It started with a cancellation of a family group camping trip I had planned for April in the Mendocino Coast area because of a surprise storm that caused severe flooding there. It was too late to find an alternative place for that time but I did find an alternative campsite for June on the southeastern shore of Lake Shasta. I needed to do some preparation for the planned June trip and so when my friend came to visit me in May and we went on a week long California discovery road trip I included a day in the area of Lake Shasta in our itinerary. Trusting me to take her where there was nice spring bloom, my friend followed my plan without questioning.
After peering long at the maps I chose the Bailey Cove, which appeared to be an easy loop trail. After a restful night in the town of Lake Shasta my friend and I arrived at the trailhead, located at the Bailey Cove Recreation Area and started the loop clockwise.
|Bailey Cove Trailhead|
|Stipulate Lotus, Hosackia stipularis|
|Campanulate Campion, Silene campanulata|
We gave much attention to the first cluster of irises we saw. As we found out, these elegant flowers were quite common along that trail. With unquenched enthusiasm we kept admiring and photographing man of them during the hike. It always seems that each individual was prettier than the previous we've seen, or that a better photo could be taken in better angle and better illumination.
I think I got about 50 photos just of irises on that hike.
|Slender Iris, Iris tenuissima|
Soft sunlight sifted through the canopy and illuminate the forest floor to look like a shimmering patchwork. Forest lighting makes it difficult to photograph but it's does wonders to illuminate the soul.
Broad-leaved shrubs and herbs covered the forest floor, and nearly all of them were blooming. As we walked along I saw a familiar one just up ahead and called my friend to see - a beautiful crimson columbine.
|Crimson Columbine, Aquilegia formosa|
|Wavyleaf Indian Paintbrush, Catilleja applegatei|
|Small-flowered Nemophila, Nemophila Paviflora|
|Pacific Starfower, Trientalis latifolia|
|Twincrest Onion, Allium bisceptrum|
|Rayless Arnica, Arnica discoidea|
|Dichlostemma ida-maia, Firecracker flower|
My friend, who one of her trip aims was to see as many mariposa lilies as possible, was beside herself with excitement. This hike was to be the most bountiful of our trip together, wildflower-wise.
|Hairy Mariposa Lily|
|Violet Draperia, Draperia systyla|
It was the bus stop at the entrance to the Lake Shasta Caverns, where I was with my family a month earlier.
|Entrance to Lake Shasta Caverns|
We ere walking faster now, moving southward. That part of the trail was considerably more exposed, and the plants were different - less forest and more chaparral. The were different wildflowers there too.
|Pipevine Swallowtail on Many-flowered Brodiaea, Dichelostemma multiflorum|
The sunlight, now coming straight from above, played magic in my eyes as it filtered through the broad-leaf canopies. The photos don't do it any justice.
|50 shades of green|
One of the things I intended to photograph was a species of St John's wort that grew densely along the south-facing trail segment. When my friend and I were there in May we saw only the immature floral buds. Many of them. Toward the end of our hike we did see one plant that was blooming, but I was hoping to see the big bloom upon my return there in June.
Well, I did see these pretty flowers blooming. It was, however, a non-native species.
|Klamathweed, Hypericum perforatum|
I saw many butterflies on my second hike too but didn't bother to photograph them. The children in my group, however, found a caterpillar and insisted that I photograph it.
Shortly after my camera died on my May hike my friend and I took a brief break in the shaded nook of a small creek. I went about exploring a little and found a log with some interesting structures growing from it. I knew it was fungi but didn't know which. I dragged the log over to where my friend was sitting and she was excited to see these - the bird's nest fungus, without the 'eggs' - they had already dispersed the spores.
A month later the log was still there where I had left it so I showed it also to my group.
|Bird's Nest fungus|
There are several places along the south-facing trail with access to the shore. The problem was that the water had already receded considerably and near the water there was not a speck of shade. Even closer to the train shade was sparse and not very cool either. Still, we needed a break and so down we went to cool off in the water a little bit.
It was somewhat difficult to tear ourselves from the water and get on with the hiking but we needed to make it back to the campground, and so I gathered my group and we went on to complete the loop.
We didn't stop again, but I did stoop briefly whenever I saw something pretty like the whitehead fruits of the clematis that I've seen blooming there a month earlier.
|Pipestem, Clematis lasiantha|
|Coyote Mint, Monardella villosa|
|Western Thistle, Cirsium occidentale|
Many thanks to my friend Anenet for identifying the wildflowers! Do visit again soon!