Saturday, December 3, 2016

Hike 2016.004 -- Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden

Hiked Saturday, January 17. 5 miles. Rapidly coming up on one year since the actual hike. But I find myself sitting in a waiting area with a computer, and this is the only draft post I can work on that has pictures already uploaded. Probably won't get very far before I need to go, though.

This was a few months after I joined the Los Angeles County Arboretum (through a Groupon offer). The one year membership includes reciprocal admission to various other arboretum and botanical gardens, including Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens.
(The parks also have the option to "block" reciprocal privileges to parks within 90 miles. Unfortunately, Descanso Gardens, which is somewhat near to me, does block privileges, so I am not able to take advantage of the benefit there. But I did make a free visit there once last year during Museum Free for All day. The next one is coming up in January, so take look over there and make some plans. And, if you go, go early, because the crowds last year were pretty crazy.
Apparently, I was still experi-menting with my camera, as I see I too a few black and white shots. ;D

The park is in Claremont, which is a bit of a drive for me. Probably would not otherwise make a visit, were it not free. So, in that respect, their choosing not to block reciprocal privileges is probably a good idea: they gained a visitor they would otherwise not have gotten.
Rancho Santa Ana is quite different from the Los Angeles County Arboretum. There's a much smaller "developed" area, and a much larger area which almost looks like an abandoned lot. I mean that literally, as it looks like parts of the park have chunks of concrete only partially buried. It's an interesting effect, and not a rare one for many of the larger open spaces in semi-suburban areas of southern California.
Given my choice of visiting date, I was not surprised to find relatively few plants in bloom, and not much in the way of fall color. Still, there were a few, and it was definitely a pleasant place to walk. Relatively large, too. Easy to put together a three mile-plus walk.
Obviously, the San Gabriel Mountains are not that far away. At the start of the year, they were snow-capped. And the Joshua tree made a nice foreground.

Some birds used the bayonet-like leaves as a place of refuge.

It's been long enough ago that I don't remember a lot else about this visit. I do recall that I planned to return to this park during the spring bloom, but that did not occur. I've probably also missed the "fall" color, again.

On the other hand, I recently renewed my Arboretum member-ship, so I can still come back here any time I want. So, perhaps, this spring.

I also plan to visit the South Coast Botanic Garden sometime, soon. They also have reciprocal admission privileges with the Los Angeles County Arboretum, and I have never been to that park, either.
Since the Los Angeles County Arboretum is by far the nearest botanic garden to me, I'll probably keep my membership, there. Particularly given my current health status, having something so nearby that I can walk, among relatively flat paths, and with good shade, is very helpful. I'm also keeping my membership at the Huntington Library.

On the other hand, I should also visit he Whittier Narrows Recreation Area more often.
(As I flip through some old posts about Legg Lake and the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area, it's also looking pretty interesting!)

(By the way, the trees here are Torrey Pine. Kind of nice that they have a number of locally-oriented plants here. The first shot on this post, for example, is of Channel Island Bush Poppy. I got introduced to them during our visit to Santa Cruz Island, earlier in the year).
OK, that's in, for now. Since my last blogged hike, I've only managed walks in malls and at the Arboretum and the Huntington. Perhaps on some overcast winter morning, I'll be able to go elsewhere.

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