By Audrey F. Baker
A treat along the trails in June and July is the eye-catching Weed’s Mariposa Lily (Calochortus weedii), which boasts up to six inflorescences projecting from axes along its tall, erect stem. A rich nectar source, the lily’s sunshine yellow blooms feature three narrow sepals that often extend beyond its three 1.25-inch petals, which are shaped like wedges with wavy borders. The distinctive reddish-brown flecking on the petals is reminiscent of local freckle-faced sun worshippers.
What seems like an unfortunate name for a stunning flowering plant endemic of chaparral (limited to Southern California) actually honors Charles Leander Weed (1824 – 1903). Esteemed for his iconic photographs of Gold Rush miners, Weed is also credited as first to photograph Yosemite Valley in 1859.
His spirit signifies good omens for your photographic successes at Mission Trails.
Our MTRP Trail Guide walks are an opportunity to learn more about natural Southern California, with its unique landscapes, habitats, local history, plant and animal life. The walks are free, interesting, fact-filled and geared to all ages and interests. Grab some sturdy shoes, a comfortable hat, a water bottle and sunscreen and hit the trail!
Morning walks are offered every Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. You’ll start from the park’s Visitor and Interpretive Center, 1 Father Junipero Serra Trail, San Carlos. The walk beginning from the Kumeyaay Lake Campground Entry Station, 2 Father Junipero Serra Trail, at the San Carlos-Santee border, gives a different perspective of the park and its diverse habitats. These walks are offered from 8:30 to 10 a.m. on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, and take in historic Old Mission Dam.
Wildlife Tracking reveals the secret lives of animals and brings insight into their survival techniques and habits. Tracking Team members assist in identifying and interpreting tracks, scat and habitats. Join us at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 4 in front of the Visitor Center for a two-hour tracking adventure.
Discovery Table: Owl Pellets invites you to stop by for this month’s hands-on science activity to dissect an owl pellet and discover what scientists learn when using this important tool to study the fascinating night-time flyers. Our Trail Guide-hosted science table awaits you in the Visitor Center lobby on Saturday, July 11 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Bird Lake Murray with MTRP Birders Jeanne Raimond and Millie Basden for summer bird sightings and the added bonus of viewing butterflies displaying their aerial antics. Binoculars and a bird book are recommended. See you at 8 a.m. on Saturday, July 18 for a two-hour exploration. We meet at the far south end of the parking lot off Kiowa Drive near Lake Murray.
Summer Twilight Walk is your opportunity to experience the nocturnal world of MTRP as dusk sets in and transitions into night. Bring jacket and flashlight for this Trail Guide-led walk through San Diego’s open spaces on Saturday, July 18, from 7:15 to 8:45 p.m. We start from the Bushy Hill parking lot, across from Kumeyaay Lake Campground Entry Station in Santee.
Star Party Sites illuminate under a crescent moon in the west and Saturn overhead. Join MTRP Resident Star Gazer George Varga as he scans the skies. The Scorpius and Sagittarius constellations present Messier objects for viewing, including Globular Clusters M4, Open Clusters M6 and M7, and the Lagoon Nebula. In Lyra, the Ring Nebula (M57) will be observable. We observe from 7:30 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, July 18 and gather at the far end of the Kumeyaay Campground Day Use Parking Lot, Santee. The event will be canceled if it is raining.
La Mesa Walk and Talk combines a scenic lakeshore experience hosted by your MTRP Trail Guide with engaging nature topics. On Tuesday, July 21, from 9 to 10:30 a.m., we’ll chat about cactuses and succulents. We meet at the boat docks at Lake Murray, 5540 Kiowa Drive.
Birding Basics, the 90-minute class conducted by Mission Trails Bird Guide Winona Sollock, teaches five simple techniques to identify birds at a glance. You’ll also pick up tips on how to use a field guide for birds. (Bringing one is optional.) Class meets on Saturday, July 25 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. inside the Visitor Center.
Family Discovery Walk connects your little ones to nature and introduces its wonder, joy and beauty as a family experience. Our interactive outing focuses on childhood enrichment and fun. We depart from inside the Visitor Center at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 26 for a 90-minute adventure in nature.
Whatever you choose, come on out and enjoy the park!
—Visit www.mtrp.org for more information and our events calendar, or call 619-668-3281. Special walks can be arranged for any club, group, business or school by contacting Ranger Chris Axtmann at 619-668-2746 or at email@example.com.