The whole day was spent on Rock Creek Road. The pleasant surprise was the flowers were comparable to years past. The best spots were the wet areas at the higher elevations (above 8500 to the Rock Creek trailhead). Most of the usual flowers were in bloom and in their usual numbers. Some of the most plentiful flowers were Paintbursh, White Rein Orchids, Lupines, Kelly’s Lillies, Cinquefoils, and Yellow Monkeyflowers. I wasn’t all that happy with photos today but posted a few to give you an idea of some of what I saw.
Here are some of the highlights. Mileages are from the beginning of Rock Creek Road at Tom’s Place.
- .9 miles: Prickly Poppies on southern hillside
- 1.4 miles: Anglica and Southern Mt. Misery in bloom; Wild Currants in fruit
- 1.9 miles: Evening Primrose start to appear
- 2.6 miles: a tapestry of the foliage of high desert shrubs on northern hillside
- 3.7 miles: Paintbrush makes it first appearance
- 5.4 miles: the wildflowers really take off here. Many flowers were along the roadside in the wet spots. It is also worth following the wet areas up the southern hillside for even more flowers (you don’t have to go far but you are going cross-country and parts are steep and footing may be uneven). Flowers appearing included Yellow Monkeyflower, Kelly’s Lily, Lots of White Rein Orchids, Rangers Buttons, Single Stemmed Groundsel, Slender Cinquefoil, Monk’s Hood Sticky Cinquefoil, Swamp Onion, Great Polemonium, Fireweed, a small Willow Herb, Buckwheats, Yarrow, Lupines, Paintbrush, Richardson’s Geranium, Scarlet Gilia, Western Columbine, Meadow Rue, Chaenactis, Arrow-Leaf Grounsdsel, and Wild Rose.
- 7.6 Miles; there was Sierra Gentian, Blue-eyed Grass, Prickly Plox and Trifolium repens.
- Other flowers seen at high elevation along the road included Whorled Penstemon, Good lupine patches, only one Corn lily noticed, and a Eriastrum sp.
We were able to park in the usually crowded parking lot at the top as it was starting to rain and people were leaving. A short walk around the area included Yampah, Pussytoes, Lupines, Paintbrush, Whorled Penstemon, Slender Cinquefoil, Sticky Cinquefoil, and an Elk Thistle.
- Yosemite High Country Wildflower Report 7/12/12 (naturalhistorywanderings.com)