Posts Tagged ‘Trifolium’

So Many Blues at Bradley Lake

The show of great camas (Camassia leichtlinii) was outstanding alongside Bradley Lake.

Two male Sierra Nevada blues resting on their host food plant, mountain shooting star (Dodecatheon jeffreyi), already finished blooming.

I’m way behind posting reports again, but I couldn’t pass up sharing some photos of a trip John Koenig and I took to Bradley Lake on July 6th. After driving up Coal Creek Road a few days before to go to Balm Mountain (see Fabulous Loop Trip Around Balm Mountain) without being able to check all our favorite roadside stops, both of us agreed we wanted a more relaxing day and, despite all the other possible destinations we came up with, we wanted to go back up Coal Creek Road 2133, the gateway to the western side of the Calapooyas. We figured it would be a good time to check on the population of Sierra Nevada blues at Bradley Lake, so that was our eventual destination, but we didn’t even start walking to the lake until 2:30 pm. We stopped numerous times on the drive up, collecting seeds, photographing plants, and looking at all the butterflies—over 22 species for the day. Read the rest of this entry »

Fabulous Loop Trip Around Balm Mountain

Classic frosted paintbrush (Castilleja pruinosa) has narrow leaves that are often quite purple-tinged. Mount Bailey is the snowy mountain to the left. To its right, the rim of Crater Lake can be seen even farther southeast.

On my very last hike in the mountains last year, John Koenig and I found a great way to bushwhack up the south side of Balm Mountain, the highest point in the Calapooyas and one of the coolest places in the Western Cascades (see Another Way Up To Balm Mountain’s South End). We talked about coming back this year and doing a loop by climbing up that way, walking the entire ridge to the north, and returning via a road that leads to the north side. It was high up on both of our priority lists, so for our first trip together to the Calapooyas this year, on July 3rd, we decided to give it a try.

After a number of trips up here, this was the first time I was able to see the deltoid balsamroot (Balsamorhiza deltoidea) in good bloom at the far south end of the mountain. Some monkeyflower and large-flowered blue-eyed Mary indicates this area is somewhat seepy.

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Three Trips in a Row to Rigdon

The mock orange (Philadelphus lewisii) was in full fragrant bloom at Many Creeks Meadow and attracting lots of snowberry checkerspots. I can almost still smell the heavenly fragrance!

On Sunday, June 16, I hiked up the Youngs Rock trail, bushwhacking in from a meadow between Road 2129 and the trail that John Koenig and I named Buckbrush Meadow last year. Then on Wednesday, June 19, I went to Grassy Glade with Maya Goklany of Walama Restoration and two volunteers, Alicja and Sabine. We also explored the lower openings, “Rocky Glade” and “Mock Orange Glade.” Finally, on Friday, June 21, I headed over to “Many Creeks Meadow” for an afternoon of seed collecting before camping at Sacandaga Campground for the weekend (more on that later).

Here are some photos from those trips. Read the rest of this entry »

Terrific Day at Medicine Creek Road

John exploring the steep slope above Medicine Creek Road. A few purple milkweed plants can be seen in the foreground.

Last year, while camping on the North Umpqua, Nancy Bray and I explored the first few miles of Medicine Creek Road 4775, just east of Eagle Rock Campground (see A Week of Monarchs and Milkweed Day 2 and Day 3). It was the only site for purple milkweed (Asclepias cordifolia) listed on the Oregon Flora Project Atlas. We had a wonderful time looking at milkweed and watching monarchs and other butterflies, and I could hardly wait to get back this year to see the earlier blooming plants.

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Seed Collecting at Tire Mountain

Gorgeous farewell-to-spring really glows when backlit.

Gorgeous farewell-to-spring really glows when backlit.

On July 31st, I decided to make one last trip to Tire Mountain to look at the final wave of flowers and collect some seeds. I was especially hoping to get seeds of the late-blooming farewell-to-spring (Clarkia amoena) while still seeing some fresh flowers, but I was surprised that hardly any seeds were ripe, and there were many buds still in evidence—on the last day of July! I’ve gotten a few started at home, but since they are annuals, I need a large enough population to be able to keep themselves going. Most other plants were in seed, and I was able to collect a number of species, including several biscuitroot (Lomatium dissectum, L. utriculatum, and L. nudicaule), my favorite bluefield gilia (Gilia capitata), rosy plectritis (Plectritis congesta), and Oregon fawn lily (Erythronium oregonum). Read the rest of this entry »

More Discoveries Just South of Bristow Prairie

I had to wade into this little pond to photograph this amazing display of white water buttercup (Ranunculus aquatilis).

I had to wade into this little pond to photograph the amazing display of white water buttercup (Ranunculus aquatilis).

After our great day on Friday (see A Grand Day Exploring Bristow Prairie’s Varied Habitats), John and I were both anxious to do more exploring near Bristow Prairie. We had originally thought we might be able to head down along the trail to the south, but we ran out of time on Friday, so we thought it would be well worth a return trip. I wanted to get back before the heatwave dried up all the little annuals, so we headed back up again on Monday, July 1 (July already!).

We wanted to hike in from the southern trailhead, which is a little ways past Bradley Lake, so we headed up Coal Creek Road 2133. We stopped briefly at a seep along the roadcut where we found a new population of Thompson’s mistmaiden (Romanzoffia thompsonii). Unfortunately, a whole family of ticks also discovered me. I had to flick at least 10 off my pants before entering the car. I really hate ticks, but the feeling doesn’t seem to be mutual. At least we got the low point of the day out of the way quickly. Although I wanted to get the hike done first and make our stops on the way back, especially because the heat of the day, we couldn’t help ourselves and had to check out at least a few of our favorite places along this long but floriferous route. A shallow pond was filled with water buttercup. Many butterflies were enjoying the spot, too. One of them, a hoary comma, became enamored of John and spent quite some time checking out his hat, shirt, and binoculars. We finally had to send him on his way, so we could get back into the car and on our way. Just a little ways before the trailhead, I finally got to experience the fabulous bloom of a large area of spreading phlox, growing in what look like they might be gravel piles created when the road was built. I’d collected seeds there before but had never been early enough for the flowers. Read the rest of this entry »

Forensic Botany at Tire Mountain

View of Oakridge and Hills Creek Reservoir. You can see the dirty air sitting down low in valleys and obscuring the reservoir. A glimpse of a small forest of oaks can be seen a little left of the trees in the center at what appears to be the base of the meadow.

Rain at last—what a relief! Not that I wasn’t enjoying the glorious weather we’ve had lately, but things were getting bone dry, the air was dirty, and the roads were terribly dusty (as is my car both outside and in!). On Thursday (October 11—10/11/12 for those of us who love numbers), I went to Tire Mountain to enjoy the weather before the promised rain. It was dry—really dry. It is normal this time of year, especially at that elevation (under 4000′), for most of the meadow plants to be dried out and the woodland plants to be yellowing, but after so many weeks of drought, even the sword ferns—arguably one of our toughest plants—were badly wilted. I’ve been to Tire Mountain in the fall in the past and marveled at the abundance of tiny green seedlings covering the ground. These will be many of the annuals that will put on a show the following spring. Without a drop of water to set them off, the seeds are still dormant in the soil this year. How long it will take for them to germinate now that the rains have started? It might be worth a return trip soon to find out. Read the rest of this entry »

Off the Beaten Track at Tidbits

A stunning show of mountain cat’s ear (Calochortus subalpinus) on the south-facing slope of “the Wall”.

Most people who go to Tidbits Mountain head up the trail to the old lookout site, enjoy the view, and return the same way they came. It’s a wonderful hike with many wildflowers and a fabulous view. But there is more to be seen at Tidbits. My goal for my trip yesterday (July 9) was to spend some time on what I call “the Wall”—the part of the ridge to the west of the “Tidbits” that can be seen from the summit. It puts on a great show in July. The last few years I’ve only come to Tidbits late during gentian season. I also wanted to relocate an uncommon plant I’d found back in the fall of 2009 off the side trail that heads north from the intersection where a cabin once sat. Read the rest of this entry »

Butterflies, Currants, Shooting Stars, and More

Another spring, another spectacular display of Jeffrey’s shooting star (Dodecatheon jeffreyi) by Moon Lake

Yesterday (June 17), my plan was to try to get up to Groundhog Mountain to look for the Douglasia I found a couple of years ago (see Exciting Cliff at Groundhog Mountain). I knew it would be a challenge, as by the time the snow melts off the roads, the Douglasia, free of snow on its vertical rocky habitat, will most likely be finished. Last year’s heavy snowpack kept me from even trying, but this year, I hoped I might make it. Alas, I got stopped by snow less than a quarter of a mile from the turnoff to Waterdog Lake. Past that, I could see the road was completely clear until it turned around to the west side of the mountain. Walking from here would add 4 miles round trip to the hike—not an option for me right now. And driving in from the north side would be even more futile. So, maybe in another week or so I’ll try again. Even if the flowers are fading, it should make estimating the population on the inaccessible cliff a lot easier than it was in the fall when I first saw it. Read the rest of this entry »

First Trip to Hills Peak

Hills Peak looms large above the wetland to the west.

Back in the fall of 2007, I checked out Big Swamp, a large wetland just south of the line between Lane and Douglas counties. This is before the Western Cascades were available in high resolution on Google Earth, so I wasn’t really sure where the good (boggy) part of the swamp was. After my hike, I drove up Big Swamp Road 2153, hoping to get a good look down on the swamp (I did). I continued on to see what was up the road and found a large wetland right next to the road. Above it loomed the rocky face of Hills Peak. I had no time to check it out that day but decided it was a place I had to get to. I had planned to do it late last summer, but the raging Tumblebug fire just to the west cancelled those plans. Read the rest of this entry »

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