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Climb Laguna, Cuyamaca, Palomar for best wildflowers

Interstate 8 in east El Cajon for the toxic oleander

Springtime lupine, Mt. Laguna
Springtime lupine, Mt. Laguna

Wildflowers of San Diego County’s highest mountains are in full bloom this week. Take a walk along any trail above 4500 feet in the Laguna, Cuyamaca, or Palomar Mountains and enjoy a palette of colors ranging from crimson red to indigo blue. Among the most common varieties are lupine (blue, occasionally yellow), wallflower (yellow), paintbrush (red), scarlet bugler (red), beard tongue (bluepurple), checker (lavender), woolly blue curls (violet), forget-me-not (white), wild hyacinth (purple), and yarrow (yellow and white).

Mule Deer by the dozens continue to roam through the 25,000- acre Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, where the smoldering landscape of October 2003 has given way to millions if not billions of tender, green shoots of vegetation amid the blackened tree trunks. Take an early-morning drive down Highway 79 through the park, and you’ll likely spot deer on or near the road. Several of Cuyamaca’s trails remain closed, so be sure to take note of any closure maps and information posted at the park’s many trailheads along Highway 79.

Agaves, or century plants (Agave americana), have been sending up their asparagus-like flower stalks all over the San Diego area lately. In warm weather, the tips can rise as much as a foot a day. During summer big clusters of yellow and green flowers should appear on the tops of the stalks, some up to 30 feet tall. After the blooming cycle ends, the spine-tipped, fleshy daggers at the base of the stalk die (after a life of 10 or 20 years, not a century) and the stalk dries up, but suckers usually remain to continue a new cycle of growth, flowering, seed production, and death. The smaller desert agaves (Agave deserti), which are native to the western edge of the Anza-Borrego Desert, are now finishing their blooming cycle.

Oleander bushes, now beginning to bloom in gardens and along roadsides in the interior valleys and desert, will continue putting on a good show through the summer. Good displays of white, pink, and red varieties can be seen along the medians of Interstate 8 in east El Cajon and along Interstates 5 and 15 in parts of North County. Oleander’s toxic characteristics are well-known: all parts of it are poisonous if ingested.

Full Moon Tuesday, the 25th (exact at 4:14 a.m. PDT morning of the 26th), with a barely total eclipse of the Moon for the Pacific Ocean and its adjacent lands.

At least some of the eclipse will be visible from western North America just before and/or during dawn Wednesday morning the 26th.

This full Moon is a "supermoon," meaning the Moon is near perigee and very slightly closer than average. In fact this is the largest supermoon of 2021 (by a tiny trace).

Spot Vega, the brightest star in the east, pale blue-white. Look upper left of it by 14° (about a fist and a half at arm's length) for orange Eltanin, the 2nd-magnitude nose of Draco the Dragon.

The above comes from the Outdoors listings in the Reader compiled by Jerry Schad, author of Afoot & Afield in San Diego County. Schad died in 2011. Planet information from SkyandTelescope.org.

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Springtime lupine, Mt. Laguna
Springtime lupine, Mt. Laguna

Wildflowers of San Diego County’s highest mountains are in full bloom this week. Take a walk along any trail above 4500 feet in the Laguna, Cuyamaca, or Palomar Mountains and enjoy a palette of colors ranging from crimson red to indigo blue. Among the most common varieties are lupine (blue, occasionally yellow), wallflower (yellow), paintbrush (red), scarlet bugler (red), beard tongue (bluepurple), checker (lavender), woolly blue curls (violet), forget-me-not (white), wild hyacinth (purple), and yarrow (yellow and white).

Mule Deer by the dozens continue to roam through the 25,000- acre Cuyamaca Rancho State Park, where the smoldering landscape of October 2003 has given way to millions if not billions of tender, green shoots of vegetation amid the blackened tree trunks. Take an early-morning drive down Highway 79 through the park, and you’ll likely spot deer on or near the road. Several of Cuyamaca’s trails remain closed, so be sure to take note of any closure maps and information posted at the park’s many trailheads along Highway 79.

Agaves, or century plants (Agave americana), have been sending up their asparagus-like flower stalks all over the San Diego area lately. In warm weather, the tips can rise as much as a foot a day. During summer big clusters of yellow and green flowers should appear on the tops of the stalks, some up to 30 feet tall. After the blooming cycle ends, the spine-tipped, fleshy daggers at the base of the stalk die (after a life of 10 or 20 years, not a century) and the stalk dries up, but suckers usually remain to continue a new cycle of growth, flowering, seed production, and death. The smaller desert agaves (Agave deserti), which are native to the western edge of the Anza-Borrego Desert, are now finishing their blooming cycle.

Oleander bushes, now beginning to bloom in gardens and along roadsides in the interior valleys and desert, will continue putting on a good show through the summer. Good displays of white, pink, and red varieties can be seen along the medians of Interstate 8 in east El Cajon and along Interstates 5 and 15 in parts of North County. Oleander’s toxic characteristics are well-known: all parts of it are poisonous if ingested.

Full Moon Tuesday, the 25th (exact at 4:14 a.m. PDT morning of the 26th), with a barely total eclipse of the Moon for the Pacific Ocean and its adjacent lands.

At least some of the eclipse will be visible from western North America just before and/or during dawn Wednesday morning the 26th.

This full Moon is a "supermoon," meaning the Moon is near perigee and very slightly closer than average. In fact this is the largest supermoon of 2021 (by a tiny trace).

Spot Vega, the brightest star in the east, pale blue-white. Look upper left of it by 14° (about a fist and a half at arm's length) for orange Eltanin, the 2nd-magnitude nose of Draco the Dragon.

The above comes from the Outdoors listings in the Reader compiled by Jerry Schad, author of Afoot & Afield in San Diego County. Schad died in 2011. Planet information from SkyandTelescope.org.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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