Saturday, July 23, 2016

Hike 2016.022 -- Mouth of Mill Creek Canyon and Oak Glen

Hiked Friday, May 6. Call it six miles for the day. This one is over two months ago. Several hikes since then, but haven't had time to get the photos resized, selected, and uploaded, never mind actually writing the hike up. Also, there was a streak where it seemed like every time I tried posting from home, my stupid computer started downloading updates, running security scans, or otherwise moving at an astonishingly slow rate. This morning, I'm sitting at a Toyota dealership, waiting for my car to be serviced, so I'm using their computer. I've actually written several posts from this computer over the past few years. They have a fancy coffee maker with complementary coffee. Still going to keep it short, to try to finish this today.
These were from a wonderfully overcast, slightly drizzly day, which seems to be the best time to visit Oak Glen, anyway. I seem to manage a lot of hikes there under such conditions.
I don't recall what my original plan might have been. I'm sure I planned some sort of hike before heading up to Oak Glen, just to get some extra steps in. Could have been I just needed to use the restroom as I drove by the Forest Service visitor center at the mouth of Mill Creek. Or it's possible I saw the fading yellow blossoms of many, many flowers. What ever it was, I stopped at the VC, and walked across the highway.
Trivia time: It's called Mill Creek Canyon because this was the site of the first saw mill in the San Bernardino Mountains.

At the opening of most canyons coming out of the local mountains, you'll find plenty of evidence of occasional, torrential floods. Lots of big boulders, piled upon sandy or gravelly alluvial fans. This one was no exception. Still quite a lot of wildflowers, even though it was already getting late in the season. The yellow flowers that had attracted my attention, however, were past peak. I'll have to try coming back here some time in mid-April.
This makes the soil pretty porous, and I think a lot of wildflowers and cactus like the fast-draining, yet frequently inundated soil.
Some flowers were pretty common, including the past-peak yellow flowers, the beaver tail, fillaree, Canterbury bell, and blue dicks.
On the other hand, there were some flowers I saw at only one point in my Mill Creek Hike. I only saw one set of lupine, for example.
And I only saw one patch of blue larkspur.
And one set of mariposa lily.
I walked in a drizzle for part of the way. The sky was dark and looked to threaten a downpour. Maybe that made things more exciting, just thinking I might have to make a dash back to the car. But the rain never opened up.
Got some nice, dramatic shots of the gathering storm.

Returned to the car after wandering maybe 1 1/2 miles or so, all around the flood plain. Then got back to the car, and drove on up to Oak Glen.
If you search through my blog, you'll find many visits to Oak Glen. I love their massive apple pies. The addition and repeated expansions of the Wildlands Conservancy trails at Oak Glen Preserve just make the trip a better bonus.
Many flowers in their more manicured gardens, including that columbine, back up a shot. Some apple trees right near the trail, too, so I took a shot of some apple blossoms. I'll be back in the fall to eat the result of those blossoms. ;D
There are up to two ponds in their upper preserve area, adjacent to their farm. The one pictured here and in the next shot are the upper pond. It's a seasonal, vernal pool. Fills with the rains, then turns to a meadow by late spring.
On this day, recent rains had the pool full, and waterfowl were taking advantage of the water feature.
After looping around the upper and lower ponds (looks like I didn't upload any shots of the lower pond here, but I've pictured it many times, before. Guess when I was reviewing this day's shots, I determined that nothing I had was better than other shots I've posted of it, before.

Heading south from the lower pond, the wide trail takes you under some impressive oak boughs, which I also photograph pretty much every time I go by.
The one thing you don't get to do on a drizzly day is walk the boardwalk. So I just went down this "stream" trail, and I think I just went to the bottom, then retraced my steps back up. Don't think I detoured up the more easterly trail, that runs through a developed park. Some shots from that park are in this post, from a fall trip.

Here's what some of those same places look like without clouds.

See what I mean? It's nice on a clear day, but it's magical with some clouds.
Oak Glen, in winter, here.

Late spring, here.
And, a few weeks earlier, here.
Okay, that's it for now. Hoping to catch up on my posts, although, obviously, I've been saying that for years!

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