Sunday, March 20, 2011

habitat ~ 03/20/11 ~ Fort Ord - BLM InterGarrison

Fort Ord Public Lands - InterGarrison entrance
March 20, 2011

Considering it had been raining for a solid week before this hike, and indeed during our hike, all the vernal pools we passed were filled. They look like lakes, but most of them do dry up by the end of summer. Many rare plants can be found around the vernal pools, including Hickman's popcorn flower, which we found completely submerged by the recent rains.

This is quite possibly the largest vernal pool at Fort Ord. It extends to about twice as wide as shown in the picture. The InterGarrison parking area, consisting of a sand lot with no facilities, is located straight as the crow flies to the left of the water tower and a bit beyond.

I took this photo to show how this particular meadow looks before the sky lupine really gets going. There is only one lone lupine blooming now with some fiddlenecks. For a comparison photo taken from almost the exact same spot, see my May 8, 2010 lupine post.

This photo is looking southeast over towards the Creekside entrance where the trails are a bit more established and erm, less dangerous...

And the last photo is a reminder that the BLM lands were once an Army training site. I didn't get a great shot of the sign, because I was more interested in the brush clearing they were doing of a trail that had been previously open. The sign says, "Danger. Do not enter. This area is being investigated for ordinance and explosives." I got on my soapbox and mentioned this in my star tulip post from this hike.

While I don't particularly like hiking in the rain, Andy convinced me to get out there with hopes to see the bobcat he spotted the day before during a trail run. We only saw some bobcat poop in the usual places. I have to say, I think Fort Ord is becoming my favorite local place to hike, even more than Garland Ranch Regional Park.

ps 05/12/12 - At the end of April, I was contacted by a California Stare University, San Jose student who is working on a group project regarding California coastal wetlands. Apparently, Fort Ord vernal pools was his assignment for a presentation. Since his photos from a March 8 personal tour were of very dry vernal pool areas, he used and credited my first 2 pictures above to show vernal pools at Fort Ord with actual water in them. It pleases me that students and university professors are finding my blog for first-hand accounts, which are not simply repeated blurbs found on so many sites.

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