Las Trampas loop - April 2021

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In early April five of us drove to Las Trampas Regional Wilderness, near Danville, Ca. This one of the East Bay Regional Park District's largest parks, with 5,342 acres & 40 miles of walking trails. 

We left the Bollinger Canyon Staging area and walked to Vail Peak via the Chamise and Las Trampas Ridge Trials. It was non-stop steep for an hour or so, a challenge at times, but there were also cooling breezes, and we saw a lot of wildflowers.    

note - you can enlarge any part of a picture by left-clicking in and then out again. 

start of the walk Surjit & Raj behind Karen & Rich ahead Big Leaf Maple
  oaks steep uphill w/ hazy background Calaveras Ridge  
Mt. Diablo to the east buds emerge like slow-cooked  popcorn purple Fritillary Milk Maids
  Hillside Woodland Star

Madrone

Rich  
Silver Bush Lupine Indian Warrior Ca. sagebrush black sage
  again Fremont's Star Lilly    
more uphill Buckbrush, or Blue Ceanothus, native California Lilac this native plant has a nice aroma and was covered with humming bees heading to Vail Peak at 1,787 ft.
  minimalism at the turn-around spot Danville terrain  Surjit & Karen, returning from Vail Peak  

We returned about 0.5 miles to a trail junction and all of us had lunch in a shady spot, with a good view of Rocky Ridge, across Bollinger Creek Canyon. Sitting at a crossroads meant that we became the de facto greeting committee for walkers who coming & going, many with dogs.   

On the return route we dropped down to the Bollinger Creek Loop Trail.  It was steep at first but then the grade became gradual, turning into an easy stroll to the parking area. 

No group photo was taken today, so the following two images will have to suffice.

Karen, Raj, Rich, & Surjit      six cargo planes passed by in succession 
  Rich and Karen, almost back   a beautiful Spring day, w/ temps in the 70s

We were out walking for four hours, almost going 5 miles, and there was at least 1,000 ft. of elevation gain.   

I found it re-assuring to hear the hum of huge numbers of bees, whenever we passed Lupine, Black Sage, Ceonothus, and other blooming plants along Calaveras Ridge, especially on the Las Trampas Ridge Trail.  It dawns on you that on every hillside you can see are the same flowering bushes, each with attendant bees. 

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Epilogue - here are some plant names in Latin names, and additional info, provided by Rich: 

Purple Fritillary - Fritillaria affinus

Milk Maids - Cardamine californica

Hillside Woodland Star - Lithophragme heterophyllum

Silver Bush Lupine - Lupinus albifrons

Indian Warrior - Pedicularis densiflora - descried as a 'root parasite' on Heath family trees like Manzanita & Madrone. 

California Sage Brush - Artemisia californica

Black Sage - Salvia mellifera

Fremont Star Lilly - Toxicoscordion fremontii - or 'death camus', which potentially contains lethal amounts of alkaloids. 

Blue Ceanothus - Ceonohus thyriflorus

Big Leak Maple - Acer macrophyllum  

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