Posts Tagged ‘Lewisia’

Second Butterfly Survey in the Calapooyas

Looking north from the edge of the plateau where Loletta Lakes lie, there’s a good view of the Coal Creek drainage to the right and the hill above the quarry that we visited the previous week on the left. I’ve been to the rocky summit a number of times, but I’m still eyeing the rocky area down the eastern slope. Some day….

One week earlier, we looked for Sierra Nevada blues in the wetlands along the crest of the Calapooya Mountains (see Second Year of Sierra Nevada Blue Surveys) with Willamette National Forest wildlife biologist Joe Doerr. We didn’t find as many as we’d hoped, so thinking that perhaps it was a bit early, we decided to wait an extra week before returning to the area to check out some additional wetlands. So on Tuesday, July 18, Joe, Joanne, Lori, John, and I returned to the area near Loletta Lakes. We were joined on this outing by Matt Georgeff, another Middle Fork district wildlife biologist. Read the rest of this entry »

A Day Full of Surprises

Looking past the steep north side of the rock, you can see Bohemia Mountain and Fairview Peak in the distance.

Looking across the steep north side of Pyramid Rock, you can see Bohemia Mountain and Fairview Peak in the distance.

The proofs for the Flora of Oregon arrived from the printer last week, so I had to take some time off of botanizing to help read through the manuscript one more time and then make a bunch of changes. I had hoped to join some researchers who were visiting the sites in the Calapooyas where there were disjunct populations of Columbia lewisia (Lewisia columbiana), normally found much farther north. Since I didn’t finish making corrections to the Flora until it was too late for their hikes, I decided to go back up to one of the sites, Pyramid Rock, where I had seen it in all its delicate beauty last year (see Peak Bloom at Pyramid Rock). On my past trips, I had made it an overnight trip coming up from Steamboat because of the 25 miles of gravel required to get there from the north. But I didn’t have time to camp out, so I decided to just tough it out in one day. Unfortunately, all my usual hiking buddies were already occupied, so on on Friday, June 12, I headed up Coal Creek Road 2133 by myself. Read the rest of this entry »

Another Exciting Day in the Calapooyas: The Sequel

Sliver Rock

Sliver Rock is awesome pillar rock that protrudes from the slope below Road 3810 in the Boulder Creek Wilderness. There seems to be a lot of confusion about the name. The USGS quad map shows it as “Sliver Rock,” but their website lists it as “Silver Rock”. The Forest Service District maps that cover the area are also divided about the name. I’m going to keep calling it Sliver Rock because it really is like a thin sliver, and there’s nothing silvery about it. John and I contemplated how and whether we might be able to reach the rock. It looks challenging but too enticing not to give it a try…some day.

John Koenig and I had such a great day last week (see Another Exciting Day in the Calapooyas) that we wanted to pick up where we left off, so, on Thursday, June 4, we headed back up Coal Creek Road 2133 to our usual parking spot east of Loletta Lakes. We hadn’t gotten this far last week until 6pm, so we wanted to spend more time here and see the area in the sun. When we arrived, the area was under a cloud that obscured the ridge just above us. John was confident it would burn off, and indeed, within just a few minutes, we were under blue skies. The rest of the day was gorgeous, sunny, and pleasantly cool. Read the rest of this entry »

NPSO Trip to Nevergo Meadow and Elk Camp

orangetip@EC062914076

A male Sara orangetip, unusually still because of the cool, cloudy conditions early in the day.

PLEREF @ ES062914000

A tiny spider makes its home between the lovely spikelets of nodding semaphore grass (Pleuropogon retrofractus).

Yesterday, June 29, 13 NPSO members and friends headed up to Nevergo Meadow to look at wetland plants and whatever else we could find. I had been wanting to bring people to see this little known area since I first visited it. I thought it would make a really great place to botanize without having to do too much hiking or worrying about anyone getting lost. After a short stop along the road near the Saddleblanket wetlands, we parked our cars along the road by Nevergo Meadow. The rarest plant here is Umpqua frasera (Frasera umpquaensis), and the population at Nevergo Meadow is the northernmost one in its limited range, which reaches only as far as southwestern Oregon. Our first destination was to see this population, hopefully in bloom. We headed down through the meadow, which was now filled with much taller vegetation than it was for my trip in May (see Early Blooming at Elk Camp and Nevergo Meadow). On the way down, we were all quite taken with a large area of nodding semaphore grass (Pleuropogon retrofractus). This is a tall, attractive grass with graceful, dangling spikelets. I’d admired it here in the past. Never had I seen it looking so beautiful, however. We had arrived just as it was in perfect bloom, with both the fuzzy, white stigmas and large, red-violet stamens in evidence. It was suggested they would make lovely earrings. As a designer and occasional jewelry maker, they certainly were inspiring. Several us were determined to get photos, but even the slightest breeze kept them moving. Since grasses are wind-pollinated, this makes sense, but it was still frustrating trying to capture the details of their delicate beauty.

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Further Exploration of the BVD Trail

On the second day (June 3) of my brief overnight trip to the North Umpqua area, I headed up to the Twin Lakes trailhead, but my destination for this trip was the former BVD trail, accessed from the same area. While I did spend a couple of hours over at Twin Lakes at the end of the day, I was really more interested in looking at rock plants, especially after my fabulous trip to Pyramid Rock the day before (see Peak Bloom at Pyramid Rock). I was not disappointed. There were a great many beautiful plants in bloom. And because I had been camping just a few miles from the bottom of the road, I was already out walking at 8:30am and had lots more time than usual to poke around. My goal was to explore beyond the main meadow I’d been to several times before. Looking at the Google Earth image, it is clear that there are a lot of openings, both large and small, along this steep, south-facing slope.

Perhaps the most outstanding display of the day was from the numerous silver lupines (Lupinus albifrons), which were all over the meadow and rocky areas.

Perhaps the most outstanding display of the day was from the numerous silver lupines (Lupinus albifrons), which were all over the meadow and rocky areas. I do love purple!

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Peak Bloom at Pyramid Rock

Cliff paintbrush (Castilleja rupicola on the north side of the rock. To the east, Diamond Peak is about the only mountain with any snow left.

Cliff paintbrush (Castilleja rupicola) on the north side of the rock. To the east, Diamond Peak is about the only mountain with any snow left. The large burned area to its right is the aftermath of the Tumblebug Fire, which burned in September of 2009, just after my first trip to Pyramid Rock.

Pyramid Rock is one of a number of large rocks that pop out of the otherwise largely forested Western Cascades. I’d originally heard of it because it has one of the few populations of Columbia lewisia (Lewisia columbiana) south of the Columbia Gorge. My first trip there was back in the fall of 2009 (First Trips to Pyramid Rock and Loletta Gravel Pit Rocks), and even though the only thing left in bloom was a little of the tiny least knotweed (Polygonum minimum), I was excited to find several other unusual species along with the little fleshy rosettes of the Lewisia. What hadn’t been reported yet for the site were three of the species I’ve since been finding a lot in the area, cliff paintbrush (Castilleja rupicola), spring phacelia (Phacelia verna), and Sierra cliffbrake (Pellaea brachyptera). With all the interesting plants there, I’ve been wanting to get back ever since. The only trouble is, although it is in Lane County (a mere mile north of the Douglas County border), and it can be seen tantalizingly close from some of my favorite sites in the Calapooyas, including Bearbones Mountain, Heavenly Bluff, and the north end of the High Divide Trail near Bristow Prairie, it is on a long dead end road only accessible from Douglas County, so it’s not an easy place to get to for me. Read the rest of this entry »

Abbott Butte in Glorious Bloom

Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza deltoidea) lights up the meadow below the lookout.

My van was packed for an overnight camping trip, but I literally didn’t decide where I was going until breakfast. There are so many places I want to go, and so little time every summer, and it can be hard to hit the bloom just when I want it. This year’s deep snowpack has further complicated decision making, something I’m not good at anyway. But I’m so glad I opted to go to Abbott Butte, one of my favorite hikes in the Rogue-Umpqua Divide—or anywhere, for that matter. I got the confirmation from the Forest Service that I could get to the trailhead, but there might be patchy snow. That was just what I wanted because my goal was to see the snowmelt species up there. The late-melting heavy snow actually is a boon in some ways. While there were patches of snow scattered along the trail, parts of the area were quite far along. In a drier year, I might have had to go twice, several weeks apart, to see all the different plants I saw in bloom. Read the rest of this entry »

Another Surprise at BVD Meadow

The Western Cascades is one of the best tree-growing places in the world, and we have some beautiful old growth forest still remaining in spite of the extensive logging. But the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, so, naturally, I’m always looking for non-forested spots—meadows, outcrops, wetlands, and so on. While I use Google Earth to look for naturally open areas now, in the “old days”, I used to look for white spots on the USGS map. Sometimes I got lucky. On a trip to Twin Lakes in August of 2004, I got really lucky when I discovered the old BVD trail.

The large open meadow along the BVD trail has a great view to the east of Mt. Thielsen and Mt. Bailey.

The Twin Lakes trail is one of the most beautiful in the North Umpqua district. There are two beautiful lakes, huge old growth trees in the forest, and both wet and dry meadows. The second time I went to Twin Lakes, I ended up camping by the trailhead. I woke up really early and decided to see what a nearby large white area on the map represented. Instead of heading west from the parking lot onto the Twin Lakes trail, I headed east. There is a very short stretch of road that ends at a man-made pool of water, presumably there for fire fighting. A sign read “BVD Trail No. 1511, caution this trail is not maintained and may be difficult to follow”. They were right about the faint trail being hard to follow, but by going straight along the ridge for less than a third of a mile, I did end up quite quickly and easily in a huge south-facing sloping meadow with wonderful rock outcrops down slope. As it was late August, everything was dried up, but I could see the remnants of balsamroot, buckwheats, and other great plants. The following year, I went back to see it in bloom and was thrilled to find lots of wonderful flowers, some of which were quite uncommon. Read the rest of this entry »

First Trips to Pyramid Rock and Loletta Gravel Pit Rocks

Sierra cliffbrake (Pellaea brachyptera) at Pyramid Rock

Sierra cliffbrake (Pellaea brachyptera) at Pyramid Rock

I thought I might be done with reports for the season, but the weather is holding, so yesterday (September 11)  I went back through the Calapooyas on my way back from speaking to the Umpqua Valley chapter Thursday night. Someone once told me about the Lewisia columbiana on Pyramid Rock, so that’s been on my to do list for quite a while. I’ve been up to Reynolds Ridge many times, but I hadn’t been past Bullpup Lake on Road 300, so I was happy that the road was in such good shape. Hunters all over the place yesterday, and one guy right in front of me stopped to shoot out of the car @#&*^!! Luckily he turned around and left and I didn’t hear anyone else actively hunting in the middle of the day although I did chat with a few old timers. Read the rest of this entry »

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