After my morning ablutions and a mostly nutritious breakfast, I pull on my forest green shirt with the tan embroidered script that says Southern California Mountains Foundation Volunteer. My ensemble is capped off with a pair of tan cargo pants that has more pockets then anyone would ever have a need for. Hiking boots on, I head out the door for the short drive over to the Baldwin Lake Ecological Reserve. Today I will be part of the volunteer crew leading wildflower tours into the amazing Pebble Plain. When we arrive at the green building on Hwy 18, we open the windows, put out the flag and the “Open” signs and wait for the arriving visitors.
Today my group consists of a young couple with twin daughters, probably 9 or 10, from Huntington Beach; a newly married couple from LA; a science teacher and her husband from Orange County; two women in their early twenties from Riverside and a retired couple from Victorville who had heard about the Pebble Plain and always meant to come up to see it.
I introduce myself, tell them a little about me and welcome them to the magical land of ‘dinkyphytes.’ After a short history of Lucky Baldwin and his son-in-law Larry Doble, we head “Onward and Upward” to experience species of plants and flowers that can only be seen in the entire world right here in Big Bear. After a brief tramp through some forest, the “Oos and Ahas begin as the trail opens into the true Pebble Plain.
What a pleasure it is for me to introduce folks to the awesome world of the San Bernardino National Forest. Every time a visitor gets down on their hands and knees to take a photo of one of these ‘belly flowers’, it is my compensation for donating my time to the Southern California Mountains Foundation. If you are ‘wowed’ by nature, come out and share it with others. Please say “Hi” when you come out, I’m the guy with all of those pockets.