Posts Tagged ‘phlox’

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 »

Return to Potter Mountain

Last July, I discovered an awesome new spot in the Calapooyas, Potter Mountain (see Natural Rock Garden at Potter Mountain). Since I’d missed the early bloom, it was high on my list of sites to revisit this year. On Sunday, May 31, I returned to see what else might be up there. Staley Creek Road 2134 is usually in good shape, but it did require moving a few small rocks. Still I got up there no trouble (and left it a little clearer for my next trip up). The day was rather overcast but the clouds came in waves, so I did get some sun off and on.

Cutleaf daisy (Erigeron compositus) growing right on the rocky, spine of the ridge. Diamond Peak can be seen to the east.

Cutleaf daisy (Erigeron compositus) growing right on the rocky, spine of the ridge. Diamond Peak can be seen to the east.

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Another Exciting Day in the Calapooyas

It had been three years since I’d been up on Loletta Peak, and I’d been hankering to see the Siskiyou fritillary (Fritillaria glauca) in bloom up there since I first discovered it on my first trip back in 2009—I didn’t write about it because, at the time, it was considered rare, and its locations were withheld. The road is on the north side of the Calapooya crest and is normally blocked with snow when these very early bloomers are peaking, so the lack of snow made this year seem like the perfect chance to give it a shot. On March 29, I was joined by John Koenig, who loves the Calapooya area as much as I do.

Spreading phlox (Phlox diffusa) are abundant on the summit slope of Loletta Peak.

Spreading phlox (Phlox diffusa) is abundant on the gravelly summit slope of Loletta Peak.

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Butterflies, Blossoms, and Boulders on Balm Mountain

The wild rock formations at the southern end of the ridge look to me like they were underwater.

The wild rock formations at the southern end of the ridge look to me like they were underwater. Spreading phlox (Phlox diffusa) happily filled areas where their roots could find cracks.

I’ve been wanting to show my husband the unusual rock formations on Balm Mountain in the Calapooyas ever since I first discovered the area. Finally on Saturday, July 5, we were able to make that happen. There were no great botanical discoveries or unexpected wildlife interactions, and since it’s a very busy time of year, and I’m way behind, I thought I’d just share some photos of a beautiful day on a beautiful mountain. Read the rest of this entry »

A Long but Lovely Day at Heckletooth

Phlox diffusa and Lomatium hallii light up the rocks on the summit ridge.

Phlox diffusa and Lomatium hallii light up the rocks on the summit ridge.

Fawn lilies, fairy slippers, fritillaries, and phlox were the floral highlights of my trip to Heckletooth Mountain on Saturday (May 4). I’m sure there’s something clever to be written with that wonderful alliteration, but my brain isn’t at its best lately, and I’m a bit out of practice writing, so this entry may be rather dry. That sounds like a not so clever segue to the weather we’re having. It’s been like summer, and it’s only the first week of May. It even hit 90° at my house yesterday! After the last few years of cold, wet, springs (see Heckletooth Times Two for how miserable it was in 2010), I think we’ve forgotten how warm and dry it can be in May. For a comparison, I went to Heckletooth on May 11, 2007, and my photos from that trip look very similar to this one, with just a few of the perennials not as far along. So it may not be that abnormal. But while this weather has been great for hiking and other outdoor activities, it is really taking its toll on the mossy outcrops I love so much, and I’m about ready to do a rain dance. I fear it is going to be a long, hot, dry summer, with a very real threat of forest fires. Read the rest of this entry »

Gorgeous Day at Coffin and Bachelor

The show of beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax) is once again outstanding on the open slope of Coffin Mountain. The Penstemon procerus and mountain sandwort (Eremogone capillaris) were also quite showy.

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.

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Not Balmy Yet at Balm Mountain!

End of the line. The first (but not the last!) snow bank we had to walk across on our way to Balm Mountain.

Yesterday (July 20), John Koenig and I went to Balm Mountain to pre-hike it for an NPSO trip I had scheduled for the end of the month. I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to get there or not, but looking at photos of it I’d taken from various spots in the last week or two, I had some hope it had melted out enough for us to get there. It was clear sailing all the way up Staley Ridge Road 2134. We turned onto Timpanogas Road 2154 and hit snow at about 0.8 mile. It covered half the road but with some shoveling was safely passable. A tree had also fallen across the road but was held up by the steep bank. John had brought some equipment, although unfortunately he forgot his chainsaw, and we spent more effort tackling these obstacles than we should have—in hindsight . While the road seemed clear after that, we were stopped by an insurmountable snow bank covering the road a mere 1/4 mile farther up the road, just before the intersection of Road 236. Time to walk. Read the rest of this entry »

A Steep Climb to the Top of Stone Mountain

From the gravel pit below, the cliffs on east side of Stone Mountain are impressive.

Yesterday (June 8), I returned to Stone Mountain, the little known cliffy peak Sabine and I first visited last fall (see A Visit to Stone Mountain). My main goal was to get to the top and explore the open south-facing side. Stone Mountain is shaped very much like a classic camping tent. From the narrow ridge at the top, it slopes steeply down on both the north and south sides, while the front is mainly vertical cliffs. The rocks are distinctly columnar jointed, creating beautiful patterns. In the gravel pit down below, there are piles of these perfectly faceted boulders. They look like they would be spectacular in a rock garden but, on closer inspection, they crumble down into slippery gravel—something that was even more obvious as I attempted to traverse parts of the south slope on top. Read the rest of this entry »

Higher Up Bear Mountain Meadows

Looking east across the steep, rocky meadows.

It had been three weeks, plenty enough time we figured for the flowers to be much farther along at the meadows on the south slope of Bear Mountain, so Molly Juillerat and I headed back there last Friday (June 3). Since we had only barely gotten up to the cool rocky areas on our last trip (see Knobcone Pines on Bear Mountain Meadows), we wanted to explore the rest of the area east of Indigo Creek including the area much higher up. To make sure we had enough time this trip, we headed straight to Road 2149 and the end of what’s left of Road 204 rather than checking out all the wonderful spots we pass on the drive along Hills Creek Reservoir and Road 21. Knowing now how to get to the base of the meadow complex, it seemed to take only a few minutes to get out into the open. This time, we headed straight up toward the easternmost side that we hadn’t explored at all last time. Read the rest of this entry »

More Interesting Finds in the Calapooyas

Ceanothus velutinous covers the lower slope of the ridge before giving way to slippery gravel. The ridge ends on the left in a protected, north-facing cliff.

Yesterday (July 19), I returned to the Calapooyas to explore an interesting spot I discovered last fall. It’s an unnamed high point along the ridge just south of Loletta Lakes, so I’m going to dub it Loletta Peak. Much of it is steep, open gravel, and I had wondered for years what might be up there. Only last October, after the first dusting of snow had landed, did I finally manage to climb up there. I was thrilled to discover Castilleja rupicola on the north-facing cliffs (see More Castilleja rupicola in Douglas County). This is the most southern point I’d ever seen it. I was anxious to see it there in bloom as well as to see what other treasures the area might hold. Read the rest of this entry »

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