In the morning we start our Plum Valley hike about 7. I want to take our time and be done before the mid-day heat begins.
Beautiful early morning light. Sunlight and earth spin bringing the day’s warmth into the canyon.

Wildflowers along the trail.

The Plum Tree that the canyon is named after. But… it’s not a plum. It’s an inedible apricot.
Fingernail sized fruit. Maybe birds or bear eat them…?

As we get further up the canyon these wonderful rock gardens begin to appear.
“Budding” succulents. Is this in the succulent family?
The high point of Plum Canyon trail.
Sherman smiles for the camera.

More pics from the high point.
Budding Prickly Pear Cactus

Budding Cholla Cactus

Early blooms on a cholla

Looks like the Cholla family
Beavertail buds

A little succulent on a steep rock wall
Loved the colors of the “grasses” waving in the soft breeze. They were various species of foxtails… Good thing we were there bofere they dried out and were a danger to Sherman.
Barrel Cactus crown of buds and blooms
On a steep rock wall these blooms are about 1/4 inch across
Another solo succulent in the rocks
Happy hiker

A couple of steep rock walls of wild flowers and cacti

The other happy hiker
Cactus garden

Another one
And another one
A saw a cluster of Barrel Cactus and a blooming Beavertail Cactus up one of the stone gardens. Sherman watching me as I go up to investigate. Too many prickles for Sherman to navigate, so he’s hooked to my hiking poles at the trail.
“The Cluster”
A nice arrangement by The Gardener…
And the Beavertail blooms I saw from the trail
Some of the cactus have this amazing red glow in their outer spines. Love it.
Another wonderful arrangement by The Gardener
Little half inch pom-poms
Don’t know the name of these little fire bursts
A Beavertail beginning the blooming party up a rock wall near the van
The road driving back out of Plum Canyon

On the way out (of course), I stop to read he sign about the canyon.
Now where? I’ve never been up to Lake Arrowhead area, so that’s where we’ll head. This’ll take us through Idyllwild, another place I’ve not been.
I liked Idyllwild as a mountain tourist town. Checked out out the campgrounds mentioned on Yelp, but, no. Too suburban. So we head for a Forest Service campground, Fern Basin, up the mountain toward San Jacinto Mountain.
It’s closed. But, there’s a small road that leads to 3-4 sites along the edge of the main campground. Perfect. There’s one other van there when we arrive that we can barely see through the trees and rocks.
I pull up under a group of trees. Always pick the shade!
We go for a late afternoon walk.
This trail winds up to a rocky knob.

We sit on that knob for at least 30 minutes. Both looking at the distance and relaxing.
As we head down the hill a bit and round a corner — snow! It’s about 60 degrees out.
At the top of the mountain we discover a small group of cabins. No one home. Lovely places to sit and ponder the horizon.
From a tree slab bench on a rock bluff near one cabin.
We go back to the van and have dinner. It’s getting colder and windier. There’s still snow on the mountain peaks. It’s gonna be in the high 20’s tonight and windy. Gusts over 40 mph.
I wake in the night hearing the wind howling in the distance. Where we are the van’s not being buffeted. All good…