Posted by: Sandy Steinman | May 2, 2016

Henry Coe Backcountry Wildflowers 5/2/16

Where to photograph in California – Yahoo Groups (Calphoto) has a new report for Henry Coe Backcountry

This past weekend was the back country campout at Henry Coe (where you go in the Dowdy entrance off of 152 and are allowed to drive way in before setting of to camp), and, despite the wind, it was glorious. So many things in bloom right now, not generally in dense carpets, but all over the place, punctuated by the damn grass that loves socks. I hiked parts of County Line road, Coit road, Pacheco Ridge road, Pacheco Creek trail, Live Oak trail, and surrounds.

In the grasslands and woodlands, most numerous in bloom were Ithuriel’s spear, owl’s clover, lupines, Delphinium, Calochortus albus and venustus (really, a lot of both of those), golden yarrow, Chinese houses, several types of Clarkia and clovers, wild onion, Venus and Peregrine thistles, Mimulus guttatus in the creeks, and many other species in smaller numbers. There’s quite a variety of grass out there too, most of it probably not native, but the brushstrokes of colors from the different grasses sometimes really added to the scene (especially blowing in the wind.)

In the chaparral, yerba santa and chamise are coming on to full bloom, covering large areas, and the chamise seems to really attract swallowtail butterflies. Monkeyflowers and blue witch are in their prime and buckeyes are just starting, the early ones stunning. It was also warm enough for me to see my first horned lizards (!), and not my first rattlesnake, so be careful out there – they really can blend into that prickly dried grass.

The rangers said that starting now, this entrance will be open only on weekends and only for day use, until they feel that fire danger is too high. People will only be able to go as far as the Dowdy station parking lot, which is around 6 miles from where I started these hikes. But in some ways it doesn’t matter, all of Coe is wonderful and blooming right now…

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