Place: McArthur-Burney Falls State Park, Burney, California
Coordinates: 41.011404, -121.651518
Length: Short Falls Loop: 1.3 miles. Extended loop: about 3 miles.
The rain caught up with us the morning after our spring wildflower hike at North Table Mountain Ecological Preserve. Papa Quail and the chikas stood under the canopy while yours truly broke camp and loaded the car. One everything and every one was in the car, sure enough - the rain had stopped.
We bade farewell to Lake Oroville and headed north to explore an area we've never been to before: the Modoc Country. To be more specific: the South Warner Wilderness.
Our plan was to break the long drive with a short visit to MacArthur-Burney Falls State Park, roughly half way in between Oroville and Alturas. We had been there a couple of years ago but didn't do much other than looking at the falls and sitting on the beach at Britton Lake.
Our first stop was for lunch in the town of Burney. We chatted a bit with our server and she said there was a bald eagle nest just outside of town on the way to the Falls.
We found the place and, sure enough, the nest was there. Except it wasn't a bald eagle's nest but an osprey's.
|Burney Mountain, where the water comes from. Photo taken from a CA-299 Vista Point|
|Our hike (labeled yellow), beginning at the Falls parking lot. Map section scanned from park's brochure.|
|Burney Falls, a view from the bottom.|
Water comes down there not only from the main stream but also through the porous rock. I love the ferns that grow right at the spring lines, enjoying eternal shower.
After appreciating the waterfall from below we continued our hike along the creek.
Very little was in bloom there. Gooseberry shrubs were among the early spring starters.
|Sierra Gooseberry (Ribes roezlii)|
Staying on the east side of the creek, one could continue all the way north to Britton Lake. We, however, crossed the little wood bridge to the other side of the creek and continued uphill. There we saw a bit more spring colors.
|Small-flowered Blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia parviflora)|
|Mahala Mat (Ceanothus protratus)|
There, by the trail, I met an acquaintance that in the Bay Area had already finished blooming. At Burney Falls it was just starting.
|Shining Mule-ear (Wyethia glabra)|
It was pretty early for the lupine, which was just budding at the time.
were ready to cross to the other side. I stopped and took a photo of the gray river.
And then, we got to see a warbler species that was new to us. First, the female:
|Black-throated Gray Warbler, male|
|Scarlet Fritillary (Fritillaria recurva)|
Last July we returned to Burney Falls with my sister and her family. This time we only hiked the 1.3 miles short loop around the falls. The sun was shining, and everything sparkled in the brilliant light. Including the butterflies.
The rocks at the bottom of the falls were jam-packed with people. Some even ventured into the cold, snow-melt water. Some just enjoyed the natural, cooling water spray.
|Enhancing the spirit: a visitor to Burney Falls (facial features blurred on purpose).|
|St John's Wort (Hypericum sp.)|
They were certainly there. We saw them zooming by the waterfall at lightning speed. Although we did stay there for a good, long time, photographing these birds proved to be very challenging indeed.
|Black Swift, image cropped from the photo above.|
|Hopeful ground squirrel at Burney Falls.|
I stepped down to the water. There, atop a warm, dark rock, a garter snake was sunbathing.
|Black Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)|