Wildflowers of Torrey Pines, Guy Fleming Trail

Super Bloom, Spring 2017

The drought that has plagued the Southwest United States, Southern California included, has been declared over… for the most part. We saw hardly any rain over the last five years and this winter we made up for the deficit. Finally! And when the rains come, so do the wildflowers.


The Torrey Pines State Reserve is a special place, and if you are visiting the San Diego area, try to stop by here. For spectacular scenery, the Guy Fleming Trail is one of my favorite places to walk, run, bring tourist friends, and take photos.


This year, a lot of photos. Never have I taken more pictures of any natural area. Ever. And I like taking pictures along hikes, so that is saying something.


From the dozen or so walks I have taken recently, I’ve saved about a hundred photos, culled down from four hundred, at least. The scenery changes every ten paces or so, quite literally! During San Diego’s May Gray and June Gloom, the fog sneaks and slips through the pines and up over the slopes that rise from the beach below. But- in a matter of minutes, the entire marine layer can clear up leaving tourist and locals blinking in the bright sunlight and marveling at the weathered bluffs, crumbling cliffs, and lovely, lovely flowers.

Just look at these side-by-side photos of similar views, but different times or weather:


and more…



Cold, early morning poppies vs. bright, shiny (and badly photographed) poppies:


I love these two:


Here’s a bit of the wildlife. Surfers count, they are totally legit wildlife…



Get a load of the geometry and patterns seen out on the beach trails:





And to conclude, a few of my favorite pics of just the flowers:

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Milk Maids
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The Blue Larkspur- spotted in the eponymous Larkspur Canyon.





All right. I have to quit. I could upload another 50 photos that are every bit as lovely as these, but I have to calm the heck down.

Happy hiking, all!

Wednesday’s Wildflowers- Torrey Pines State Reserve

Along the coastal chaparral of the Guy Fleming Trail wildflowers are bursting forth thanks to the downpours we’ve seen this rainy season. If you can’t drive out to the desert region this spring, get over to Torrey Pines State Reserve and enjoy the beauty before the heat returns and withers away these blooms.

Wooly Paintbrush is one of the chaparral perennials.
The San Diego Sea Dahlia, of the sunflower family, has contrasting sturdy stems and delicate leaves.
Here is one of my favorite wildflowers to spot- Miner’s Lettuce, of the purslane family. An early spring edible like the more common purslane… but don’t take my word for it, I’m no botanist.
One of the many mustards, Milkmaids are popping up all over the Torrey Pines trails.

Thanks to my handy-dandy spiral bound book-

Native Plants Torrey Pines State Reserve & nearby San Diego County Locations

by Margaret L. Fillius, 2nd Edition

This book is available for purchase at the visitor center atop the preserve, and if you’re lucky, the author will be on site leading a nature walk.

Good Old Friends and Complete Silliness

What happens when you put a family of five into an SUV for thirty hours of nearly straight-through driving to visit their old friends and attend the Rose Bowl? They have fun. We helped our old friends get their wiggles out by putting them through our Tourist Treatment, specially constructed for Hoosiers.

You get some terribly centered selfies…

Some Christmas Card worthy photos…


A whole LOT of drinking…


And pics that were as much fun to see and share as the whole day.



Seven years ago we were all canoeing on Sugar Creek in central Indiana:

Back Camera


And this is the ridiculousness into which we have degraded:

“Look, Mrs. J! I bet she’s not wearing any undies!”





New Tricks with Old Friends- Aqua Hiking and Kung Pao Calamari (Bonus! Make a Friend Try Ahi Poke)

Friends visiting us from out of town? A visit to Torrey Pines is mandatory.

Torrey Pines State Preserve this Friday… so lovely:

Stunning blue sky, green pines, and red cliffs, two days ago...
Stunning blue sky, green pines, and red cliffs, two days ago…

Southern California is experiencing a severe drought right now. So, when the friends from Indiana are visiting, what do we get for the weather? Two days of steady rain thanks to Hurricane Dolores. I didn’t snap any pictures of the ominous grey and black clouds as they rushed up on us, but did find this lovely photo online. Imagine the fog like this… just coming down in buckets:

This is the closest photo I could come up with- Torrey Pines in the fog... (photo credit to andrewharper.com)
This is the closest photo I could come up with- Torrey Pines in the fog… (photo credit to andrewharper.com)

Our hike today started with clear skies, but by mid-morning, the hurricane bands started coming up from the south. And fast. By the time we started the return hike, the skies opened up and we enjoyed (!?!) the rest of the walk along the water’s edge and the base of the cliffs in the pouring rain. At least we had the warm rain and beach to walk along!

Very VERY wet hikers make it to the car...
Very VERY wet hikers make it to the car…

By the time we made it back to the car we were soaked to the skin. I amazed that we managed to keep the cameras and phones dry. The hair dryers and styling products were a waste of time this morning. We looked (and felt) like we had jumped in a pool.

We finished the evening at a favorite fish restaurant, Bay Park Fish Company, where we talked two of the most unlikely of diners to try ahi poke- they didn’t die nor did they hate it! I had to try something new to eat since hiking in a total downpour wasn’t good enough for my New Thing o’ the Day. Kung Pao Calamari- yum. It is on the appetizer list, but with a side of rice, voilà- dinner.

Here you go, Scott, proof of your wife trying the ahi poke:

Kung Pao Calamari with a side of rice- delish.
Kung Pao Calamari with a side of rice- delish.

New Hike to the Marble Rocks

While hiking with The Husband  Torrey Pines State Reserve I came across an area with little rounded rocks on the upper trail head of the beach walk. I hadn’t seen anything like them before- but he had. On a mountain biking trail not too far from Torrey Pines he filled me in that there were the same type of rocks, bigger, and practically everywhere. The Boy and I are big fans of rocks and minerals, and I can’t believe that he passed up today’s opportunity to make this short walk to see little bitty round rocks EVERYWHERE (yes I can, what teen wants to hang out with their parents?).

LIttle bitty round rocks found on a nature hike!
LIttle bitty round rocks found on a nature hike!

Lucky me, we had errands to run today in the same area near this rocky treat! After we dropped off The In-Laws at their golf venue… that big ol’ shindig happening at the Torrey Pines Golf Course, we drove over to the Ocean Air Recreation Center to park and walk a few of the short trails. There was no hunting necessary, these little boogers were all over the place! Happy me, happy day!