We very nearly bailed out of the idea of taking a hike when the steady drizzle that had fallen most of the morning became an afternoon downpour. We dilly-dallied for a while in a drugstore, happily choosing new lip colors, then decided to pick up our local friend and maybe just head to the bar instead.
When we arrived at her home, she darted out and jumped into the car saying, I've got rain ponchos! The downpour had subsided, so off we went to hike in the drizzle in St. Edwards Park in Austin. A walk never fails to clear out some mental noise and provide some perspective, and the lovely botanical flora we spotted on this trek really made it worthwhile.
I had first identified the beautiful blue flower in the first photo as a Dayflower (Commelina) species, but the leaves in my wildflower book and online did not seem to match with the ones in my photo. I recently got addicted to iNaturalist, and got an accurate ID once I uploaded it there: False dayflower (Tinantia anomala). If you haven't yet signed up for the app, I highly encourage you. It's loads of fun and a good place to learn. This Four-Nerve Daisy (Tetraneuris scaposa) ↑ was nearby in more sun - or on that day, rain.
I had recently learned about Golden Groundsel (Packera obovata) ↑ a few weeks previous when it was just beginning to flower, so it was nice to see it in peak here.
We were having a good time chatting and since my fellow hikers were not necessarily looking for plants, I was thrilled when Melinda spotted the red flowers of Cedar Sage (Salvia roemeria) ↑ at the base of a tree. Another surprise was this Scarlet Buckeye tree (Aesculus pavia)↓ just coming in to bloom.
We had taken off walking without a map or plan and were having a fine time when a gentleman and his son quickly guessed that we were unfamiliar with the area and had veered off course. He pointed out a path that would avoid crossing a creek on our way back, which we evidently navigated poorly.
It wasn't long before we saw them again. He told us we would now have to take a steep path down and then cross the creek after all. He seemed a tad disdainful of us just wandering around like that, which was annoying, but I suppose we should be grateful for his help. We took the rocky downhill steps slowly, then crossed the shallow creek without incident, but we wouldn't have known to cross the creek to get back to our vehicle, so he probably saved us from hours of walking around lost in the rain.
I really got excited when I noticed the foliage of our state flower, the Texas bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis) looking so pretty in contrast to the twigs and chartreuse moss.
Then we rounded a corner on the trail and found a mass of them in full bloom (!) and fabulously combined with grasses, juniper and Prickly Pear (Opuntia sp.). That's a classic Texas landscape.
Everything looked very peaceful, covered in tiny droplets. Though we were all covered in plenty of droplets ourselves, we were so grateful to Lauretta for getting us out on the path instead of letting the rain daunt us into missing a wonderful experience.
We later got cleaned up, tried on our new lipsticks and sampled some more vegetation, this time in a restaurant with rather precious proportions. This delicious, but minuscule rutabaga floret was to be shared "family style" along with other artful chef creations. Snark aside, we had a wonderful time reconnecting with our badass Yosemite hiking buddy, who once again pushed us out of our comfort zone and into a lovely adventure.