Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hiking the Red Hills

The Red Hills are 7000 acres of rocky, desert like rolling terrain set right in the middle of our oak grass lands in the Sierra Foothills. We grew up playing in the Red Hills. Dad had a jeep that was an exciting ride when he splashed through the fords on the creek crossings. For awhile the area was taken over by trash, shooters, and other unfortunates. The Tuolumne County Trails Council reclaimed it in the 90s. Trail heads, parking, seventeen miles of trail, interpretive panels, picnic area and even a restroom! It's a fantastic hike in the spring when the wildflowers are blooming. A couple weeks ago the Super Nephews and I hiked for a couple hours in one of the least visited areas. We didn't meet another hiker or rider.

These are Gold Fields near the parking area.

They are one of the first flowers to bloom and cover not only the Red Hills but also all the surrounding hills that have rocky shallow soil. The lava cap at home and Table Mountain also have wonderful displays.

The Buck Brush and a variety of little poppies were also in full bloom. These snaps are typical of the trail. Many riders avoid the area because it's so rocky. Gambler and I rode many miles here and I was missing him on this hike.

There's been so much late spring rain that the creeks are still running. It's a treat to see wildflowers AND water.

There was a hatch (?) of swallowtail butterflies in this area. The only place I saw butterflies.

Monkey flowers are common along all the creeks.

This little sweetie is Purple Mouse Ears.

Another perennial is the Indian Paint Brush. Down there they like to grow among the branches of the Buck Brush. Maybe for protection from the sun and a bit more moisture.

The tiny green meadow at the upper left of this snap is Six Bit Gulch. Also note all the Digger Pines, they love the Red Hills. (politically correctly now know as Gray Pine). I love how they defy gravity and grow at weird angles.

These snaps were taken before Farewell to Spring (pink color) began to bloom. A friend sent me some shots with BOTH yellow and pink on the hills a couple days ago. The waves of color are so fun to see unfold. This would be a great location for a time lapse. Or for me to snap the same view every week. Maybe next spring.

Super Nephew S and G were great hikers and explorers. I didn't see much of them as they were running down the trail, up and down the hills. Another generation of our family in the Red Hills.
(More on that in a few minutes in another post!).

1 comment:

  1. It's very pretty there,I can see why you love it so much. I thought the purple mouse ears were cute, I've never heard of them or seen them.
    vickieP

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