Saturday, July 21, 2007

Table Rock Wilderness

This weekend my parents were in town and mom wanted to go hiking. The weather was a little iffy and wanted a hike that we wanted a good dog friendly hike to let the dogs come along. So we decided to not go to far and I took them on the same hike I did back on the 4th of July with Ryan, Danielle, and Todd. I knew most of the flowers would be done, but on the other hand I remembered that there were a few that had not quite bloomed yet when we were up there last time. The weather was a little dreary, but we piled in my little pickup and headed out anyway. When we got to the trail head the dogs where wound up and ready to run, and run they did.

I got a couple of pictures of the Pinedrops that that we had seen the time before, but had not been out in bloom yet.


We then stopped to take a look at the Candystick that was also farther along its life cycle


the forest carpet

The Coralroot's had all gone into the seed pod stage

I soon had mom and Jodie looking and spotting the interesting plant life along the trail. As we continued up the trail Jodie ask me if I knew what this strange little plant was.

It was nothing that I had ever see, so I took a couple of pictures. I figured that I would see if Ryan would know what it was. As it turned out Ryan had seen it earlier, but had no idea what it was ether. About a week later emailed and called me back to tell me that he knew what it was. Ryan had stumbled on to it while flipping through a book at one of the ranger stations. Apparently this plant is very rare. It is called the Gnome Plant, Hemitomes congestum. You can learn more about this rarely seen plat at Botanical Society of America

Gnome Plant, Hemitomes congestum

I would have liked to go back up to see this flower opened up. It has such a great contrast between the vivid blue and the white.

very cool looking flower

until next time... Happy trails!!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

4th of July hike 2007

I got a call fromRyan saying that the Rooster Rock meadow in the Table Rock Wilderness was in full bloom. I met Ryan, Danielle, and Todd around 7:30am and we headed up the river. Ryan had been up to the meadow the week before and wanted to get back for some better pictures of some of the interesting plant life in the area.

I find it amazing, the things you find that you never new existed, things that you have walked by hundreds of times. As soon as someone points them out, you start to notice them more. The plants that Ryan pointed out are plants that survive without chlorophyll. If you remember back in school, chlorophyll is what makes plants green and is needed by plants to absorb what they need from the sun. These interesting plants instead, bond to a fungi that in turn coat the rootlets of a host trees that provide the energy from the sun. Enough about the science lessen and on with some more pics

Pterospora andromedea - Heath Family
This was the first one Ryan pointed out

Next Ryan pointed out one of the most interesting plants I have ever seen

Allotropa vigata
Can you guess how it got its name?....

We also seen lots of 'Western Coralroot' and 'Spotted Coralroot'

Coral Root, Western

Coral Root, Spotted
Corallarhiza maculata - Orchid Family

The four plants above all grow with out producing their own chlorophyll. I find this very interesting. I have most likely hiked past and trampled over these plants 100's of times and never knew they where even there. Now that they’ve have been pointed out to me. I notice them along the trails more and more.

Xerophyllum tenax - Lily Family

Gilia, Bluefield
Gilia capitata - Phlox Family

Inside-out Flower
Vancouveria hexandra - Barberry Family

Delphinium menziesii - Buttercup Family

Lily, Cascade Mariposa
Calochortus subalpinus - Lily Family

Lupine, Kinkaid's
Lupinus sulphureus ssp. kincaidii - Pea Family

Polemonium, Royal
Polemonium carneum - Phlox Family

Queen's Cup
Clintonia uniflora - Lily Family

Rose, Nootka
Rosa nutkana - Rose Family

Archillea millefolium - Sunflower Family

I hope I got the names right for the flowers. Finding the names of flowers is not easy. There are so many different varieties and many of them only have a slight difference in color or shape. Anyway I gave it a shot with a bit of info I got from Ryanand browsing for info I Finally just got tired of trying to identify them all, so here are some more pics without names.

Mt. Jefferson

This was a nice hike to start the 4th of July off with. All the flowers in bloom in the meadow, it was like natures fireworks all around you. Once again another great hike!!

For other details of this adventure and others visit Ryan's blog 'Testing The Waters'
Thanks to and Ryan for names of some the flowers.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Camping with the family 2007

I spent the last weekend car camping at Clay Creek with my parents and some close family friends. No sooner than we get camp setup and the down pours started. I don't know what it is about car camping but it seems like it always has to rain. While we sat around in the rain waiting for the others to arrive dad was trying to come up with an excuse to pack up and go home where it was warm and dry. Before he could find an excuse Bill and Teresa showed up. The rain slowly tapered off. Soon Megan and Derick and Derick's parents arrived.

For the most part it was a pretty lazy weekend. We played cards, dominoes and just chit-chatted around the fire. Bill read a couple of short stories from Patrick McManus that had us rolling on the ground in laughter.

The next day the weather was slightly better. Dad and Bill stayed around camp and worked on smoking the chicken for dinner while the rest of us went for a short 2 mile hike. After the hike we came back and relaxed around the fire, played some more cards, and relaxed some more.

the bunch of us on our walk/hike up the ridge

Mom, the dog, and me at the top of the ridge.

Day three we packed up camp and headed our separate ways. Megan, Derick, Mom and I planed to go hike into Kentucky Falls. Everyone else had to get home for one reason or another. So we drove up the long steep gravel road to Kentucky Falls. I wasn't sure if my pour little pickup was going to make it, but thankfully it did. The hike was a nice 4 miles.

Upper Kentucky Falls

Mom and me at upper Kentucky falls

Derick at the base of upper Kentucky Falls

Myself at the base of lower Kentucky Falls

North Fork Falls on the North Fork Smith River

North Fork Falls on the left lower Kentucky Falls on the right

On our way home we stopped and got a couple of pics from the top of the ridge overlooking the valley.

Looking East

Looking West

It was a good weekend other than the bit of rain. Getting away from everything and visiting with family and friends for a few days is always nice.