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Tuesday, April 16, 2013
THE LUPINE FIELDS OF FOLSOM LAKE
A Sunday in mid-Spring and the dogs deserved a walk. We headed to a nearby reservoir that had, only a week or so before, exhibited a deep and nasty bathtub ring.
Warm temps in the high country, however, had worked their magic on the snowfields and this day, the lake was brimming.
Parking at Beek’s (Joseph Beek being instrumental in development of the Folsom Lake Recreation Area) Bight ("bight" meaning a curve in the river or shoreline) we headed east. [Thanks for the historic and linguistic research, Dr. Sazima.]
Impressive though the azure sky’s reflection in the pool might have been, more stunning was the acre-upon-acre veldt of blooming Douglas Lupine – Lupinus latifolius. [Thanks former 4th grade student Scotty Campbell for the Audubon wildflower book you gave me at the end of the 1982 school year. I still use it and think of you, pal.]
Only a short way from the parking area, the trail finds itself splitting a field of the knee-high array.
Amidst them, almost every direction was awash in purple – although the Audubon folks call ‘em “blue.”
So dense is their coverage that it is impossible to photograph a single stalk.
The dogs enjoy this with Edward, the lab mix romping through them like a dolphin breaching the ocean’s surface over and over. I can’t get a picture of him doing this, but we did settle him down for a group shot.
Jax the Dog, an aging Aussie and more conservative hiker, poses.
But that whole “sea” analogy begins to take hold. Here, a wave of Lupine seems to break upon the shore and race up the embankment.
Around the bend, they encircle a granite knob turning it into a tiny island.
Next comes a Lupine lagoon.
Then there’s the remains of a miner’s flume, once used to transport water from an untamed American River to a camp or site where its power was harnessed to separate gold from sand or sourdoughs from caked filth. Now the dissolving hull of that conveyance looks like a ship’s prow carrying eager immigrant, perhaps seas-weary Lupine to the waiting masses on the shore.
Further on, a scene contrasts permanence with delicacy.
I wade into the middle of a stand of these things to picture them from the top and imagine, for a moment, that I am looking down upon a thick forest of purple conifers…
…while a pair of Canadian geese eye my actions and perhaps wish I’d just stick to the trail.
Returning after about two-and-a-half miles of trail, I look over my shoulder and snap a parting shot knowing that in about a week and a half, this will all be gone.
Today’s Route: I-80 to Roseville, CA; exit Douglas Blvd. East – but it feels south – on Douglas to Granite Bay entrance of Folsom Lake State Park. Fee. Continue east – now feeling east – through some nice oak woodlands to Beek’s Bight. Give bicyclists the right-of-way.
Church of the Open Road Press