Mission Trails – Trail Guide

Encountering nature at Mission Trails Regional Park

By Audrey F. Baker, Trail Guide For ancient Greeks, the word “psyche” had two meanings — butterfly and soul. The striking beauty and fragility of these fleeting creatures leaves an extraordinary impression. Lorquin’s Admiral (Limenitis lorquini), found along the willow-lined waters of Mission Trails Regional Park, is a true marvel. Its name honors French Entomologist […]

Mission Trails Regional Park is the bee’s knees

By Audrey F. Baker The 1920s catchphrase, “it’s the bee’s knees,” expressing the height of excellence, sums up a day that includes time spent under the umbrella of nature at Mission Trails Park. Honey bees pack and carry the richest pollen in tiny baskets located at the mid-segment of their legs. Your emersion into nature […]

Spectacular blooms at Mission Trails Regional Park

By Audrey F. Baker For a show-stopping spring bloom, check out Holly-leaf Cherry (Prunus ilicifolia). Towering to 30 feet high and wide, its profuse blooms can all but mask its winter holiday-shaped serrated leaves. Look for it in moist areas of our chaparral, amid north-facing slopes. The plant is a gathering place for wildlife. Insects (including […]

April action at Mission Trails Regional Park

By Audrey F. Baker Etymologists, those who study word origins, tell us April derives from of the Latin word aperire, meaning “to open,” designating it as the month when flowers and trees bud. In Southern California, our native plant calendar hosts year-round blooms. Each month brings a new succession of species coming into full glory.

Take in the fullness of life at Mission Trails Regional Park

By Audrey F. Baker In speaking of birds, Sir David Attenborough, who has been described as “the face and voice of natural history documentaries,” once asked, “What wild creature is more assessable to our eyes and ears…?” To that I add, “and soul.” While we humans communicate principally in words, our winged brethren’s song equally […]

New year renewal at Mission Trails Regional Park

By Audrey F. Baker January in Mission Trails Regional Park reflects the sense of regeneration we feel at the beginning of a new year. Our mountains are showing off their “purple majesty” under the long clustered blooms of Ramona Lilac (Ceanothus tomentosus). Its serrated, oval-shaped, dark green leaves and reddish wood now hosts subtle purple […]

Enjoy nature’s holiday treats at Mission Trails Regional Park

By Audrey F. Baker, Trail Guide In San Diego, you’ll likely see Santa in board shorts, leaning against a bright red surfboard. His message reminds us that ‘tis the season for a holiday in nature! Your visit to Mission Trails Regional Park is also an opportunity to enjoy Mother Nature’s holiday offerings –– especially her […]

A stately bird at Mission Trails Regional Park

By Audrey F. Baker, Trail Guide

With its distinctive, forward-positioned head plume, dramatic facial markings and multiple body colorations, spotting our state bird, the California Quail (Callipepla californica) in its natural setting is always a visual treat. Its small head, fast-moving legs and that quirky vocalization, “Chi-ca-go, Chi-ca-go,” just add to its charm.