Today was the last meeting of the Wilderness Workshop. It didn't start very auspiciously. Chatting vociferously, my workshop buddy and I missed the turnoff to Santiago Canyon Road and got to the meeting place at Augustine Station quite late, but luckily, the group was still there, minus the workshop leader, who had gone to be with her daughter, who was giving birth to her grandchild today. But it turned out to be a wonderful walk up the long canyon road, where we saw many new plants, such as farewell to spring, a small but lovely magenta flower, present in great numbers in this place, and fuschia flowering gooseberry, an attractive plant with little rosehip type "berries" hanging down underneath where the flower had been. But the most amazing thing after the long exhausting walk was Dripping Springs, a natural grotto like those you would imagine in Hawaii, where moss covered everything and ferns covered the rocks, along with a native orchid with a small relatively unflashy orange bloom, but quite lovely, once I finally spotted it.
Bob, the docent who knows about almost everything, told me that this part of the country has 47% of the world's diversity in plants and animals, which seems odd, given how dry it is, but after going out on a few walks with seemingly unending varieties of plant, insect, rocks, etc., I can begin to believe it.