Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A blissful day at Mount Burdell
Buckeyes along Middle Burdell Fire Road

I timed it right -- I'd never seen Mount Burdell so beautiful. Grass tall but still green, buckeyes in bloom, and wildflowers everywhere.

Back at home, I compared photos from this hike to previous years and was surprised to see that in this drought year, the grass at Burdell is far more lush than it has been in some "normal" rain years. Testament I suppose to the late and proportional amount of rain received in the north bay -- grassland is considerably drier everywhere else in the bay area.

In most parts of the preserve the grass is now towering over and obscuring smaller flowers. I didn't see some favorites from the past: no owl's clover, tidytips, nor creamcups. Broad leaf filaree was the dominant bloom, but poppies are coming on strong. Royal larkspur, Chinese houses, iris, buttercups, and even a few milkmaids were blooming in shaded spots. Next month might bring a new wave of beauties, including clarkias and mariposa lilies.

This was the first time I hiked at Burdell with a fitness tracker app on my iPhone. I now know Old Quarry Trail has some stretches that are at 25-27% grade! Old Quarry is a weird little trail, very unusual in our contemporary world of well-designed paths. It's old and straight and covered with ball-bearing-like stones and rocks and so crazy steep. I love it and I hope it never gets mothballed.

http://bahiker.com/northbayhikes/burdell.html
more photos: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bay-Area-Hiker/138877479476343

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