Posts Tagged ‘Micranthes’

Final Outing of 2017

With the continued warm weather of late October, I made one final trip to the Rigdon area south of Oakridge to look at another interesting spot. During my many trips up Coal Creek Road 2133 to get up to high elevation sites in the Calapooyas, I had often caught glances of an open slope on the far side of Coal Creek. I’d wondered for years about this intriguing spot, so it seemed like the right time to figure out how to explore it.  On October 31st, I followed the route of my previous trip (see http://westerncascades.com/2018/01/27/further-low-elevation-meadow-exploration/previous post) but turned south off of Road 200 onto Road 210. I’d never been down this road before, so I wasn’t sure whether it was even driveable. It actually was in good shape for a while, and a gate across it was open, but I decided to park at the gate anyway as it didn’t look as though it was well driven. As it turned out, there was a tree blocking the road farther along, and there were other spots where it was clearly growing over from disuse. But it made for a pleasant enough walk until the road was bisected by a creek. At this time of year it wasn’t too hard to ford the creek, jumping from rock to rock, but when the water is higher in the spring, it might be necessary to head upstream to find a narrower crossing than I took. Not too long after traversing the creek, the slope on my left went uphill, rather than downhill toward Coal Creek as it had done until then. I knew this meant I’d come to my destination at last!

Looking north across the rocky slope.

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Glacier Lilies at Grasshopper Meadows

Starry glacier lilies in the meadow

Starry glacier lilies in the meadow

American winter cress was abundant in a moist section of a lower meadow.

American winter cress was abundant in a moist section of a lower meadow.

After seeing the very odd flowering habit of the glacier lilies (Erythronium grandiflorum) at Bristow Prairie a week before, I was anxious to see if this was happening elsewhere, so on May 3, I decided to head up to Grasshopper Meadows, which has a good complement of snowmelt species. There was no snow in sight on my way up, but the flowering season was still quite early. Scattered Trillium ovatum were in perfect bloom, and little white Anemone lyallii flowers were also here and there in both the woods and the meadows. As I entered the first grassy patch among the trees, I was able to spot some perfectly blooming turkey peas (Orogenia fusiformis), a very small, easily overlooked member of the carrot family (Apiaceae) that blooms as the snow is melting—when there is any! There were also a number of western springbeauty (Claytonia lanceolata) in the meadows. Like those at Bristow Prairie, they didn’t seem as floriferous and showy as usual. Up on the ridge, I was also able to find a small patch of fading steer’s head (Dicentra uniflora). I usually see a lot more than that up there, so perhaps it wasn’t doing as well in the droughty conditions either. Other early bloomers included stream violet (Viola glabella), Baker’s violet (V. bakeri), Sierra sanicle (Sanicula graveolens), and American winter cress (Barbarea orthoceras). Read the rest of this entry »

Early Flowers Along Cougar Reservoir

Gold stars likes the moss along the road. Unfortunately the highway department does not.

Gold stars likes the moss along the road. Unfortunately the highway department does not.

Last Wednesday, April 3, Nancy Bray and I went to see what was blooming on the cliffs along Cougar Reservoir in northeastern Lane County. I frequently explore the similar habitat along Hills Creek Reservoir, about 30 miles to the south, but had never spent any time along Cougar Reservoir until last year (see Laid Back Botanizing Along Cougar Reservoir). This is probably in large part because the trails I frequent near Cougar Reservoir (Lowder Mountain, Quaking Aspen Swamp, and Olallie Mountain) are accessed by the road that crosses the dam, missing much of the good habitat along the west side of the reservoir, and by the time the higher elevation blooming season is in gear, the roadside plants are mostly finished. On the other hand, at Hills Creek Reservoir, most of my favorite hikes, including the Calapooya Mountains sites, require that I drive past the roadside cliffs on the west side, which I seem to do on a weekly basis. I’ll have to add Cougar Reservoir to my favorite early season botanizing sites because it is really floriferous and has more seepy cliff than I’ve seen anywhere else. Read the rest of this entry »

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