Posts Tagged ‘cliffs’

Bears Gone Wild

Perhaps I should have expected a bear-ful day yesterday (June 5), since I was going to spend the day on Bearbones Mountain. As I drove up Bearbones Mountain Road 2127 past Hills Creek Reservoir, a bear dashed across the clearcut into the woods. Seeing a bear once in a year is always exciting—last year I didn’t see any—but this makes 3 bear sightings this year, and it isn’t even summer (officially or weather-wise). A couple of more bends, another clearcut, and this time it was a lone elk. I’m glad they find something good about these hideous clearcuts. Unfortunately, there are a number of private parcels within the Willamette National Forest in this area, and they’ve been pounding them hard over the last few years, not leaving so much as a single tree standing. In fact, there’s a new one at the base of Bearbones just since my last trip there in 2008.

bear damage

The aftermath of a bear’s search for Lomatium roots

When I reached the old lookout site on top of Bearbones, I noticed some bear damage along one side. As usual, they were after Lomatium hallii, evidently one of their favorite plants. The damage grew steadily worse as I headed down the wonderful side ridge. As I followed this bear hurricane along the ridge, I witnessed an increasing number of areas where the rocks were strewn about, and rootless tops of the Lomatium were lying about as evidence of their feeding frenzy. Read the rest of this entry »

Hills Creek Reservoir, take 2

It is officially spring!! The weather was lovely again yesterday (March 24), so Sabine and I headed out past Oakridge to see how things were coming along by Hills Creek Reservoir and some of our other favorite roadside botanizing spots along Road 21. It was almost 5 weeks since we were there, and we were surprised that the Crocidium multicaule (gold stars) was even more outstanding than in February when we thought it was the best we’d ever seen it. Almost every shelf on the cliffs was dusted bright yellow with a multitude of their adorable little daisy-like flowers.

Crocidium multicaule

Crocidium multicaule growing en masse along Rigdon Point Road

Upon opening the car door at our first stop along the cliffs, I was immediately taken with a lovely fragrance in the air. We concluded it must be coming from the few small cottonwoods that were leafing out nearby. Their resiny fragrance is a favorite of mine this time of year. But while taking some closeups of the Crocidium, I took a sniff and realized the sweet smell was coming from the flowers. Offhand, I can’t think of any composites with floral fragrance, although many have aromatic leaves. The smell is honey-like with a touch of spice. When I returned home and sniffed the Oregon grape blooming in my garden, I realized the Crocidium was quite similar, only not quite as strong. I had some doubts when, as I sniffed at each plant I photographed, some did not seem to be giving off much fragrance. Later in the day, however, we stopped at a roadcut along Rigdon Point Road. Again, the fragrance struck me as soon as I opened the car door and was delicious up close. No cottonwoods anywhere, nor anything else in bloom. Has anyone else noticed scented Crocidium? Read the rest of this entry »

Trip to the Calapooyas

Yesterday I had a terrific day exploring the Calapooya area and found lots of cool things. My destination was Bradley Lake (south of Bristow Prairie in Douglas County, just inside the Willamette NF) but I stopped many times on the way up and back. I had found a plant list for the lake on the OFP Atlas (Lois Kemp 1994) when I was searching for Spiranthes locations, hoping to find some Spiranthes stellata among the S. romanzoffiana sightings.

Bradley Lake is shallow, a great place for aquatics.

Read the rest of this entry »

Castilleja rupicola at Castle Rock

Today I went to Castle Rock. Things are a little later than last year, the Lathyrus lanszwertii is just coming into bloom. I did some exploring down below the south-facing rocks (down and right before the last switchback to the top). I was looking for better Claytonia rubra to photograph (found lots). I also found, just about to start blooming, a large patch of white Phacelia linearis. It is also white on Buckhead, Cloverpatch, Mt. Salem, and Youngs Rock. The only westside ones that I’ve seen that are the usual eastside purple are at Horse Rock Ridge. Also, I was really surprised I’d never seen them before, there were 3 blooming plants of Castilleja rupicola right over the north-facing cliff that can only be seen by climbing down below the top. They were blooming near the Saxifraga caespitosa and some pretty Valeriana scouleri (yes, got to change that on this list as well). It’s not so surprising it’s there considering it is on nearby Horsepasture, Lowder, and Tidbits. There may be more plants, but so little of those cliffs are safely visible. I’ve definitely been watching that cliff face for a few years now. Maybe they didn’t bloom last year because of the dry winter or some other fickleness.

Moon Point update

Now to the Moon Point stuff. After the little foray to the Youngs Rock trail I made it to Moon Point. First I went down to the lake and around the lower meadows nearby (I can finally get there without lost!). A few additions were some Psilocarphus, possibly a Rorippa not blooming, a little Plagiobothrys and a bunch of violet leaves which are most likely palustris. These were all in the old pond spots that have now become grassy. Lots of asters and goldenrod and some nice butterflies, but not like in July. One sad discovery was 2 damselflies “caught” by the Silene bernardina. The first one flew off after I released him from his sticky predicament. The other seemed too worn out. He had been stuck both by his feet and his abdomen. Somebody ought to make glue out of that stuff.

The real reason I’m doing a report, though, is that I found something else exciting up on the Point. It continues to amaze me how much stuff is on those rocks, and how I can keep going back and finding things I’ve never seen before. Almost at the top of the viewpoint rock is a Hieracium, which I’m pretty sure is H. greenei. It looks exactly like what I saw at Buck Canyon and Rattlesnake Mtn in the Rogue Umpqua Divide. Some surfaces are very hairy, others more felty, but all very whitish. The seeds are medium to dark brown with the usual fluff.

There was only the one, so I finally decided it was time to look for the other rocks on that side of the mountain. I’d had been looking at the sky peaking through above the meadow and wondered whether there might be more cliff over there. So I scrambled over to the corner where the ridge heads around to a more east-facing aspect and indeed, there are cliffs on the east.

On the way, I discovered 3 more Orobanche pinorum in full bloom. The usual place near the Point had only a few dead stalks. Finally on the top of this corner rock outcrop, I found what I was looking for—more Hieracium. I counted 8 plants with some flowers and 4 more small non-blooming rosettes. I didn’t go out on the point because it gets narrow and has a serious dropoff to the east. To the west, it would be possible to scramble out there safely. Another time.

The cliffs had lots more Heuchera merriamii, Penstomon rupicola, and Luina hypoleuca (still blooming). I definitely want to get back next season to see if there is Castilleja rupicola on those cliffs. I suspect so. I followed the top of cliff peeking out when possible. I was thinking probably no one knew about the cliff, but then I noticed one of the manzanitas I passed to get out to a good viewpoint had a number of branches sawed off. From there, it is only a hundred yards or so through the open woods back to the top of the meadow and down to the trail. A much easier route for next year.

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