December 2012
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Water Colors

It has been a couple of weeks from the last time I hiked in the Box Springs Mountain Park. The last part of the year has been dry and much of the annual vegetation has turned brown for the season. Even many of the perennials have shown signs of stress as the dry summer wore on.
The weather today was cloudy and 60 percent of showers. Needless to say, even though it was not raining or even drizzling on the trail, it was moist. The ground was damp due to the rain we had received over night. On this hike I was surprised at the colors that appear when a little water is added.

As I made my way up the trail towards Cassina Springs, I noted that I could hear water running. I had not heard that for several months. Even if it is somewhat of a trickle, it was a welcome sound. At the trail point where the trail crosses the often dry creek there was running water.

I continued up the trail. As I gained elevation, I was closer to the clouds. I made my way up to the parking area and then down the road to Springs Trail. Of course I had made my way into the clouds. What was interesting was the contrast from the dray and dead vegetation and the brightly colored moss and or lichens.

Of course the fog shrouded their brilliance so I went closer for a picture. What seemed so colorless earlier in the season has taken on a certain brilliance of color among the browns and grays of the surrounding landscape.

On once what appeared to be dead vegetation, green growth and flowers seemed to eke out a show of presence. I will have to check back to see if they continue to grow through the winter or if this is some annual that will soon pass on.

The bright green moss and or lichens seemed to be in great contrast to the great brown canvas of vegetation. There were subtle green hues on the hills as grass has begun to germinate and pop into view.

Even the bush with the still dead leaves from a dry summer has popped with new green growth. I began to wonder, is this spring? Knowing that the colder months are ahead and freezing temperatures could come the early parts of next year, this must either be a display of what happens in a more temperate climate when water is added.

Then there are the grasses that show up on the trail, except that they come up in a place where they are somewhat protected from footsteps.

On the side to the trail, out of what is considered dry and dead, life seems to spring fourth. The contrast of the green was such that they new plants really stood out.

Further down the trail I came across a section of rock with greens and yellows that seemed to jump out at me. I really had not imagined all the new color that was to be showing brightly after a few light rain storms in our area.

I continued down the trail and came to the spot where I heard the trickling of water. Usually the area is full of vegetation of the poison oak variety. That has kept me wandering off the trail 25 feet to see the source of the noise. Today, I went to take a look as the poison oak as lost its leaves. I will have to stop back by when the water is flowing a little more and the vegetation has begun to show some green.

It is certain that a little water has given new and continued life to the flora and fauna in the Box Springs Mountain Park. Just add a little water and the color begins to jump out.

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