Posts Tagged ‘Dicentra’

Beginning of the Blooming Season at Bearbones

We had beautiful weather and terrific views. Looking west from the old lookout site on the summit, we could see plenty of snow still on Bohemia Mountain and Fairview Peak, both around 6000′, over 1000′ above our elevation on Bearbones. The little open area in the distance in the middle of the photo is Heavenly Bluff.

On Friday, May 19, Kris Ellsbree and I attempted to get to what I call “Heavenly Bluff” to see the early flowering Siskiyou fritillary (Fritillaria glauca). We drove up Road 2127, south of Hills Creek Reservoir. Like a number of other roads in the area, this seems to have deteriorated quite a bit in the last couple of years. We also had to cross two patches of snow. I had my doubts we could make it all the way to Heavenly Bluff this early, especially this year, so I wasn’t surprised to get stopped by a very large tree fallen across the road (which had already been removed by the time I called the Middle Fork Ranger District office on Tuesday, but they said there was snow blocking the road a mile farther up the road, so we wouldn’t have made it anyway). Luckily, we were only a half mile from the Bearbones Mountain trailhead, which was my backup plan and a lovely spot in its own right. It was very early in the season on Bearbones, with a relatively small number of species in bloom, but we had a successful and enjoyable day. Here are some photographic highlights. Read the rest of this entry »

More Exploring on Road 5884

Mt. David Douglas and Fuji Mountain to the north

From part way up on the slope, there’s a good view to the north of Mt. David Douglas on the left and the gentle south side of Fuji Mountain on the right.

A small bee visiting swamp currant

A small bee visiting the equally small flowers of swamp currant (Ribes lacustre).

Last year, John Koenig, Sabine Dutoit, and I spent a great day at Lopez Lake and other interesting spots near the end of Road 5884 (see Glorious Day Near Lopez Lake), east of southeast of Oakridge. I went a short ways up the talus slope at the terminus of the road, but that only whetted my appetite to get close enough to the cliffs at the top and left sides of the slope to see what grew on them. So that was my main goal last Sunday, June 7.

It was a very warm day, so I headed to the cliff first. Rather than plowing through the large alder thicket and walking up the large boulders in the middle like I did last year, I decided to follow a small creek at the left edge, hoping to get to the north-facing cliffs along the side. No doubt this area was an old quarry, and it left a sharp cliff below the forest on that side of the slope and some flatter areas on the way up. This turned out to be a very good way to get started, as I avoided the majority of the alders. I also saw some beautiful, perfectly blooming stink currant (Ribes bracteosum) and other wetland plants. There was obviously quite a bit of moisture coming down from above, and one of the interesting things about the area was how many plants there were on this rocky slope that one would expect to see in a wetland or a forest. Many clumps of tall bluebells (Mertensia paniculata) were in bloom almost all the way up the 300′ slope. The moisture-loving swamp gooseberry (Ribes lacustre) also grew among the rocks as well as at the edges of the wetlands I visited later in the day. On the somewhat more level section about halfway up, there was a gorgeous display of false Solomon’s seal (Maianthemum racemosum) and another “woodland” plant, red baneberry (Actaea rubra). This also seemed like a strange place to see so much Fendler’s waterleaf (Hydrophyllum fendleri) and Sitka valerian (Valeriana sitchensis).

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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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Searching for Willows and More

Dodecatheon jeffreyi

A moment of sun at Blair Lake lights up a display of mountain shooting star but is not enough to dry them (or me!) off.

After seeing the lovely blooming willows at Elk Camp Shelter (see previous post), I got “willow fever”, and decided I had to go back to some of the places I’d seen large populations of the lower-growing species of Salix to see if I could finally learn to identify some of the more difficult ones. On Thursday (June 22), I headed up to Blair Lake. There was only supposed to be a 3-day break in the otherwise damp week, and I wanted to go out twice before being stuck inside again from the rain, so I took a gamble that Thursday’s forecast for a 30% chance of rain wouldn’t amount to much. On Monday, I had been up to Parish Lake Bog following a similar forecast, and the weather was gorgeous. Not so at Blair. It was tempting to turn around and leave after it started to rain within minutes of my arrival, but after 9 miles of gravel, I couldn’t be such a wimp. Thankfully, I came prepared with rain coat and rain pants, but bushwhacking through sopping wet foliage proved worse than the actual rain and eventually proved too much for my raingear. Hey, at least the sun came out for a few minutes! And I got to look at the willows that have long confused me there. I’m still not 100% sure, but I believe they are actually the same two species I saw at Elk Camp Shelter: Salix eastwoodiae and S. boothii. The former is somewhat hairy and has a slightly bluish cast from a distance, while the latter has very shiny leaves and looks much greener overall. I was surprised that at the higher elevation of Blair, the flowers were so far along, but I could still see the fuzzy capsules of Eastwood’s willow and the glabrous ones of Booth’s. Read the rest of this entry »

First Wave of Flowers at Grasshopper Meadows

Claytonia lanceolata and Erythronium grandiflorum bloom quickly after the snow melts before the taller plants can overtop them.

There’s something so exciting about being in the mountains when the first plants are emerging. Grasshopper Meadows is just bursting out with the first flowers after the snow has disappeared. Yesterday (June 14), Sabine and I had the privilege of witnessing its yearly rebirth. Just over a week ago, I caught a glimpse of Grasshopper Meadows as I crossed the bridge in Oakridge, and the upper half of the giant meadow was still white with snow. Now the snow is completely gone and has been replaced by thousands of western springbeauty (Claytonia lanceolata) and glacier lily (Erythronium grandiflorum). They are especially abundant along the upper edge of the meadow where the snow lingers the longest, but they can be seen within minutes of the trailhead. Other snowmelt species can be seen as well. In the lower meadows, turkey peas (Orogenia fusiformis) is blooming, and while the leaves of steer’s head (Dicentra uniflora) are present in many places throughout the meadow, the only fresh blossoms remaining are along the ridge.

Fresh steer's head (Dicentra uniflora) flowers

Fresh steer’s head (Dicentra uniflora) flowers

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A Sunny Day on Lookout Mountain

As I drove south on I-5 on Sunday (May 30), I was thrilled to see the clouds breaking up and an actual sunny day appearing in Douglas County. I was heading to Lookout Mountain near the North Umpqua and didn’t want to miss the almost 360° view—nor did I want to spend one more day dealing with clouds and sprinkles. Enough already!

View east from summit

From the summit you can see snow remaining on Mt. Thielsen and Mt. Bailey and the ridges of the Rogue-Umpqua Divide.

Last year I had tried to get up to Lookout Mountain for the very first wave of plants but had been thwarted by snow on the road several miles from the trailhead. By the time I was able to get back there again, I had missed the early bloomers. The road to the trailhead wraps around the north side of the mountain. This creates a problem, as the south-facing side of the open, rocky summit melts out and starts blooming before the road clears out. But with less of a winter snowpack to deal with and trying a week later, I was game to give it another shot. Read the rest of this entry »

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