Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Flora High Sierra edition

Last weekend, as noted, I was in the Carson Pass area, south of Lake Tahoe, with brother M. and about 20 of his high school students. Before they arrived, I went on a kind of longish day-hike: start at Woods Lake, where we camped, go up to Round Top Lake, over the pass and down to Fourth of July Lake, down to Summit City Creek, then up and over a couple of passes back to Winnemucca Lake, and finally back down to Woods Lake.

It was a long day of hiking, but well worth it. As you go up in elevation, you go botanically back through the calendar. As we had lots of snow this year--and there were still big patches of snow at the higher elevations--up at the passes it was still early spring. So, going up and down I got to see a year's worth of flowers in one long day. Quite a treat.

Here's some early spring, blooming at around 2750 meters in late September:
A shooting star, one of my all-time favorite plants. I'm more accustomed to seeing this in March!
Marsh Marigold, Caltha leptosepala. I'd never seen this blooming before, but it was lovely.
Dwarf Willows--I'm always amused to see willow trees (probably older than me) that are only two inches tall. They were blooming, but they had better hurry up--the weather forecast calls for snow in a few days. A spectacularly short growing season.

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