The Other Side of Big Sur

April 14, 2018 at 6:00 am (California, California Central Coast, Nature, Nature photography, Photography, Wildflowers)

Along the San Antonio River

The landscape just the other side of the Santa Lucia Range from Big Sur is a lovely mix of blue and valley oaks, cottonwood and willows, and grassy fields.

The foothills pines provide a gray-green backdrop to the new leaves of the oaks, and the foreground is often colored with the previous year’s dried-up yellow-star thistle, a noxious invasive that resists control.

The pines look as if I’ve turned that part of the image black-and-white, but this truly is the tonality.

Valley oaks tend to be bigger and grow in the valleys, while blue oaks have deeper roots and can cling better to the many rolling hillsides.

The trunk of the valley oak is checker-boarded like this, and it is most distinct on the oldest trees.

This year’s wildflower bloom is a bust, especially compared to last year’s superbloom which I missed. But there are some patches of sky lupine on the roadsides.

There were also a few mule deer out and about.

The textures and interplay of greens is always a show-stopper for me.

The oaks on this side of the mountain range rarely get the Sudden Oak Disease that is afflicting many on the coast. The thought is the pathogen needs the fog and moisture from coastal climate to thrive, and our side is drier. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a late wildflower showing, since the rains came late. I’ll keep you posted!

Photos and text copyrighted by Cindy McIntyre

Feel free to reblog or share


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1 Comment

  1. Jet Eliot said,

    A rich panorama of oaks here, Cindy, one of my favorite sights in California. And I’m glad you explained the pines and their gray color, because it does look altered, or like a fire went through. I so enjoyed the restful vista and spring joy of these photos.

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