Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Flowers in the High Country
The premise of my recent trip to the Pacific Northwest was that our group was to see a different ecosystem every day - and the trip leaders did not disappoint! Our second day was spent hiking along Hurricane Ridge. Here's what their website has to say:
Hurricane Ridge is the most easily accessed mountain area within Olympic National Park. In clear weather, fantastic views can be enjoyed throughout the year.
With perfect weather, and the best time for wildflower viewing, we were excited to go, and we were not disappointed. Just as in Yosemite, lupine, Indian warrior, and larkspur dotted the meadows.
We also enjoyed larkspur, and a wallflower that looked a bit different from the one I see back here.
But what's this? A penstemon perhaps?
Even more intriguing was this plant, that I first suspected of being a lewisia (cliff maid) because it looked a bit similar to one I had puzzled over at Pinnacles.
But our guide insisted it was a wild onion, and he was right! It is the scalloped onion (Allium crenulatum).
But I'm saving the best for last. As we rounded a corner, we were welcomed by a breathtaking display of flowers I had never seen before!
This was Erythronium_montanum (white avalanche lily) and it was spectacular! We also saw its sister plant, Erythronium grandiflorum (glacier lily). But hiking in a group means you can't always stop for a photo when you feel like it, so I ended up with only a few - still, amazing and special. I would so enjoy welcoming this plant to my garden, but I know it needs the special ecosystem up there on the ridge, and I'm so happy I had a chance to see it.
After drinking the beauty of the mountains and the flowers, and the wildlife - we saw a marmot that seemed twice the size of the California critters - we were ready for the visitor center and a coffee drink, and then headed back to the lodge, already looking forward to the next day of adventures!