Ted Caragozian and I got in some good botanizing and good hiking on this trip, and got to check out the Coyote Creek Second and Third Crossing area, as well as Boulder Alley.

The flowers were pretty much the same as on the 11/20/22 trip ten days earlier, with 49 species in bloom, although they weren't exactly the same as the species in bloom on 11/20/22.  We didn't see 14 species that were in bloom on 11/20/22, but instead saw 12 new species in bloom.  The list of species in bloom is given at the end of this email.

I posted 68 obs of 43 species, mostly monsoonal plants:


On the drive to the Horse Camp, there were still good fields of Pectis and Abronia along both Borrego Springs Road and the Horse Camp Road.

Ted and I mostly hiked to Second Crossing, averaging 2.5 mph.

I was surprised at the appearance of Second Crossing.  Second Crossing just downstream of Coyote Canyon Road always had some happy mule fat plants, which often were in bloom, such as this one:


But that plant now appears to be dead, with no other mule fat plants I could see:


The creek appears to have had significant flow which took out a lot of the vegetation in the creek bed itself.  Note the bent-over grass stems and mostly cleared-channel in these posts:


When we next encountered the creek just before Third Crossing, there was another recently-dead mule fat there:


The Coyote Creek channel switched to this area a few years ago or so; perhaps that extra water prolonged over a longer time interval killed this shrub.

We'd been looking for catclaw acacia seedlings, to try to find cotyledons and compare with Ironwood and Palo Verde seedlings, but Senegalia is strikingly-not common along our route.  Just beyond Third Crossing Ted spotted two young plants that were quite different from Ironwood and Palo Verde seedlings:


See this discussion and links here:


I was hoping that the north-facing slopes of Boulder Alley would be a treasure-trove of fun species, but they weren't as good as the north-facing slopes of the hills south of Second Crossing that we explored on 11/20/22.  But they were still had some decent plants such as Perityle:


and a scattering of young annuals and some happy shrubs such as this Trixis:


Boulder Alley has reverted to well, boulder alley, with two sections where only very serious 4 wd vehicles with high clearance and metal places under the body need apply.

As we hiked up Boulder Alley, a group of three jeeps passed us going up, and then again going down.  As they were going down, we could hear the sound of the Jeeps repeatedly bottoming out on the boulders as they were creeping down.  I asked one woman passenger if she was having fun, and she said "Definitely Not!".  (:-)

We saw that they had turned around before reaching the summit of Boulder Alley, apparently when they decided they had had enough of the rough road.  They must not have known how different the road was in Collins Valley.

We got to the summit of Boulder Alley at 2:45 p.m.  While I took a 15 minute break to eat, Ted continued into Collins Valley a bit, and found yellowhead, Trichoptilium in bloom.  This was a good find, since the only other iNat observation of this species in Collins Valley was a nearby one by Don Rideout.

We mostly hiked back to the car, and got back there as daylight was fading away.

List of species in bloom on this trip:

#Pls in bloom   Name

99    Abronia villosa var. villosa
99    Achyronychia cooperi
99    Allionia incarnata var. incarnata
99    Amaranthus fimbriatus
99    Chamaesyce polycarpa
99    Chamaesyce setiloba
99    Cryptantha angustifolia
99    Datura discolor
99    Ditaxis lanceolata
99    Palafoxia arida var. arida
99    Pectis papposa var. papposa

50    Cynodon dactylon

30    Psorothamnus emoryi

20    Chenopodium murale
20    Chylismia claviformis ssp. peirsonii
20    Hilaria rigida
20    Leptochloa fusca ssp. uninervia
20    Perityle emoryi

10    Encelia farinosa
10    Erigeron canadensis

6 Trichoptilium incisum

5    Bebbia juncea var. aspera
5    Cyperus odoratus
5    Datura wrightii
5    Euphorbia eriantha
5    Fagonia laevis
5    Hyptis emoryi
5    Justicia californica
5    Lepidium lasiocarpum ssp. lasiocarpum
5    Petalonyx thurberi ssp. thurberi
5    Stephanomeria pauciflora
5    Tiquilia palmeri

3    Dithyrea californica
3    Hibiscus denudatus
3    Mirabilis laevis var. retrorsa

2    Baccharis salicifolia ssp. salicifolia
2    Croton californicus
2    Krameria bicolor
2    Larrea tridentata
2    Loeseliastrum schottii
2    Physalis crassifolia

1    Adenophyllum porophylloides
1    Bahiopsis parishii
1    Boerhavia triquetra var. intermedia
1    Eriogonum fasciculatum var. polifolium
1    Eriogonum inflatum
1    Eulobus californicus
1    Mammillaria dioica
1    Psorothamnus spinosus

It is always hard to tell whether the following two species were in bloom, but we saw this many plants with an inflorescence:

99    Aristida adscensionis
99    Bouteloua aristidoides var. aristidoides

tom chester