Vernal pools and wildflowers flourish briefly each year on the flat summits of the Table Rocks, two extremely popular local hiking areas. We missed seeing the ponds and flowers last year because of Big V-driven closures. This year we visited Upper Table in February and Lower Table in March, just in time to see the vernal pools form. We promised to come back for the wildflowers, particularly the Dwarf Meadowfoams, subspecies of which are found only here. Yet we kept letting another visit slide. But the rains came late this year and left early and the drought rolled on and temperatures were “above normal” and the vernal pools withered. It suddenly dawned on us that we going to miss the meadowfoams yet again! The LovedOne was busy but I pushed off a Zoom meeting to make an early morning pilgrimage to the top of Upper Table.
Despite the early hour, the parking lot at the trailhead wasn’t empty. But I had the trail to myself as I scurried to the top. The vernal pools, which had looked so lush just a month ago, were now all gone. But I pushed on to the one spot where Dwarf Meadowfoams are usually present. And lo, an exuberance of almost flowering meadowfoams crowded the rims of where the pools had been!
Having successfully completed Operation Meadowfoam, I still had time to look around for some of the other wildflowers that populate the Rocks at this time of year. Despite the drought and dryness, it was good to find more than a few of the usual suspects in full bloom.
No hike at the Table Rocks would be complete without mentioning their most prominent and irritating resident plant – Toxicodendron (poison oak). Judging from all the fresh sprouts and leaves popping out along the trail, it’s going to be a banner year for this species. Time to stock up on Tecnu. 🙄HOME