called from their hiding spots inside the scrub. I didn't see very many bird species, but the place was so beautiful it didn't matter.
Above and Below
Coastal Western Whiptail Lizard
Southern Sagebrush Lizard
San Diego Horned Lizard
Phrynosoma coronatum blainvillii
Rather than heating up as the morning turned to afternoon, it began to get chilly because the cool coastal air from the west side of the range began to pour over the ridges.
Bird List for the Trail:
California Gnatcatcher?? Didn't get a good enough look.