Saturday, April 19, 2014

Red Rocks Trail

I monitor some plants over at Mathews-Winters Park so I took the opportunity to cruise the Red Rocks Trail on Friday.  Lots of low wildflowers coming out over there, and it's surprising what  a difference a few miles makes.

Geologically the two areas are very different.  Green Mountain is made up of sandstone, conglomerate and a little shale.  It's a real hodgepodge and isn't very fertile ground.  On the west side of the hogback everything is made up of weathered granite--the Fountain Formation of Red Rocks is a deposit  formed in the Pennsylvanian Period (~250 million years ago) when the granite-cored mountains were eroded.  Often on the Red Rocks Trail, you're walking on the granite itself.  Soil made up of eroded granite is much more acidic and provides soil for a wider variety of plants.  

Hiking north, the first mile or so is pretty warm and dry.  You'll see Cranesbill and Yellow Alyssum all over like a ground cover.  As you get into the drainages, though, lots more spring flowers can be spotted.

There were lots of Spring Beauties, a few pockets of Easter Daisies, and even a couple Pasqueflowers, which Ive never seen on GM.  Another plant that is really uncommon on Green Mountain is Grape Holly, which is blooming in abundance on the Red Rocks Trail.  There were only a couple of the Sand Lilies I talked about last week although they're all over Green Mountain right now.

I'll leave you with a couple Eastery flowers.  Enjoy the Spring weather!
Pasqueflower (Pulsatilla divaricarpa)

Easter Daisy (Townsendia hookeri)

No comments:

Post a Comment