Date: April 3, 2016
Place: San Rafael Wilderness, Los Padres National Forest, California
Coordinates: 34.759720, -119.901199
Length: 2.8 miles
On Sunday morning we took our time making breakfast and breaking camp. It was the forth day of our Manzana Creek backpacking trip, and it was also the last day. That morning all we needed was to pack everything and head out of the wilderness. Papa Quail, as pragmatic as always, wanted to be at the car by noon: we would still have hours of driving before we would be home.
We almost lost the trail this time around too: we crossed Manzana Creek and went on a few steps up a dry wash before realizing we had to make a left turn and go up the hill, along the main creek.
The trail didn't go high very far, but stretched along the contour a few yards over the creek bed. Because the way we had lost the trail on our first day of the trip, this was the first time we were hiking this trail segment.
|Parry's Larkspur (Delphinium parryi)|
|San Luis Purple Sage (Salvia leucophyla)|
|Foothill Poppy (Eschscholzia caespitosa)|
That she was happy to do - she kept pointing at flowers left and right (there were many!) and some I took special interest in. Either I'd missed them when we first went through that place or that I wouldn't stop to give them good attention at the time.
Either way, by the time we got to the Lost Campground by the creek we were all ready for a good, long rest stop. We pulled our snack out of the packs and finished it all. We had one mile left between us and the car.
After a while when she didn't return I went looking for her and found her staring at the trees. She was birdwatching, she said. I got her back to the table where Papa Quail was waiting with the younger chika. Then we hoisted our packs for the final time and started walking again.
Manzana means 'apple' in Spanish. And manzanita is 'little apple'. We saw quite a few manzanita bushes on our way but those on the last trail segment were loaded with unripe, green 'manzanitas'. It was a god year for them.
|Manzanita bush 'little apples'|
|Beetles swarming popcorn flowers.|
This trip, however, I will not forget. The water, the wildflowers, the stress in my back and hips, all of these will be hard to forget. And then, of course, there are the many photos I took, and this blog post.
|Lotus (Acmispon sp.)|
|Bigelow Coreopsis (Leptosyne bigelovii)|
|Davidson's Blue Eyed Mary (Collins bartsiifolia var. davidsonii)|
|Ceanothus (Ceanothus sp. )|
The chikas went right into the car. Papa Quail gave them cookies and went about arranging the luggage and readying himself for the long drive ahead. I left my backpack at the car and went back to the creek to wash my feet and change into sandals. The cool, fresh water on my feet felt really good. I sat on a rock in the stream, looking at day hikers crossing the creek back and forth. I could have sat there like that for a long time, but eventually I did get out of the water and back to the car. It was time to leave.
We drove back out by Figueroa Mountain Road. The narrow mountain road was jam-packed with people who came to marvel at the fantastic display of wildflowers.
|Lupine cushions by Figueroa Mountain Rd.|
|Figueroa Mountain, April 3, 2016|
He answered with a non-verbal sound which meant he was not committing to anything. But when a little later he added, "Next time we should plan it so that ... " and went on with some suggestions for improvement, I started outlining in my mind our next family backpacking trip. All I need now is to find the time and the right location :-)