Sunday, March 19, 2006

Red Rock

Thursday was just one of those fabulous Southern California days. Warm sunshine, scuttling clouds and springtime everywhere. Himself had been away on biz since Sunday; you know another one of his exotic trips, this time to Detroit and Milwaukee. The lucky sod: Milwaukee or Detroit in March where you know it's all about snowflakes and rain and then the odd teaser of a day where spring threatens and then departs. He flew home late Wednesday night and I knew he was itching to reconnect with the Canyon so Thursday we took advantage of some free time and drove (5 minutes) over to Red Rock. (Topanga has some pretty simply named rock formations: Red Rock, Big Rock, and Cheese Rock.) We fully intended to go straight up the fire road towards Saddle Peak, but there's a rather enticing path that a young Eagle Scout plotted and cleared a few years back (there's a placque to honor his achievements) and we decided to hike that fork.

The path starts off pretty gently and while it never resorts to an offputting steepness, it still gets you puffing pretty good by the end. Each twist of the path reveals another view into Old Canyon (our branch of Topanga).

One of the joys of springtime hiking in Topanga is seeing just which wildflowers are out. It's nothing like the 100-year bloom of last year's rainy winter, but the flowers are just now starting to emerge. Given the general dryness of Southern California, especially up in these canyons, the splash of flower color against the normal greys, greens and pinky to honey-colored sandstone gives them a punch that rivals the beauty of Huntington Gardens

Wooly Paintbrush (Castilleja foliosa)

Prickly Phlox (Leptodactylon californicum)

Stonecrop (Sedum spathulifolium)

Homo Erectus with ever-present binoculars


Anonymous sweatpantsmom said...

Beautiful photos!

It really was such a gorgeous day here on Thursday but unfortunately I never got out in it.

You've inspired me to explore Red Rock someday soon.

Can I blog from there?

2:26 AM  
Blogger GraceD said...

Stunning, dear Lin. Your husband's fine fanny as well.

7:31 AM  
Anonymous Neil said...

Living in mid-city Los Angeles across the street from a 7-11, I sometimes forget how pretty parts of Los Angeles county can be! I need to drive up to your area more often... (and cause more traffic for local residents like yourself).

12:51 PM  
Blogger junebee said...

Excellent photos, must be a very beautiful area. Those little flowers are really trying in all that dry rocky terrain, aren't they?

Two questions, is that where U2's "Live At Red Rocks" album was recorded, is there some sort of ampetheater there?

And is Topanga near Indian Wells or Palm Desert?

6:17 PM  
Blogger JB said...

Oh, lin. How lovely! Your pictures of Red Rock remind me of the pictures I’ve been taking of O’Neil National Park, which is also in bloom. I’m continually amazed by how many flowers grow in southern California, especially considering how dry it is most of the time.

On my morning jog I discovered some gorgeous Matilija Poppies blooming at the bottom of our canyon. The are so large and tall that they leave me breathless.

P.S. “Homo Erectus with ever-present binoculars.” An exotic species, indeed! :)

3:37 PM  
Blogger granny p said...

Oh - flowers in dry places - such year come and see ours..xx

6:52 AM  
Blogger Lin said...

Sweatpantsmom, while you can't blog from the rock, you can blog from our house!

Graced, thanks darlink.

Neil, Hey, the few readers that follow this blog aren't going to greatly affect traffic in the Canyon, so come on down!

June, sent you an email. This is LA's Red Rock, not Colorado's.

JB, you'd think OUR matillija poppies would grow with a little more enthusiasm, but just our luck, we planted about a dozen of them last year and all the rain did them in. We have two survivors and they aren't flowering, yet. Don't you love that HUGE fried egg flower!

Grannyp...Hopefully your island will be on our itinerary in another year!

11:55 AM  
Blogger Crystal said...

Southern California seems like the perfect place for trekking, and your photos of the wildflowers are just fabulous!

12:01 PM  
Blogger Mary Tsao said...

Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing your wonderful day. And thanks for the latin names! I love knowing the latin names of flowers; it makes me feel so educated.

8:05 PM  

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