Posted by: Sandy Steinman | March 22, 2010

A Windy Day at Point Reyes

Point Reyes is my favorite local area for wildflower hiking.  Chimney Rock this time of year has many species in bloom and is a good place to see Pussy Ears ( Calochortus tolmei).

Point Reyes, especially Chimney Rock is often windy but today was worse than usual.  It was even windy in the town of Pt. Reyes Station, where we stopped at the Bovine Bakery for its usual delicious baked goods  and coffee before heading out to the National Seashore.  Although it wasn’t good for photography, it was a very good time to see wildflowers.  Many species were in bloom along the trail including Goldfields, San Francisco Owl’s-clover (Triphysaria floribunda), Johnny Tuck (Triphysaria eriantha ssp. rosea) Footsteps of Spring, California Poppies, Cranesbill (alien), Checkerbloom, Suncups, Lupine, Iris, Buttercups, Wild Cucumber, Field Chickweed, Strawberry, Indian Paintbrush (red), Wight’s Paintbrush (white-yellow), Dog Violets, Cow Parsnips, Flax, California Blackberry, Miner’s Lettice, Mules Ears, Pussy Ears (Calochortus tolmei), Seaside Daisy, Blue-eyed Grass, Hedge Nettle, Coast Wallflower (white), a purple Delphinium, Fiddlenecks, Ice Plant (non-native), Ceanothus, a white version of Baby Blue-eyes, Salmonberry,a pink to red vetch or pea, and Cow Clover.   Make sure as you approach the point at the end of the trail that you take the short loop off to the left near the cliff as this is one of the most flowery places.   Also when you return take the left fork and not the main trail that you came out on as this loop will usually include a few more species and some additional views.

If you walk out towards the Life Boat station on the paved road you can also add your list Arabis and Sea Thrift.  If you do the short walk to the Elephant Seal Lookout you can see a large number of elephant seals as well as many of the flowers named above.  Poison Oak is also around so beware.  There is a new wildflower poster with many of the common wildflowers of Chimney Rock in the Parking lot by the trailhead.  On Saturday and Sunday you cannot drive to Chimney Rock and the Lighthouse areas this time of the year between 9AM and 5:15 PM you must park at South Beach and take the shuttle out.  My best guess is that the bloom is a little on the early side and will continue to get even better weather permitting.  Below are a few quick pictures taken with a compact camera as it was not a photography day with the high winds.  Click on photos for larger pictures.

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