Later, we drove up Highway 89 to visit one of our favorite Tahoe haunts. The area surrounding Taylor Creek features a fascinating array of forest trails, beaches and historic venues. With many spring flowers still in bloom, we idled away the afternoon. It was the perfect spot to relax and soak in the scenery.
Large fields of lupines caught my eye on our drive to Taylor Creek. Soft purple flowers on tall racemes seemed to blanket both sides of the highway. I thought the flowers would grow closer to the lake.
When we turned onto the beach access road, I expected to find lupines within easy reach of the parking lot. Instead, mountain mules ears -- past their prime in the beaming Lake Tahoe sun -- and Indian paintbrush flourished under the tall stands of Jeffery Pine.
Possibly crowded out by sage and tall grasses, I figured that this wasn't a prime lupine growing area. Debbie and I strolled along the wide path to Kiva Beach. Debbie massaged her toes in the warm Lake Tahoe sand while I snapped several pictures of the lagoon.
She was content to bask in the soothing rays in the late afternoon sun. I walked through the forest on my hunt for photographic subjects.
After a respite, Debbie and I walked along the trail to the amphitheater. The cool evening air refreshed us as much as the slow pace of our stroll through the forest. We admired the majestic Jeffery Pines in quiet solitude.
I had hoped that our walk away from the lake would bring us closer to the elusive lupine wildflowers. As we came near the picnic area next to the amphitheater, I we turned off the main trail. This one would take us back to the parking lot.
Then I saw something that told me I should soon locate beautiful lupine bushes. The soil changed as we hiked. The rocky soil became more evident as the trail led us away from Taylor Creek and the lake.
Then I found a large patch of bush lupine. Set among a grove of young pine trees, the flowers enjoyed the last rays of sunlight of the day. While I last studied biology some 30 years ago, the lupines seemed to thrive under the thick layer of dead pine leaves.
I was soon on the ground taking pictures of my beloved lupine. While Debbie walked ahead, took a dozen photographs like the one below. We enjoyed a wonderful day. Lunch, a couple hikes and a chance to photograph my favorite part of South Lake Tahoe.
The best part of the day: I was able to enjoy it with my wife of 30 years.
|Calflora.org lists some 142 species within the Lupinus genus. According to Sierra Nevada Natural History, bush lupines are likely Lupinus albifrons and its many subspecies.|