Archive for March, 2008

Life Anew


 Looking Up Tooth Rock, Rattlesnake Canyon, Poway, March 29, 2008

These hills took me by surprise 21 days ago, driving through Poway Road from Higway 67 were vibrant colors of gold and purple. Thankfully, my student showed me how to access these colorful hills and was able to enjoy this wonderful gift from nature. I was overwhelmed with the sight I saw last March 8, and shared that joy here the next day ( ).  Since March 8, I had been hiking in this trail whenever I got a chance, for I knew these wildflowers will not last. Nine days ago, try as I might to capture field of poppies similar to those I posted in my March 9 post, but my beginner’s skill in photography did not let me :(. I had to be on my knees to create an impression of hills fully packed with poppies.


 Looking Up Tooth Rock, Rattlesnake Canyon, Poway March 20, 2008

But despite the wildflowers in the slopes of Tooth Rock about 90% gone, there are still some poppies that cover its northeastern slopes,


 Looking Up Tooth Rock by the Creek Side, March 29, 2008

and still carpeting poppies at the bottom of the hill that lines up the trail.  At the opposite side of the slopes of Tooth Rock,


 Still Blooming, the Slopes Opposites Tooth Rock Across Rattlesnake Creek, March 29, 2008

across Rattlesnake Creek, there are still a lot of poppies that cover the hills contrasting the burnt trees.


Hills Opposite Tooth Rock Across Rattlesnake Creek, March 29, 2008

Cooling down by Rattlesnake Creek, you will be amazed with the wonders of life, and appreciate the sprouting of a new life after a scorching fire.   


 Black and Charred in the Middle of the Colors of Life, near Rattlesnake Creek, March 29, 2008

As the display of wildflowers waned, I see more bugs. I usually do not purposely wait for bugs to suck the nectar out of flowers (as I am scared), but strange, while I was attempting to take an up-close picture of a lupine, a bee suddenly appeared right in the lupine I was about to photograph.


 Bee and Lupine, Rattlesnake Canyon, March 29, 2008

And as if I did not exist, the bee just proceeded nourishing himself to feed on the flowers.


 A Bee Feeding on Lupine, Rattlesnake Canyon, March 29, 2008

 But for whatever reason, as soon as the bee fed on that particular lupine, he flew away, jumping from one flower to another, as if he could not make a decision which one tasted better. It was such a sight to behold, despite being scary, another gift handed to me by nature on this beautiful day. Either the bees not getting enough of my path, or me not getting enough of them, while I was on the look-out for nice formation of poppy to photograph,


Poppy Formation that Caught My Eye,  Rattlesnake Canyon, March 29, 2008

lo and behold, there was another bee feeding on one of the poppies below.


Bee Feeding on California Poppy, Rattlesnake Canyon, March 29, 2008

What were these bees teaching me? That they will not sting me if I do not get so close to them or compete (avoid touching any flowers)? Or are they teaching me to remain focus while set on a goal? That was how I saw it as the bee just suddenly appeared in front of me, not minding me, and just jumped on to feed on the lupine. Or does it remind me to follow its way of life, that is to slow down, smell the lupines and poppies, to taste the sweetest nectar of life. There are just so many life’s reminders we will stumble upon outdoors, why stay indoors when the day is great and mother nature is out there waiting for us to teach us life’s lessons? Aside from the bees, I also saw and heard more birds in the area,


Celebrating Spring at Tooth Rock Mountain (Hill), March 29, 2008

(photo is cropped to focus the bird, no zoom lens :(, thus very low resolution)

too bad I do not have a zoom lens to capture their beauty while they frolic on the seeds that fall from the dried flowers. But nevertheless, the singing of the birds and seeing them perched on top of tree branches seemed like a celebration of life anew.


 Celebrating Spring at Rattlesnake Creek, March 29, 2008

(photo is cropped to focus the bird, no zoom lens :(, thus very low resolution)

Spring is a celebration of life anew, just as these wildflowers suddenly woke up from their dormancy on the grounds. Calling all forms of life to share its glory. So, even if the display of wildflowers waned, life will surely move on, here at Rattlesake Canyon.


Wonders of Nature, Life Anew After a Scorching Fire, Rattlesnake Canyon, March 29, 2008


March 29, 2008 at 9:17 pm 4 comments

Experiencing Southern California Desert Spring at Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark


Amboy Crater at the height of wildflower bloom, March 17, 2008

For more about Amboy Crater, please click here

March 23, 2008 at 12:08 pm 2 comments

Torrey Pines State Reserve Blooms


 Coastal Poppies, Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego, CA

Nature treats Southern California wonderfully with wildflowers this spring season. Thanks to the gentle and soaking rain we got the past months. Torrey Pines State Reserve, which is already charming and lovely even without the wildflowers, is not to be left out in terms of showcasing the colors and smell of spring.


 Guy Fleming Trail, Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego, CA

Torrey Pines is showcasing a diverse display of wildflowers right now, some of them, I still have to find out their names. But to take a glimpse of the flowers in the Reserve right now, here are some photos from the park I just took today, March 21, 2008.


Poppies and Sand Verbena




Ground Pinks


Among others that dot the hills

This wildflowers are not here to last long, so, come at Torrey Pines State Reserve, take a hike, and enjoy these priceless gift from nature. Even without the wildflowers, the rugged and colored sandstone cliffs,




and the unique beauty of Torrey Pines ( ), are truly sights to treasure and revisit again, and again.

March 21, 2008 at 10:51 pm 4 comments

After the fire

California Poppies, Purple Phacelias mixing with burned bushes, Del Dios Highway, Southwest of Lake Hodges.
The smell and color of spring seems to be everywhere in San Diego right now, the burnt areas seem to be showing the most color. The Witch Creek Fire last October 2007 scorched most of the hills around Lake Hodges area. Five months ago, these hills were black and charred. Now, the hills come alive with diverse display of color.


A few months ago, there were fears of flash floods and mud slides in and around San Diego County, where the burnt areas and burnt hills are more susceptible to flooding because of the loss of vegetation and of the loosening of compaction of soil brought about by the wildfire that had sent thousands of San Diegans to flee their homes and seek refuge elsewhere. Thankfully, the rains did not come really heavy as to realize those fears, but just enough scattering to soak the hills, bringing back vegetation again. Now, the hills are not only recovering fast, but they appear to be amazingly charming, filled with vibrant colors from a diverse display of wildflowers bringing a dream-like scent into the air.


 Field of Colors from the top of the hill
Knowing that the last spectacular wildflower bloom was in 2005 and rain does not come often in this semi-arid land, we are trying to make the most of the wonderful spring bloom this year. Especially that we do not know when the next amazing wildflower bloom will come. 
Last Thursday afternoon, we went to explore the hills above Lake Hodges after learning of the wonderful wildflower bloom there. 


However, accessing the colorful hills above Lake Hodges poses parking difficulty. The colored hills are on the West side of Del Dios Highway. The amazing colorful hills go for miles, but very hard to find a spot to park. Paring is actually limited to small turn-outs, and they are very limited. There was a wider dirt turn-out along the east side of Del Dios Highway that can be mistaken as parking space, however, there was a sign that says, “No Parking”.  There is a tiny pull-out opposite to it that has dirt road going up the colored hill.  Even though the dirt turn-out on the East side of the highway looks a lot wider with some cars parked as well, but we were afraid of the no parking sign and also, afraid to cross the highway with fast running cars in both directions. We decided to make a U-turn and parked on the opposite side, which is a narrower dirt pull-out. Parking and pulling out from the area really requires careful caution.
The dirt road up the hill is steep, yet gentler compared to what follows after, that is if you aim to reach the rocky top of the hill. After the dirt road ends, there is a narrower trail up to a level landing which is thickly carpeted by poppies. A nice place to start enjoying the widlfowers. We got to this area late afternoon and the poppies were no longer fully opened-up. If you plan to not only hike and experience this great wildflower bloom but also take pictures of poppies fully opening up, you have to choose a warmer sunny day, but do not delay it too much that you will miss the bloom.  


After this level landing, there are several branching really narrow hiking trails that goes farther up probably created by previous hikers who went all the way to the top or may have been created naturally by water run-offs.  


These trails go really steep on some area, climbing up was easier than going down. As you near the top, the poppies become thinner while the phacelias and sunflower becomes thicker.


Aside from poppies, 


 phacelias and sunflower,



there were a lot of cute purple lilies that were just starting to bloom at the lower part of the hill.


It is hard to miss these tiny lilies since they tend to bunch also together.  These hills are really exploding with colors right now. If you want to get amazed with this wonderful gift from nature, and fill your dreams with color and fragrance, you’ve got to start moving your feet now to where the hills and canyons are.   


Hoping you have a wonderful hike with the wildflowers, making the field of dreams a field of colorful reality! Have fun, grab this priceless chance and enjoy the sun.

March 15, 2008 at 4:55 pm 3 comments

Hiking Tooth Rock Mountain


San Diego’s field of California Poppies, at Tooth Rock Trail, Poway.

Thanks to my student, Tommy, for showing me how to get to this wonderful trail. Last week, we hiked Iron Mountain, and on our way home, down Poway Road, I saw colorful hills, sparkling with yellow, gold and purple colors. But we did not see any trail, at least from Poway Road. It looked so near yet so far since we did not know where to park and if there is a trail. What a pleasant surprise to know that, yes, there is a trail, called “Tooth Rock.”  


Tooth Rock has many branching trails. There are level trails, and there are some trails that go uphill, but the slopes are more gentle, at least compared to Iron Mountain and the latter part of Woodson Mountain from Lake Poway. These two mountains can be seen from this trail. 


I am not sure if there is a trail here that connects to Woodson Mountain, since it looks like  there is one, but we just did not go far enough in that direction since we went up Tooth Rock peak instead. The trails are wide enough, also for horseback riders. This trail is not as popular as Iron Mountain or Woodson Mountain nearby, for there are very few hikers here. The peacefulness and solitude in the midst of poppies, lupines, phacelias, among others  are truly mother nature’s wonderful treat.


The very few people I crossed path with in the trail are either the locals with their dogs, and photographers who bring with them large cameras and tripods. The trail here can be short or long. If one is only after the wildflowers, in just less than a mile from the trail head, the exploding colors will treat your eyes right away, and maybe, will take your breath away! 


However, I believe that the wildflower display will awe and inspire you to keep on going and moving, enjoying the wildflower field that surrounds your hike. The trail can be flat or uphill, short or long, depending on which one you will take. You will be in between hills or in a canyon that are mostly covered with spring colors. When I moved to San Diego 4 years ago, I was not as paying attention to the beauty around. I therefore missed the wonderful wildflower display of 2005. But since hiking has awakened me to our beautiful world in the backroads, every winter, I pray for rain to come 🙂 and always hope for a good wildflower bloom. 


The colorful display of wildflowers in this trail did not only take my breath away, but my words away 🙂 . Right now, I find it hard to find words to describe this trail 😦 . But let me say, this is truly a wonderful trail for wildflower lovers, and for nature lovers. It is nice to experience how nature recuperates herself after a wildfire, since the wildflowers here mixes with burned bushes and trees.Here are some more pictures from the trail,

1) Looking up Tooth Rock,


2) Trail curving around Tooth Rock Mountain 


3) Looking down from the top of Tooth Rock 


4) Can you identify Poway Road at the edge of the opposite cliff? View from near the top of Tooth Rock, with lots of golden poppies.


5) Lone yucca, California poppies, phacelias, among others.


6) Nature’s Flower Arrangement that caught my admiring eye. 



Spring is now here, hit the trails and enjoy the wildflowers while they still last. But remember mother nature needs us to help her to take care of herself. 

Note: Pictures above were taken March 8, 2008, for a more recent description and pictures, please click

March 9, 2008 at 9:12 am 24 comments

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