After record-setting rains in early 2023, the Margaret Fleming Trail in Torrey Pines Extension was awash in a wildflower super bloom from April into June. Here are photos and commentary from some of my regular trail runs down to the beach and back. Caption dates indicate when each photo was taken.
My house is next to the Extension of Torrey Pines State Reserve, and this sign is at the top of the Margaret Fleming Trail that leads down to the beach. (May 1) The top of the trail is a sea of sunflowers with an actual sea beyond. (May 1) This prickly pear has flowers of three different colors: yellow, red, and orange! (May 15) Further down the trail, chamise is in bloom by the famous pines for which the reserve is named. (May 4) The trail drops into a little valley where lavender-colored black sage competes with the bush sunflowers. (May 1) Deerweed blooms with its unusual two-toned yellow and red flowers. (May 13) Yerba santa is in bloom too. (May 13) Here is a closeup of the lavender flowers of black sage. (May 15) A dense cluster of golden yarrow bursts into bloom. (May 15) Purple nightshade blooms in the underbrush. (May 13) Wild cucumbers are on the right as the ocean beckons beyond. (May 1) Popcorn flowers, morning glories, and bush sunflowers border the stairs near the bottom of the trail. (May 1) Down on the beach, I see this by-the-wind sailor, one of many stranded on the beach this spring. This remarkable animal consists of a colony of blue polyps topped by a translucent sail to go wherever the wind might take it! (May 4) Several sailors are stranded together. (May 4) After running along the beach, I return to the bottom entrance to the extension where I continue my run home. (May 1) The two most common lizards in the reserve are the western fence lizard … (May 4) and the side-blotched lizard. When I tried to get closer to this one, it disappeared into the hole by its head! (May 1) White sage is a late bloomer. (June 1) Dodder covers buckwheat. (June 1) Yellow bush sunflowers and lavender-colored black sage are joined by red-orange monkeyflowers by the side of the trail. (May 1) The encroaching wildflowers brush against my legs as I climb up the trail. (May 4) The trail opens up a little as it passes the only pine tree that grows right next to it. (May 1) Brilliant purple phacelia blooms in a shady spot along the trail. (May 4) Chaparral honeysuckle blooms further up the trail. (June 1) California cudweed blooms later too. (June 1) Back on the ridge, I encounter the densest cluster of pink canchalagua flowers that I have ever seen! (May 27) Blooming chamise, golden yarrow, and monkeyflowers are intermixed nearby. (May 13) A cluster of monkeyflowers puts an exclamation point on the top of the trail! (May 4)