Tim and I joined the San Diego Trail Tramps on Sunday for a 7-mile loop hike at the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, an area in southern Riverside County featuring wide grassy meadows and hills, clumps of old oak trees and vernal pools.
Most of the pics in this post were taken by my friend Stephan. You can pick out my photos because they were taken with my iPhone using a new landscaping app called Pano.
The Nature Conservancy owns the reserve, which is located a few miles outside Temecula ("A" on the map).
The plateau is the remnant of a lava flow that flooded a valley 8 million years ago. Over time, the surrounding hills wore away, leaving the harder basalt rock standing 2,000 feet above the surrounding landscape.
We stopped for lunch outside an old adobe house that was built in the mid-1800s, making it the oldest structure in Riverside County. Click on any pic for a larger view.Me taking a group pic in front of the house.This is one of the larger vernal pools that fill with rain water in the winter but quickly dry out in the spring.The pools provide a rich habitat for a variety of aquatic animals, including fairy shrimp that go into hibernation during dry periods.
A 360-degree of the vernal pool taken with Pano from the circular boardwalk.The reserve offers a rare glimpse of what much of SoCal's inland area looked like 100 years ago before subdivisions, freeways and Walmarts.