A patch of irises near Lake Hennessey in Napa County. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

When I think of a wildflower excursion, I think hiking . On this particular day it was via mountain bike. We stopped plenty of times along the single-track trail to ohh and ahh, take pictures and appreciate Mother Nature’s palette.

The abundance of poppies was incredible. Many were at least a foot tall, with some covering entire hillsides.

Poppies are prolific along the Valentine Vista Trail in Moore Creek Park. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

We also saw Ithuriel’s spear, hairy vetch, false bindweeds and others.

The flowers didn’t stop when we went on the trail paralleling Lake Hennessey. A  patch of irises was outstanding. One hill was awash in purple with thick clumps of lupine.

The three of us were at Moore Creek Park in St. Helena for an afternoon of riding. Becky and I had the advantage with e-bikes, while Barb did the old-fashioned thing using only human power.

Stopping along the ride to enjoy the wonders of nature. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Fortunately a fellow rider in the parking lot directed us to the trail with flowers. In some ways I wished I had been on two feet instead of two wheels, just to appreciate the scenery a bit more, to linger.

But really, no complaints. The trail was great. Nothing technical—which is very much to my liking. Out of my peripheral vision I could see a bit of a drop off that triggered my fear of heights, but not enough so to have to get off the bike.

We made a loop on this route. Going down I seem to be even slower. I really don’t like going fast. Some of the hairpin turns necessitated walking the curves, but otherwise it was a fun descent.

Being in this 1,600 acre park defies what one usually thinks of in the Napa Valley. That’s because we weren’t in the valley floor. It was a bit rugged, filled with oak trees and not grape vines. The activity was athleticism, not drinking wine.

Lupine and wild grasses cover a hillside near a trail along Lake Hennessey. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

I didn’t know the color green has so many shades. It was spectacular looking out on this mid-April afternoon to see all the trees and hills looking do vibrant and healthy after all the winter rains.

While people warned us of poison oak, you can’t always avoid it. I was the only one to leave with an itchy souvenir.

In all we rode about 16 miles; starting with the Valentine Vista Trail and ending with what was mostly a fire road around part of Lake Hennessey. The first trail is part of the much larger Bay Area Ridge Trail.

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