Posts Tagged ‘Douglasia’

Two Foggy Outings

I’m a fairweather hiker and usually avoid going out on days without a good amount of sun. But sometimes it happens. On both of my last two outings, I ended up spending most of the day literally in the clouds. I don’t take anywhere near the number of photos I usually do, but I thought I’d share a few.

Bristow Prairie, 5/15/15

Molly Juillerat, Middle Fork NF district botanist, and her dog Ruby and I made the same trip John Koenig and I had done a couple of weeks before (see Bristow Prairie: 2015 Trip 2), but the low clouds gave the area a distinctly different mood. From a scientific standpoint (not from one of comfort!), it was interesting to see how much moisture the plants received without any actual rain.


Low clouds dancing around below the road at Bristow Prairie

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Successful Return to Groundhog’s North Cliff

This smooth douglasia (Douglasia laevigata), on the right side of this photo, clearly bloomed quite well, but, unfortunately for me, that was several weeks ago. It was growing in an exposed spot near the top of the cliff. Wolf Mountain can be seen not so far away in the top center of the photo. Fuji Mountain is behind it just to the left.

Ever since I discovered the most southerly population of Douglasia laevigata on Groundhog Mountain in the fall of 2010 (see Exciting Cliff at Groundhog Mountain), I’ve been wanting to get back to see the hidden cliff on the north end in bloom. The deep snow pack last year discouraged me from even trying, as the cliff plants would have been quite far along before the north-facing road melted out, and Douglasia is a very early bloomer. Two weeks ago I decided to give it a try, but, alas, I ran into snow before the turn onto Road 451 to Waterdog Lake, so I cut over to Moon Point instead (see Butterflies, Currants, Shooting Stars, and More). Yesterday (July 2), I was pretty confident I could get over to the west side of Groundhog, and I hoped that there might be at least of few flowers left on the Douglasia. Sabine Dutoit and Ingrid Ford and her sweet dog Bogy joined me. Read the rest of this entry »

Exciting Cliff at Groundhog Mountain

I hadn’t expected any excitement when Sabine and I headed up to Groundhog Mountain yesterday (October 1). Earlier in the week, I had hurt my foot (no, not while bushwhacking over logs or climbing up a talus slope—I stepped wrong on my carpeted stairs!). I had planned to go to Olallie Mountain, but I was too unsure of my foot to risk hiking seven miles. At Groundhog, I could enjoy a relaxing day of roadside botanizing, and if my foot gave out again, I wouldn’t be too far from the car. I had no real agenda other than enjoying the sunshine (the fog didn’t lift until late afternoon at home) and spending a few more days in the mountains before winter.

Out in the sun, these creeping snowberries (Symphoricarpos mollis) have far more berries than usual. The view west is terrific, with a little fog visible in the Valley.

We headed straight for Waterdog Lake. Today is the first day of gun hunting season, and there were already several hunters camping by the lake. They turned out to be very friendly and came over to see what we were doing on our hands and knees on the ground. I thought this might pique their curiosity. We were looking for the remnants of the tiny Botrychium simplex that Molly Juillerat and I had found back in August (see Awesome Day at Groundhog). There were only a few withering yellow leaves left. In contrast, the much larger Botrychium multifidum, a few hundred feet to the north, were sporing and had large, handsome green leaves. Dozens of little Boreal toads were hopping around throughout the area, still dispersing from the massive congregation in the lake in August. Read the rest of this entry »

Top of Cone Peak Starting to Bloom

Dodecatheon pulchellum

Dodecatheon pulchellum

I thought you might be interested in what Sabine Dutoit and I found at Cone Peak yesterday. Not surprisingly, things are way behind. There’s quite a bit more snow than when I was there on either 6/3/06 and 5/24/04. I’d say it’s 4 weeks or more behind the last few years. Almost everywhere I’ve been able to get to so far is 3-4 weeks behind. There was a lot of snow right at the beginning of the trail but we could see the top was open so we figured we’d give it a try. The trail cleared off shortly but then, before the series of switchbacks, we ran into lots of snow again and lost the trail. We just headed for the top across the snow and eventually got right up to the main meadow and the trail which were half open and covered with Claytonia lanceolata. Then we crossed a bit more snow right at the base of the trail and were all clear from then on.

green hairstreak

green hairstreak on top of Cone Peak

From the many Erythronium grandiflorum and Orogenia fusiformis blooming near the snow, it got better and better. The seep area is outstanding right now. Solid Romanzoffia thompsonii, Saxifraga rufidula, and Dodecatheon pulchellum. By the time we got to the top there were lots of Lomatium martindalei, Cerastium arvense, Delphinium menziesii, Phlox diffusa, and Ivesia gordonii in perfect bloom. The Castilleja rupicola was starting, but the Douglasia laevigata was actually fading. Boy, do you have to get out early to catch that one! One addition to my list was Valeriana scouleri coming into bloom. It was growing in the west-facing rocks right next to Castilleja rupicola. I’ve seen that combination many times. Also there was quite a bit of the Arabis I sent Sweet Home District botanist Alice Smith pictures of several years ago from the top of Iron Mountain. I was also really excited to see 2 green hairstreaks right on top and a cute ground squirrel. The air was pretty clear and the view was outstanding. Even Mt. Hood looked really close. It was really interesting to see blooming Senecio integerrimus when they were all still in bud at Tire Mountain (<4000′) on Friday. Cone Peak really blooms from the top down!

Ivesia gordonii

Ivesia gordonii and nice view of Iron Mountain from top of Cone Peak

On the way back down, we were able to follow the trail down most of the switchbacks with minimal snow crossing. There were loads of fresh trilliums and the Viola sheltonii had already finished. We felt rather foolish having done so much bushwhacking on the way up… until we lost the trail again in the snow. We simply couldn’t find the blue markers, so we just headed down and picked up the trail, lost it again, headed down and found it again near the beginning. Luckily, you can’t really get lost there. And on a weekend, the traffic is steady enough that you can hear the road all the time. For someone unfamiliar with the trail, however, I’d suggest waiting a week for it to melt out more near the bottom.

As you can see from the photo of the Ivesia, there’s lots of snow on Iron Mountain. We walked over plenty of 5 foot drifts, so it is probably even worse over there. Tombstone Prairie is mostly snowed in, but the open areas have blooming skunk cabbage. Also, the road to Echo Basin was clear (we moved some small trees) until just before the trailhead where you hit lots of snow.

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