The boulders scattered over Mt. Kuchumaa are ever-fascinating. Some balance in improbable positions. Others are rooted in the crumbly soil as if placed by the most ancient of Zen-master gardeners. Throughout these rock gardens weave freshets of ceanothus—the “mountain lilac” that cloaks the mountain in purple blooms each spring– punctuated by the tall, white-spike blooms of Our Lord’s Candle.
Above it all, you’ll see the flitting forms of lazuli buntings, the tiny, colorful melodic birds that watch us from the rocks as we hike by, or the dark wing-commas of high-soaring ravens and hawks against an intense blue sky.
The mountains and meadows you hike around Rancho La Puerta are home to these 100-million-year-old rocks which have been shaped by the forces of wind and water as they’ve become exposed above-ground. The spherical rounding you will see (many boulders look like immense eggs) as well some lacy-thin carving, are usually the result of wind-borne sand knocking off the “high spots” (other grains) imbedded in the granite. Picture a microscopic, endlessly patient, series of blows from tiny, tiny chisels.
Please visit the San Diego Natural History Museum online for more information on the region’s geology and natural history.