Plants, Stone, California Landscapes


Posts Tagged ‘shooting star’


Machete Ridge, Pinnacles National Monument

Machete Ridge, Pinnacles National Monument

Strange winter, eh? We thought for sure we’d be skiing this month, but it has been hiking and climbing weather instead. Last weekend we went to Pinnacles National Monument. We had been there once before about ten years ago but only made it as far as the parking lot before it started raining and we had to go somewhere else to climb. (Pinnacles is famous for being crumbly, especially when wet, and you don’t want to break off the a key hold and transform a classic climb into something harder.) The rock is volcanic breccia, lava mixed with chunks of other rock picked up during the eruption. It’s originally from a volcano 180 miles south, and slowly moved north along the San Andreas fault to its present location. Even with the rock dry, I found it hard to feel confident that the chunks of conglomerate sticking out of the cliff were going to hold my weight. Though, of course, everything held. We did several short climbs, but mostly we checked out the scenery, the crags, the manzanitas (A. glauca) in bloom, the talus caves (tunnels beneath massive boulders piled in the narrow gorges, very cool), and for one moment several condors drifting over head (a good page on ID’ing them here, a couple of nice photos here). I’ve now seen both Andean and California condors. Not sure if that has caché in the birding world but it makes me happy.

Ridge above Bear Gulch

Tiburcios X


Some of the rock and manzanita pairings reminded me of things we’ve tried to do in some of our naturalistic plantings, except of course on a much bigger scale. Rocks and manzanita go so perfectly together, as classic as any traditional companion planting.


The Ignorables, Bear Gulch

And a patch of shooting stars (Dodecatheon clevelandii ssp. patulum per Katie at NatureID) was my first wildflower sighting of the year.

Shooting Stars, Dodecatheon sp.