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Mission Trails – Trail Guide

Flight of the tern at Lake Murray

Despite the dismal rainy season of 2017-18 and the corresponding dearth of food across the ecological spectrum (was there a wild flower season and I missed it?), somehow Kumeyaay Lake has survived. Actually, it has thrived. You would not think this true by looking at it now, but my regular rounds have discovered white-tailed kites, hummingbirds, nesting hawks, nest boxes with ash-throated flycatchers and house wrens. Within the lake itself, the population of tadpoles, minnows, dragon- and damselflies are seemingly unaffected by desperately low water levels.

Western sycamore’s fall color display

Posted: October 20th, 2017 | Columns, Featured, Mission Trails - Trail Guide | No Comments

By Audrey F. Baker

A festival of autumn color is underway at Mission Trails Regional Park. Flat-top buckwheat flaunts its maroon seed heads. Brilliant yellow goldenbush is captivating arsenals of late-season pollinators. Deciduous trees like Fremont cottonwood are exhibiting their colorful conversion into dormancy. Juxtaposed against backgrounds of the deep greens of coast live oak, these and other offerings make a rich visual contrast and present the spectrum of fall color.

Mission Trails’ misunderstood creepy crawlers

Posted: September 15th, 2017 | Columns, Featured, Mission Trails - Trail Guide | No Comments

By Audrey F. Baker

As October approaches, thoughts to turn to Halloween and the menagerie of nature that represents the celebration. Hoary oaks, ravens, owls, bats and more symbolize holiday fun.

Let’s face it, tarantulas have a “PR problem.” Much of the public sees them as nightmarish critters of loathsome reputation. Yes, they’re hairy and maybe scary.

Patch-nosed encounter at Mission Trails Regional Park

Posted: August 18th, 2017 | Columns, Featured, Mission Trails - Trail Guide | No Comments

By Audrey F. Baker

For many, one of Mission Trails Regional Park’s must-see sights is Snake Rock. Head north on Father Junipero Serra Trail from the Visitor Center toward Old Mission Dam.

About the time you settle into your gait, you’ll see it on the left. Wind, sun and water erosion have carved the distinctive figure of a rattlesnake, replete with heavy-body and triangular shaped head. Perhaps nature sculpted it to remind us of her mysteries and creativity. Here variety reigns, snakes included!