The original saffron patch after being divided this spring has three plants big enough to flower! A bumblebee was visiting one!I didn’t divide this patch very well oops. In the front yard, I had planted three patches the last two seasons. So far only one is up and no visible flowers. someone else here near Norman had several at this stage. I think the smaller bulbs don’t flower the first season and need to grow more. Judy reports one flower from her bulbs planted in the spring after the division! Hers are in a pot.
Briar judges Mom. The only Escobaria we’ve seen so far!This rock has really neat concentric layered circles!Briar practices standing on new surfaces. She’s getting better about benches. A lovely Echinocereus! Grama grass in the background, and a nice pile of small sandstones nearby. The fence in the background is the edge of the state park. Another fine Echinocereus with grama grass. Cholla cactus and juniper in the background. This rock has a sharply defined layer. A soil crust lichen on sand!Maybe some sort of Liatris plant stalk?Big sandstone jutting up in the trail. Yucca, lichen on sandstone, and sideoats grama grass. Closeup of pointy yucca tips. Waiting for botany time Mom. Briar was concerned. A prairie lizard!!! Same genus as the spiny lizard at home. Clove currant thinking about blooming. Trail marker at top of hill. Nice sandstone layers here. Mom caught up with us. Briar was happy. Now that all humans in one place, Briar can rest in the bench shade.
Invasive storks bill geranium in the mowed areas near camp and road. Clove currant is thinking about blooming!Don’t know what this seedhead is but it has cool divisions inside like a pinwheel!Last year’s dried up silver leaf nightshade. Saltbush (Atriplex sp) leavesThis trail has one bench before it merges with the Vista trail. There is a second bench on the Vista Trail towards the park office, overlooking the RV camp area. The trees shading it are hackberries. Briar thought the flat rock was boring but Mom and I saw lots of good stuff here.
We saw several fast ants on the big flat rock.
Here are two smaller rocks together. Look carefully in the crack for a small green bit. Zoomed in- do you see the green nub yet?Here it is, an adorable baby cactus seedling!Most of the cacti here seem to be the ribbed Echinocereus. I’m not sure about the baby since I don’t know if the seedlings should be ribbed yet or not. we saw one Escobaria type earlier on the trail.
We hopped across the border this afternoon to Colorado (and time traveled to Mountain Time). Here is the sign for Picture Canyon under a cloud-speckled blue sky!This sign points the way to more prairie! (Or, you know, the trail to the petroglyphs. )Great rocks and lichens along the trail. Just a hint of green spring on this tiny tough little bluestem!This rock was very rectangular. The chollas here were less sad than the Black Mesa ones. Maybe because this is an arroyo?The sandstone cliffs were very tall but also a nice cooler microclimate!A series of vertical line petroglyphs higher up in an eroded hollow area. There is another line through them so they almost look like fish ribs. A human figure petroglyph!The horse petroglyph was my favorite!The horse petroglyph with Briar for scale. Mom looked at holes in the rocks but didn’t see anyone home. I did hear and see some kestrels flying nearby and heard a Canyon Wren singing though!These petroglyphs seem to show a horse on the left and two tipis (?). Without more signs it was hard for me to tell what were petroglyphs vs vandalism but most vandalism seemed to be names and initials. This disk-shaped erosion in the sandstone was neat. The cooler microclimate with shade and a different rock nearby resulted in some foliose lichens!We found a flower blooming that wasn’t skunk bush sumac! Mom identified this as Ribes leptanthum, trumpet gooseberry. It has lovely flowers and very friendly spines too. We didn’t see many insects out on either species though, presumably because it’s such a drought. Little sprinkles to the west (if it even hit the ground) on our way back to camp!A multipurpose state line sign on a county road. On the way back we stopped to see the replica of a brontosaurus femur that the park brochures note is on private property by the roadside. It is for commemoration of many dinosaur fossils found on the private property.
Maybe a dozen or more Mule Deer heading across the camp road and up the hill! Here are two young or female. One male was with them near the end of the herd!Pausing on the hillside. Two deer pausing in the rocks. We are still here at Black Mesa State Park.
Briar posed for us as we began our slow walk up the trail. Here we go! Briar was on her leash and thought we were slow. Especially when I kept stopping to take photos of grama grass. Mom also does botany photography along the trail!I’ll look up this grasshopper when we get home.I like how this photo has a cholla in front of a juniper with grama grass framing it. These were among the dominant plants along the trail. Framed by the cholla cacti and distant junipers is a stretch of green tinted soil exposed by erosion! you can also see some of the abundant yuccas. This young yucca by the trail already has a few strings peeling off the leaves. One of the volcanic rocks that gives Black Mesa its name was down at our level. The trail climbs the Mesa for a round trip of 8.2 miles, but between botany and my arthritis we did a round trip of 1.6 miles in 1 hr and 50 min. This dried leaf was very firm and had lovely reticulated veins. Close up of cholla cactus branches and spines, with Black Mesa in the background. Briar is the picture of patience once again. The packed earth trail is really broad and smooth!
We are now at Black Mesa State Park. Mom and briar look for a bird!We went to the start of the Petrified Forest trail. We will explore more in a few days. Here’s a petrified log! Briar also smelled it. I love all the grama grass here!This big flat rock had an unexplained old bolt and washer in it. Here’s the lichen on the same big flat rock!There’s a Say’s Phoebe in here. we also saw a bunch of American Goldfinches and House Finches. There was a Canyon Towhee by the park office! We have also been hearing flickers and robins.