Friday, March 19, 2010

Hiking Table Mountain

The view out my picture window includes Table Mountain. There's no access from here on the east side, but just up Highway 49 and out Rawhide Road is Melones Reservoir and many, many acres of land administered by the Bureau of Reclamation. There are no visitor centers, or parking lots at this location, and just recently this new sign was installed. A local county road that passes through this area was closed about 7 years ago. Now we hike out to the trail that leads up to the top of Table Mountain.

The first part of the hike is through oaks, gray pines, and rolling grass land. That line in the center of the picture is Table Mountain in the distance.

Osprey chicks are hatching all over the county. This nest is in the top of a gray pine. (For any one who remembers, the big snag at Parrot's Ferry bridge fell in the monster winds last winter, very sad for all of us who traveled that road, not to mention the osprey families!)

Leaving the grass land we climb through scrub oak and then up the rocky side of the mountain.

There's an easy access trail through the lava to the top. The real climbing is done farther south in an area called the "grotto".

Up on top, tiny Gold Fields bloom for miles. Later in the season different colors will appear as the waves of flowers open. This year there is so much water in the vernal pools the season will last for many weeks.

Jimmy was off exploring the far edge, but doesn't get too close, he knows his limits on this mountain.

A couple Golden Rod were were blooming in the rocks just before the top.

Looking east to snow covered peaks in Yosemite. The snow pack is right at 100% of normal. Good news after several years of drought, but a long wait for hiking in the high country!

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