Posts Tagged ‘Vaccinium’

Autumn at Hills Peak

The fall color was outstanding in the wetland east of Hills Peak, mostly from the vast stretches of bog huckleberries.

A Cascades frog floating in one of the many channels near the lake.

On October 5th, John Koenig and I headed up to Hills Peak at the east end of the Calapooya Mountains. We both wanted to get in one more trip to the Calapooyas before winter, and we were looking for an easy trip—especially after John had injured his knee on our last trip out together (see Butterflying on Coal Creek Road). There are many places of interest around Hills Peak, so we can never see them all. On this trip, we made three stops: a wetland, the top of the peak, and the talus at the north end.

It was a gorgeous fall day. The clear blue sky was heavenly after months of smoke. We headed first to the large wetland east of the peak off of Road 2154, where there is a shallow lake and bog. While there was little left in bloom, the fall color was outstanding. The backlit huckleberries made the area look like it was on fire—but in a good way. Read the rest of this entry »

A “Berry” Surprising Day at Groundhog and Warner Mountains

The star plant of the day was probably western mountain ash (Sorbus scopulina) with its shiny red berries. It was abundant along the roadsides. The large meadow in back is on Little Groundhog Mountain, more or less the south end of Groundhog Mountain.

In late summer, the gorgeous berries of wax currant (Ribes cereum) ripen, and the leaves develop a waxy coating.

After hearing from my friend Doramay Keasbey that Road 2120 was actually in pretty good condition, I decided I really needed to get back to Groundhog Mountain sometime this year. I used to go multiple times a year as it is one of my favorite places and has so many different interesting botanical spots to check out. With the fire danger finally reduced and the smoke no longer affecting the area (unfortunately for Doramay, it was pretty bad for her and her friend Pat when they went in early August), I was finally able to return on September 13. I was accompanied by fellow Native Plant Society of Oregon (NPSO) member Angela Soto, who had never been to this terrific botanical area. Due to the smoke and fire danger, I didn’t get out much in August and went alone as I was never sure until morning what the air quality would be like. It was wonderful to get back to “business as usual” and to be able to take another plant lover with me. Read the rest of this entry »

Exploring Hidden Lake(s)

The sphagnum bog alongside Hidden Lake

The cool sphagnum bog alongside Hidden Lake

Just 4 miles due south of Terwilliger Hot Springs, Hidden Lake has become a popular destination in the Cougar Reservoir area. During the recent NPSO Annual Meeting last month, there were two trips offered to botanize at Hidden Lake. Since I was leading hikes elsewhere (see Field Trip Highlights from NPSO Annual Meeting), I didn’t go on either of those, but I hadn’t been there for years, so I thought it was about time to go back. And after noticing some other wetlands not too far from the lake, I was even more intrigued and headed out there on August 7. Read the rest of this entry »

Lots of Wildlife and Unusual Tiny Plants at Anvil Lake

Pond lilies (Nuphar polysepala) bloom in both Anvil Lake and this smaller lake.

Pond lilies (Nuphar polysepala) bloom in both Anvil Lake and this smaller lake.

It had been 4 years since my last trip north to Clackamas County to see some of the many wonderful wetlands in the area, so it was high time for another visit. After a pleasant night and some early morning botanizing at the campground by Little Crater Meadow, on Friday (July 19) I headed over to the short but botanically terrific Anvil Lake trail. The trail starts out in the forest, but it is damp, with lots of undergrowth and some giant western redcedars (Thuja plicata). I measured one at over 4.5′ DBH. There is a wonderful open bog just a few hundred feet off to the left, but I was determined to have lots of time at Anvil Lake and its bog, so I planned to do everything else on the way back—if I had time. I seem to go slower and slower these days, studying plants more carefully and taking more and more photographs. Spending the whole day on a mile and a half long trail might seem ridiculous to some, but it is quite easy for me. As it was, I never did have time for the trailhead bog. Read the rest of this entry »

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