Christmas Colors at Upper Purgatory Creek Trail 12/19/09
The warmer and drier weather is going to be hit or miss for the next few months. When it’s as good as it was today be sure to get out and enjoy it. When myself and friends arrived at the trail head of Upper Purgatory at the end of Franklin Street the sky was suggesting a change in weather. A couple cars preceded us and, from the tracks, I’d suspect mountain bikers enjoying the challenge.
It wasn’t just the trail, only slightly muddy after 1/2-inch of rainfall two days prior, but the distractions on the trail that kept it challenging. The colors of Christmas were everywhere as we saw Spanish oaks bursting worth with vivid reds and yellows. The moss growing around the bowl in the trunk of a live oak and the cactus hanging from the upper branches added a green not visible when the trees are leafed-out. The recent rains and winds dislodged many of the small leaves from all but the ashe junipers and the recalcitrant Spanish oaks.
Chickadees, titmouses, cardinals and wrens were out in abundance. At a particularly attractive possumhaw loaded with berries, a mockingbird stood guard over a winter stock of food. One lone red admiral butterfly, was seen flying through the meadow near Hernandez Elementary school.
The trail is still closed to Prospect Park as construction continues on the Wonderworld Extension. Eventually a one-way 4.7 mile trail over and below 75-foot bluffs will inspire and challenge hikers and mountain bikers. So, be sure to get out enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. Even in the drier (or wetter) winter weather, there are many jewels on the trails in San Marcos to enjoy in the natural areas.- Lance