There was a great turn out for the Shiloh Park wildflower hike, even though it is the toughest of the spring wildflowers treks. Phil Dean, who leads the hikes, warned us it can be a little steep going up and a little slippery coming down….and it was. But, worth it all the way!
He started by showing us an interesting plant in the field in front of the parking lot. Called by the common name, Jimson Weed, it’s very toxic and can cause hallucinations that include a sense of flying….hence the saying, “it makes witches fly”. Check it out on Web M.D. and you’ll want to give it a wide berth! It has lovely flowers though:
Our 3 mile walk began by going up through the oaks and right past an earthquake fault line. Most of the path is shaded until you reach the ridge so that made for nice hiking.
I’m particularly fond of Maidenhair Fern so it was a treat to see it growing wild:
Followed by Baby White Eyes:
And some Purple Vetch:
Coming out of the shade and approaching the ridge trail we saw bright yellow clumps of Sticky Monkey Flower:
Learned that Yarrow can be used to stop bleeding:
And examined the little urn shaped flowers on the Madrone Trees:
The views were beautiful out over Windsor from up here:
But seeing the effects of Sudden Oak Death on one of the trees was sad:
I love Wild Iris and they were sprinkled all along the way. Both the Douglas Iris (purple) and the Fernald’s Iris (yellow):
Blue Eyed Grass delighted the hikers:
Along with the Star Flower- (it’s so delicate and beautiful):
Next we headed along the ridge trail toward a small pond. And found more tiny flowers along the way. Without Phil leading us it would have been easy to miss many of them. Like the tiny Scarlet Pimpernel:
Or the low growing, Sun Cups:
And I certainly would have missed the lovely clump of Mule Ears in a field off the trail since I was staring at the ground to keep my balance at this point!
Each hike has it’s share of critters and this time it was these Canadian Geese grazing through the grass:
and floating on the pond:
After the pond we headed back into the shade and walked up above a mostly dry creek bed. Ferns were growing all over:
Along with Wild Rose:
Some Mallow in spots of sun:
This really is a great walk and a wonderful park. We are truly blessed with such outdoors places to wander in Sonoma County!
Next week’s walk, the final in the series, is 10 a.m. at Riverfront Regional Park. Sadly, I will have to miss that one but I hope you’ll make it!
For more info: go here.