Archive for the ‘Linn County’ Category
For me, the dark and damp winter is usually a time of looking back over the past year and organizing for the coming one. I update my plant lists, catalog my photos, and do some research on plants I’m learning about. I recently finished going through all my photos from 2012 (over 12,000!). Now I’m upgrading the photos in my book, replacing really old photos with newer, better ones from my current camera. I miss the excitement of spring and flowers coming up every day and the thrill of discovering new plants in the mountains. By comparison, computer work is not very exciting, but it is pleasant enough, and it is necessary if I’m going to know which photos I still need to get for the coming year.
So you can imagine my surprise and thrill this morning when I discovered a new plant at Gordon Meadows—and I never even got up out of my chair! I was trying to find a replacement photo for an old one of Anemone oregana. According to my database records, I had taken a good one at Gordon Meadows in June of 2009 (I posted a report about the trip at Aquatics at Gordon Meadows, but it was originally written as an e-mail to some other botanists before I started my website, so it is not as
long-winded thorough as my usual blog entries). I’m still using the same camera from 2008 (Panasonic Lumix FZ50—still love it!), so anything from 2009 is as good as my newest ones. Photos older than 2008 looked good at the time but pale in comparison to the higher resolution newer ones. Upon opening the folder in Bridge (sort of Adobe’s version of iPhoto), I was immediately stunned to see several lovely photos of swamp red currant (Ribes triste), one of my special target plants of the last couple of years. Read the rest of this entry »
Back in 2007, I spotted an odd looking coralroot at Gordon Meadows. It wasn’t until I got home and compared my photos to references that I realized it was the rare northern coralroot (Corallorhiza trifida). I would have taken more time to study it had I realized it wasn’t just an odd-looking spotted coralroot (C. maculata), which does vary a bit. Sometimes it is yellow rather than red, and sometimes it doesn’t have any spots. Northern coralroot is droopier and a more greenish yellow. On a number of subsequent trips, I’ve tried to relocate it unsucccessfully. There have been coralroots blooming everywhere I’ve been lately, so I thought it might be a good time to try again.
Most people who go to Tidbits Mountain head up the trail to the old lookout site, enjoy the view, and return the same way they came. It’s a wonderful hike with many wildflowers and a fabulous view. But there is more to be seen at Tidbits. My goal for my trip yesterday (July 9) was to spend some time on what I call “the Wall”—the part of the ridge to the west of the “Tidbits” that can be seen from the summit. It puts on a great show in July. The last few years I’ve only come to Tidbits late during gentian season. I also wanted to relocate an uncommon plant I’d found back in the fall of 2009 off the side trail that heads north from the intersection where a cabin once sat. Read the rest of this entry »
Last year, when Mark Turner was looking for places to photograph shrubs for his upcoming Shrubs of the Pacific Northwest book, I suggested he visit the Park Creek Basin near Three Pyramids. There are lots of interesting shrubs growing within a short distance of the roadside. Not only was he successful photographing the shrubs he was looking for, he also discovered a very rare one: Ribes triste, known as swamp red currant or wild red currant. I located the plants later in the summer (see Rare Currrant at Park Creek), but was anxious to see them in bloom. I also wanted to see the flowers of some odd little willows I’d found on that trip.
I decided to head up there on Wednesday (June 6). Sabine accompanied me. I was concerned about the timing, as I hadn’t been that far north yet this year, and there’s no telling where the snow level is in a cool spring like this. Last year, Mark saw them in perfect bloom on June 23, but in 2001 we were about a month behind “normal”. It’s been cool and damp this spring but not as extreme as last year, so I figured I might hit it right. I used to be quite good at figuring out when a particular plant might be in bloom, based on spring weather, winter snowpack, and past experience at a variety of locations. But the last few years, the nasty springs had really thrown off my phenology radar. It seems I might be back in business—my timing was perfect! Read the rest of this entry »
On Sunday (May 13), I headed out the McKenzie Highway to do some botanizing. My first stop was to the Castle Rock trail. It is still early there, but there were a number of fairy slippers in the woods and many Lomatium hallii and Sierra snakeroot (Sanicula graveolens) blooming in the open rocky areas of the summit. The pretty pink Phlox diffusa was also starting to bloom along with the lovely Viola sheltonii and Micranthes (Saxifraga) rufidula. It only took me around 3 hours to poke around my favorite spots to see how things were coming along, so I decided to continue on east past McKenzie Bridge.
Another good early spot for early flowers is along Deer Creek Road 2654, just over the border into Linn County, 7.5 miles past the ranger station. The wet springs of the last couple of years fueled some gorgeous displays of seep-loving annuals (see Superb Floral Display Above Deer Creek). While it has been wet this spring until recently and many things are just starting, the sudden change to warm, dry conditions may shorten the show of annuals this year. There were quite a few larkspurs in bloom along the road banks along with fading Lomatium hallii and saxifrages (Micranthes rufidula and M. integrifolia). Thompson’s mistmaiden (Romanzoffia thompsonii) was still blooming in a few of the many seeps. The big sweeps of rosy plectritis and blue-eyed Mary (Collinsia grandiflora) had not yet begun. Read the rest of this entry »
On Friday (September 23), Nancy Bray, Ingrid Ford and her adorable dog Bogy, and I headed up to Tidbits to see the gentians. I had planned to get up there early in the season to see the many great plants that grow on the massive rock formations, but there are just too many places to visit. But although it was actually the first day of fall, there are still a few things to see. Thank goodness for the gorgeous gentians. They are somewhat like dessert after a great meal, saving the best for last, the final sweet treat that lingers with you and tides you over until the next flower season. There are not very many species of Gentiana in the Cascades, and they are never terribly common. Tidbits is one of the few places in the Western Cascades with a good show of gentians, so it is always worth a late season trip. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been trying to get back to Coffin and Bachelor mountains for several years, and, coincidentally, I finally made it back this past Wednesday, August 3, exactly three years to the day of my last trip. These two mountains have fairly short trails and are side by side, but it is still hard for me to do both in one day (without rushing too much) unless I camp nearby to give myself more time. Otherwise, I’d head up there at least once a year. They really are jewels for flowers and butterflies. I don’t know why more people don’t know about them. They deserve the popularity of Iron Mountain and Cone Peak, but I can’t complain too much about how much quieter they are.
Many of you have Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest by Mark Turner and Phyllis Gustafson. Mark is currently working on a follow-up book on shrubs. He contacted me earlier in the year to find some locations in Oregon for Lonicera caerulea and some uncommon willows. I suggested Park Creek as a place to find some of these. Not only is it a lovely area with lots of interesting plants, but the many great spots are easily and quickly accessible from the road. This is a big plus if you are a photographer, especially one with a long list of plants to photograph in a limited amount of time. I was glad to hear he found his target species in bloom there on his visit. But even more exciting for me, he discovered and photographed a rare currant, Ribes triste, known as swamp red currant (click here for Mark’s Park Creek photos including some of the pretty flowers). I found this last year at Warfield Bog (see Unexpected Find at Warfield Creek Bog), otherwise, I probably would never have even heard of it. There are very few recorded locations on the OFP Atlas (click here for map). I just couldn’t make it up to Park Creek earlier in the season, but I still wanted to see where it was, and Mark sent me a GPS location. Read the rest of this entry »
I had planned to go on an overnight camping trip, so I could do two hikes up north, but between an iffy weather forecast and lack of energy, I decided to wimp out—sort of. Instead, I did one long day hike to Browder Ridge on July 26. At over 8 miles and 2000′ of elevation gain, it is one of the longest hikes I’m willing to do. I just don’t have enough time to stop and take photos and study plants at the kind of pace I have to do to get home at a reasonable hour. My husband, Jim, decided to join me, and we made a long day of it. We were warned by another hiker that the bugs were bad, but we never got bitten, and the weather was pleasantly cool. Read the rest of this entry »
It was a gorgeous day on Monday (September 27), and a great day to be in the mountains even if most of the flowering is over. In all the times I’d been to Iron Mountain and Cone Peak, I realized I’d never been there in late summer or early fall, so that was our destination. Like most people in western Oregon, Iron Mountain was the first place I’d heard of when asking where to go see flowers. So I went a number of times after I moved here in the early ’90s. But eventually I discovered how many other terrific botanical areas there are in the Cascades—and how much more peaceful they are without the summer crowds that seem to make the pilgrimage to Iron Mountain as though it is the only beautiful spot in the mountains. I still love to go up to Cone Peak as the snow is melting, but I’ve kind of ignored Iron Mountain for quite some time. There were many late-blooming plants listed for the area that I’d never seen there, so I was long overdue for a visit. Read the rest of this entry »