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Come Spring flower peeping on a Sierra hike

By: Clarice Henry + Save to a List

This story is presented by Oboz.

After the wettest recorded winter in the Sierra, the sun has finally started appearing again, signaling spring. The last month has consisted of rain, snow, and sleet on repeat. Today though, it is finally a sunny day in early April, and it is my weekend! Over the past month, the two have rarely lined up. If I am off work, it’s snowing. If I am working, the sun comes out. I am going to take full advantage of this opportunity.

Two large dogs are sitting on a road surrounded by tall grasses. They are both wearing harnesses. One is white with black spots and the other is mostly brown with white feet, tail, and face.

Living in Yosemite National Park means there are constantly beautiful views. However, spring is one of my favorite seasons in these wondrous mountains. Animals start coming out, birds are singing, the waterfalls are cascading, and the flowers are blooming. The outside world comes alive with the sunshine, putting winter behind us.

While I work for an outdoor public agency, most of my days, I am behind a desk on a computer for 9 hours a day. I spend the majority of my time in one of the world’s most beautiful places, indoors. However, my work is essential to support the staff who are physically working to protect the park's land, culture, history, and wildlife. 

So, on my days off, I like to be outside. Going outside can mean a lot of different things. It can be taking my dogs for a walk, hiking, heading out on a backpacking trip, hanging out by a crystal clear lake, flowing river, or gushing waterfall, or just sitting outside to soak in some vitamin D.

A woman with shoulder-length curly hair is sitting on wood outdoor steps pulling on hiking boots.
Loving my Oboz Katabatic Low hiking boots!

Today, my family and I are going to the nearby Sierra National Forest for some flower peeping, to exercise the dogs, and see if we can spot any friendly “neighbors.” I slip on a fleece for the cooler spring weather, grab the dog leashes, and lace up my Oboz Katabatic Low Waterproof hiking boots. These hiking shoes are perfect for a spring walk because they're lightweight and comfy and keep my feet dry in case I miss a rock when crossing a seasonal stream on the trail.

I take pride in working for an agency that protects wild spaces. My daily values don’t come from my profession but drove me toward this career path in nature conservation. I am a lover of the outdoors and Mama Earth through and through. These values are something that I also look for when making purchases, whether small or big. I look for companies that produce sustainable products, use recycled materials, and make an effort to be environmentally conscious and responsible.

A person is holding their legs up in the air with the right crossed over the left. They're wearing pastel low hiking boots with green crew socks with a flower detail. There are grasses and yellow flowers behind them.

Oboz's values align with my own. They focus on three Cs - communities, climate, and circularity. I believe in empowering those around me, leaving places better than I found them and finding ways to reduce my water and reuse what I can. This year, Oboz was verified as a B Corp, “meet[ing] stringent standards for positive social and environmental impact.” 

Plus, for every pair of footwear purchased, they plant a tree through their One More Tree program, which “provide[s] families with food sources, livestock feed, products to sell.” Oboz practices what they preach, which makes me happy to support them.

A person is walking on a gravel path through a forest. Trees, grasses, and wildflowers line the side of the trail. They're wearing a hat, light jacket, skort, and hiking boots. Binoculars hang around their neck.

We drive along the rushing Merced River, filled to the brim with runoff water and snow melt. The canyon walls are covered with flowers of varying colors. I can see patches of yellow, purple, blue, white, pink, and orange from the car. We park and make sure we have our essentials (including a flower guidebook for the area) before heading down the trail.

Three images of small purple, magenta, and yellow wildflowers.

It’s sunny, but the high river canyon walls block the sun in spots. We find a swath of common fiddleheads within steps of the car. Further down is a gang of California Poppies intermingling with Sierra Butterweed. We pass a small seasonal waterfall created by runoff from the mountains above.

There is a small stream along the trail where we find our seasonal “neighbors,” also known as the Sierra Newts. They play hide and seek with us as we stop to look at them, darting from clumps of moss to the stream's edge to hide under rocks.

A person is kneeling at the side of a gravel trail to look at flowers and a stream nearby.

We find a larger waterfall that crosses and floods the trail. We tread carefully to avoid squishing one of our newt friends and keep our feet dry. No issues. Further down the trail, we find Baby Blue-Eyes, Lyall’s Lupine, Blue Dicks, and Purple Owl’s Clover. Popcorn flowers look like popcorn and we take that as a sign to turn around to head home to make some.

A close-up of a stream with wildflowers growing out of and around it. Red newts float in the water.

I appreciate spending a couple of hours outside in the sunshine with my pups and the ones I love. I am thankful for the opportunity to head outdoors often where I live and spend time exploring my backyard in the Sierra. I'll spend many more sunny spring days outdoors soon!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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