Anza-Borrego Adventure- Part 4: Cuyamaca Interlude

Continued from Part 3...
When I woke up I was feeling distinctly better; there would be no throwing up that day. Naturally, we wondered what had gone wrong with my stomach. Suspicion immediately centered around the fact that I had received my first COVID vaccination only the day prior to our trip. I had never heard of a reaction so severe, but the timing, combined with its only lasting through the one evening, leads me to believe that was indeed the cause.
That day we decided to drive out in pursuit of wildflowers. We headed up to two spots north of Borrego Springs, but as we cruised along the dusty roads, it was immediately apparant that our timing was a little off. The surroundings were as desolate as any in the desert. Having the whole remaining day to search, we decided to head south and west to Cuyamaca Rancho State Park instead.
The land rapidly changed from desert to greener hills, with a wide valley in between that the 78 highway traversed. We were in the middle of it when Rachel pulled over for a suspicious object on the side of the road. It proved to be an adult Red Coachwhip (Masticophis flagellum piceus), a lifer for me. This one, sadly, was dead, leaving me still in pursuit of a living individual.
We drove on and eventually found ourselves in the vicinity of Lake Cuyamaca. Yellow flowers bloomed in the nearby fields, and we pulled over by one of them. Rachel and Boaz got out to look at the flowers. I, however, was still under the weather and hungry (due to being unable to eat anything but crackers), and elected to stay in the car while they roamed the fields.
They returned after a while, having seen many butterflies and a tarantula hawk wasp that Boaz ran after but was unable to catch, and we drove on. Our surroundings were picturesque: green and hilly, with groves of pine trees silhoutted against the sky. I was reminded, in fact, of territory familiar to me in the high country of New Mexico, despite this area’s lower elevation and proximity to the desert.
We pulled off the 79 at what turned out to be Los Vaqueros Trailhead and went hiking. Various butterflies, other insects, Spiny Lizards (probably Western Fence Lizards), and some deer greeted us upon the trail. After a short distance, I began feeling tired and decided to turn back, while the other two went on. Back at the car, I waited and waited, and was just beginning to feel worried when they returned. Boaz was holding something behind his back and grinning widely. With a flourish, he held up a plastic container and whipped off the lid to reveal… a mole. The woolly little sausage-shaped creature was probably a Broad-footed Mole (Scapanus latimanus). When placed upon the grass, it ran in an exaggerated undulating manner, which looked especially comical when filmed in slow-motion. Having seen the mole safely back into the ground, we drove back to Anza-Borrego and were greeted with a spectacular sunset.

To be continued…

Anotado por ectothermist ectothermist, 08 de julio de 2021 a las 08:10 PM

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ectothermist

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Abril 29, 2021 01:57 PM PDT

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