Posts Tagged ‘Caltha’

Weather Woes at Hemlock Lake

Our intrepid group smiling in spite of the rain and snow.

Bunchberry (Cornus unalaschkensis) just getting started. Last year’s leaves remain flattened on the groud, while the showy flower bracts are just developing atop the new year’s growth.

In my last post, I was lamenting about the three weeks of dry weather in May causing the lower elevations to dry out rapidly. So you’d think I’d have been thrilled to finally have some rainy weather. Well, I was, but unfortunately the rainiest day turned out to be Saturday, June 10, the day I was leading a hike to Hemlock Lake in the North Umpqua area for the Native Plant Society of Oregon Annual Meeting. I was really dreading going up there, especially when the forecast included a possible chance of thunderstorms. Since I’d had to shorten my trip the previous week, I didn’t have a chance to pre-hike Hemlock Lake and figure out what we were going to do. The full Yellowjacket Loop trail is over 5 miles—we surely wouldn’t do that in the cold rain. Luckily the president of the Umpqua Chapter had gone up a few days before, so at least I knew the road was okay. Read the rest of this entry »

Two Foggy Outings

I’m a fairweather hiker and usually avoid going out on days without a good amount of sun. But sometimes it happens. On both of my last two outings, I ended up spending most of the day literally in the clouds. I don’t take anywhere near the number of photos I usually do, but I thought I’d share a few.

Bristow Prairie, 5/15/15

Molly Juillerat, Middle Fork NF district botanist, and her dog Ruby and I made the same trip John Koenig and I had done a couple of weeks before (see Bristow Prairie: 2015 Trip 2), but the low clouds gave the area a distinctly different mood. From a scientific standpoint (not from one of comfort!), it was interesting to see how much moisture the plants received without any actual rain.

fog@BP051515063

Low clouds dancing around below the road at Bristow Prairie

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Quaking Aspen Swamp is Decorated in Pink

Pretty patches of pink alpine laurel (Kalmia microphylla) could be seen all over Quaking Aspen Swamp.

Pretty patches of pink alpine laurel (Kalmia microphylla) could be seen all over Quaking Aspen Swamp.

Two long-necked pink birds nibbling on a delicacy? Actually mountain shooting stars and their best friends marsh marigolds.

Two long-necked pink birds nibbling on a delicacy? Actually mountain shooting stars and their best friends, marsh marigolds.

Mother Nature is an avid decorator, so much so that she changes her color scheme every few weeks. On Sunday (May 25) at Quaking Aspen Swamp, she was going for a pink and white theme with yellow accents. On the way down the trail were many western trilliums (Trillium ovatum), some fresh white, others aging to pink and even purple. Pink fairy slippers (Calypso bulbosa) were in their prime. White candyflower (Claytonia sibirica) was in bloom, and its larger cousin, heart-leaf miner’s lettuce (C. cordifolia), was just beginning along one of the side creeks. Last week at Elk Camp, its anthers were opening up to reveal black pollen, but here they kept with the theme and showed only pink anthers. The little red and white flowers of vine maple (Acer circinatum) fit in well. Scattered round-leaved violets (Viola orbiculata) and a lone glacier lily (Erythronium grandiflorum) added touches of yellow.

The open wetland was quite stunning. Grand sweeps of marsh marigold (Caltha leptosepala) and mountain shooting star (Dodecatheon jeffreyi) covered much of the area with their white and pink blossoms. Underneath, trying to get noticed, were large patches of Gorman’s buttercup (Ranunculus gormanii). Despite their bright yellow flowers, they are just too small and too close to the ground to get much attention under the far larger marsh marigolds and shooting stars. This is the common buttercup of wetlands in the southern half of the Western Cascades, but it was my first time seeing it this year, as the last few wetlands I’ve been to were all home to the larger and showier but less common mountain buttercup (R. populago). Interesting how almost every Cascade wetland seems to have one and only one species of buttercup. North of the mountain buttercup sites, water-plantain buttercup (R. alismifolius) seems to predominate. Read the rest of this entry »

Early Blooming at Elk Camp and Nevergo Meadow

Mountain shooting star (Dodecatheon jeffreyi and marsh marigold (Caltha leptosepala)

Mountain shooting star (Dodecatheon jeffreyi) and marsh marigold (Caltha leptosepala) put on a great show at the Elk Camp meadow. Note how similar this photo is to one I took here last year on June 10.

shooting star flowers go through a number of changes as they bloom. Buds start out upright, then bend over. The flower petals start out forward, then they flip back. This makes it easier for bees to do "buzz pollination" where they hang on the style and their buzzing shakes the pollen onto them.

Shooting star flowers go through a number of changes as they bloom. Buds start out upright, then bend over. The flower petals and sepals start out forward, then they flip back. This makes it easier for bees to do “buzz pollination” where they hang on the style, and their buzzing shakes the pollen onto them. Mountain shooting star has flower parts in 5s, long styles, and glandular pedicels.

With the mountains melting out fast, it is time to go willow hunting in earnest, so on Tuesday, May 20, I headed up to the wetlands at Elk Camp, Nevergo Meadow, and Saddleblanket Mountain. As it turns out, this is the exact date I went to Nevergo last year (see Wetland Bloom Starts with a Bang Near Elk Camp Shelter). Last year I was stopped by snow across the road just at the trailhead for Elk Camp and didn’t bother to go into the meadow, being quite satisfied with everything blooming at Nevergo Meadow a quarter mile earlier. This year, there were just a few very small patches of snow in the ditches. The plants were a little farther along but still quite beautiful and fresh. In fact, they were almost as far along as they were on June 10, last year (see Back to Elk Camp Shelter—Not Once But Twice). The skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) was especially noticeable as being ahead of last year. All three locations had beautiful shows of marsh marigold (Caltha leptosepala) at peak bloom with Mountain shooting star (Dodecatheon jeffreyi) just coming on. Along the drier edges of the meadows were lots of the gorgeous blue Oregon bluebells (Mertensia bella). At the edges where the last snow had melted there were still plenty of glacier lilies (Erythronium grandiflorum). Along the roadside were blooming Lyall’s anemone (Anemone lyallii) and round-leaved violet (Viola orbiculata). Read the rest of this entry »

Back to Elk Camp Shelter—Not Once But Twice

The meadow by the Elk Camp Shelter was awash in color, with both marsh marigolds and mountain shooting stars still in their prime.

The meadow by the Elk Camp Shelter was awash in color, with both marsh marigolds and mountain shooting stars still in their prime.

After the beautiful day I had enjoying the first flowers of the season near Elk Camp Shelter last month (see Wetland Bloom Starts with a Bang Near Elk Camp Shelter), I decided I should try to come back every few weeks and follow the whole season as it progresses. I’ve thought about doing this many times, but it is hard to squeeze in so many trips to the same place, especially when there are so many great spots to visit. But this one is so easy for me to get to, and the only time I’d seen this area before this year was at the very tail end of the season, so I have a lot of catching up to do. Read the rest of this entry »

Wetland Bloom Starts with a Bang Near Elk Camp Shelter

Marsh marigold

Marsh marigold (Clatha leptosepala) and skunk cabbage (Lysichiton americanus) put on a great show in a wetland at the corner of Roads 142 and 226.

Our Native Plant Society chapter meeting was Monday night (May 20), but according to the forecast (and for once they were right!), it was also the only dry, sunny day of the week. That left me in a quandary about where to go—or if I should try to go anywhere at all. On top of that, I had a terrible night’s sleep, so I was already pretty tired. But as I lay awake at 4 am, I got the great idea to drive out Road 18 along Fall Creek and see if I could get up to Elk Camp Shelter. If I couldn’t get there, I could always walk along the Fall Creek trail. Either way, I wouldn’t be too far from home and could get back in plenty of time to drive into Eugene for the evening meeting.

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