At approximately 12:30 PM on November 15, 2003 we arrived as a class to Gold Creek Canyon. Just off the 118 freeway one can find a protected part of land that provides a habitat for many species of plants and animals. It is just minutes away from the gridlock traffic of the 405 and the 101 freeway. As we took the route toward this sanctuary, we began to see horse ranches and mountainous regions. These mountain first appeared to be in the distance.
However, after just a few minutes a dirt road came into to view. As we followed this road with my fellow carpoolers we were overwhelmed by the beauty of these mountains. The mountain vegetation was not what one might come to expect. No lush forests or fierce rivers flowing between them. Instead, it appeared to be more brown and dehydrated. In some cases the plant life appeared to be completely dead or dried.
This is a direct result of low precipitation amounts in that are.
The lack of rain fall has forced out probably all the plants which you would normally find in a forest. The plants that one can find on these mountains are unique. They have a high oil content. It is this oil which helps the plant life to survive for a long period time without water. One of the herbs I was introduced to was used for medicinal purpose was the Yerba Santa or the "blessed herb". The other was sage which I had actually never seen growing in the wild before.
The large trees such as Quercas provided a microclimate for other species of plants. It was noted that that the Querca has a very tough surface which is it's own defense mechanism against perils. The eco-system of Gold Creek Canyon...