Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Vernal Pools

I got up this morning with the expectation that we were going on a long walk through the Howard Ranch Trail at Rancho Seco. The trail is part of the Cosumnes River Preserve where Bruce is a volunteer naturalist. He had heard about the beautiful display of flowers at the vernal pools. It sounded nice, but I had a fairly low expectation of being dazzled. It was a sunny day with a nice breeze so I said I might be able to walk the 7-mile trail.

From Vernal Pool

We walked around the lake and saw some wild flowers along the side of the path and then walked and walked through the fields.

From Vernal Pool

When we came to the end of the trail, we wondered where the vernal pools were. On the way back we saw an outline of Mariposa Lillies around a patch of green grass. We could see where the thin lines of flowers followed the path of the water.

From Vernal Pool

I could see there could be a real draw here for people who wanted to see tiny wild flowers growing in interesting patterns across the field. But I was more interested in the cows crossing the path and seemed to be on a mission to follow their leader. At one point we were surrounded by cows on the ridge coming towards us and cows down below. When they stop and stare and then head toward you, it can be a little intimidating, especially since we were far from our home in the middle of theirs.

From Vernal Pool

Bruce was a little disappointed because he had an expectation that after we drove all the way up to Rancho Seco, paid $10 to park, and walked 8 miles that we would have seen more. I guess if we had looked at the picture on the billboard (or the website) before we went for the walk, we would have known what to expect.

Expectations have a great influence on our satisfaction with any situation. If you like to visit Vernal Pools as the other visitors we met did, it would be a great experience. If you are expecting a brilliant display, this is not the place to go. On the way back up the trail Bruce took a photograph of a butterfly that we happened to meet. It was a nice surprise to see the butterfly pose for us.

Vernal Pool

After the long walk I was really hungry which made the free birthday hamburger and sundae at Red Robin extra delicious.

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