Saturday, January 5, 2013

Mountain Hike

We went for a hike about an hour out of town - amazing how the landscape can be totally different. These pictures are from Towsley Canyon, which is part of the Transverse Ranges in Southern California. I took way too many pictures, so I follow David at Tropical Texana's example and made some collages.

Let's get started:
Near trail head entrance
 The mountains in these areas were created by tectonic forces and faulting stemming from the interaction of the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate along the San Andreas Fault system (per Wikipedia...) There are a lot of interesting views, and some curiosities, like caves and oil seeps

Caves, oil seeps and yellow trees! Oil seeps smell...
 The mountains make for some nice views:
Views looking both East (inland) and West, as well as inside the canyon itself (center)

As do the trees and various other plants, including coastal sage scrub, chaparral, and oak woodland. In the summer, the whole area smells like sage, which is a little strange.
Following the trail - a 5 mile loop
 A few years ago, there was a fire in this area. You can still see some of the damage on the trees, especially the oak trees. Some of oak trees died, and leave these kind of bare tree shapes, while others regrew (bottom left)
Some of the trees recovered completely - except for burn marks on their trunks (lower center)
 The oak trees are native to the area, and many of them are gorgeous, especially against the blue sky:
I think this is Quercus lobata (Valley Oak), still holding on to some of its leaves
 Even though its only January, signs of Spring are already starting to emerge:
No rattlesnakes yet though!
In the canyon itself (or Towsley Gorge), green ferns are growing up the canyon walls. The creek was still flowing on this side. I'll have to go back in the Spring - part of the trail involves fording the creek, which might be more exciting if there's more water.
G(r)o(w)-ing up!
 This picture, to me, shows what these mountains are all about: an oak tree, on a ridge line, with blue sky and scrubby chaparral-like stuff. In this case, that's probably Quercus agrifolia, Coast Live Oak.
A sense of place - the coastal ranges
 After enjoy the gorgeous weather all morning, some clouds started to show up. Rain is supposed to be coming tomorrow.
There was a rainbow here... My picture-taking skills need work...
Posting pictures everyday in January would be a lot easier if I got to take hikes every day! I'm hoping that I'll have time to hike in a park that's closer to the desert next week, and share those pictures. It's amazing how much ecological variety there is in this area!


  1. Very pretty hike, it's been a few years since we lived in Southern California but I do remember loving it for those gorgeous January days.

    1. Thanks for your comment... the weather is certainly nice here, although blue skies and 60deg weather still don't say 'Christmas' to me...


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