“I believe in the power and mystery of naming things. Language has the capacity to transform our cells, rearrange our learning patterns of behavior, and redirect our thinking. I believe in naming what’s right in front of us because that is often what is most visible. Eve Ensler
I love to put names on things. When I was an undergraduate at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse, (more years ago than I care to remember!) I took many many courses that involved using taxonomic keys to find out the common and scientific names of plants, animals, fungi and lots of other organisms. It was one of the things I most loved doing and when I graduated from ES&F, I asked my parents for a copy of Britton and Brown’s Illustrated Flora. This was in 2 volumes at that time and I was in heaven when they actually found it and gave it to me.
Over the years I have accumulated naturalist guidebooks for birds, fungi, ferns, lichens, plants, seashore and you name it. When I see something, I want to know what to call it. That’s how it becomes part of me and part of my sense of home and belonging. If I can name you, you’re a friend. For example, on one of the hikes I go on with my partner, J, we pass this old growth Douglas Fir and it is our favourite tree on that trail. The last time we went up I asked her, do you think it’s a grandmother or a grandfather. J, being the practical woman she is said “It’s just a tree.” Hmm. I like to honour these older trees when I pass by them and they often seem to have genders to me and since it was Just ATree, and to me it was obviously a grandmother, I have named it Grandmother JAT. Now it’s also a friend 🙂
So wy did I tell you all this? Well, I have been taking pictures of plants and animals for years and lately, I decided to go back through all my photos and use Photoshop to create my own attractive taxonomic pages. Because that helps me to remember what I’ve seen and named and adds to my circle of “friends”. I thought I’d share them with you in this blog from time to time. My ultimate plan is to print them out as full size photographic pages and make a scrapbook from them. There’s no order to them right now, just images I liked with their names and some other details. Here’s a few of those images.
These are some of the flowers I’ve photographed on hikes in the alpine. And the feature image at the top is one of the slime moulds I captured, Trichia decipiens, on a hike on Grouse Mt. a few years back.
Hope you enjoyed meeting and making some new friends.
In going back over the previous post, I realized I never showed you our campsite. That’s because I didn’t take any pictures of it! But S did and here’s what it looked like.
J and I setting up our tent
The 1 person tent S used
our tent is set up!
Hanging out around the cooking and general central area of our site
If you look closely, you can see me just sitting around in a folding chair. Not what I usually take on a “backpack” but as the Lake of the Woods camp site was only a kilometre from the drop off point, I figured I could endure carrying the chair for 20 minutes! So glad I did! Gave S my normal thermarest backpack chair and J brought her favourite backpack chair so we were pretty comfy.
Oh, and I forgot to tell you about another interesting development that we discovered when we started to cook dinner the first night. We brought my snowpeak propane backpack stove and my backpack popcan stove that uses methanol (methyl hydrate is what you purchase it as). Before we left home, I had assiduously filled up my gas transport bottle with methanol. At least that’s what I thought I did. So I filled up the popcan stove and tried to light it. It wasn’t lighting. It never not lights! I sniffed the container and realized I hadn’t looked at the label of the stock I had used to refill it. It was paint thinner, not methanol, and wouldn’t light! So that meant we had only 1 small stove for the 3 of us to make all our meals and couldn’t use a fire as there was a fire ban throughout BC because of all the wildfires! DOH! Well, we almost made it through but our last meal the propane tank ran out. Note to self; be more careful next time!
Ok, it’s day 2 and we are deciding where to go. As yesterday’s hike kind of wore us out a bit, we decided to take it easy. J and S decided they just wanted to go back to Ladyslipper lake and hang out there, maybe go swimming. I decided I really wanted to see Goat Lake so after a short way to Goat Lake, they headed back to the trail juncture and went back to Ladyslipper.
Good choice for me on my part. I hadn’t been hiking alone in quite a while and it turned out to be just what I needed! Here’s my trip to Goat lake, which failed to live up to its name as I didn’t see any goats there but filled my needs in all other aspects.
From our juncture, the trail descends into the valley that leads up to a basin where Goat lake is. Once in the valley, it’s a nice gentle trail to the lake. Easy walking 🙂
From the map I knew that the lake would be surrounded by a bunch of peaks and nestled into a basin. Every now and then, I would get a glimpse of where I was ultimately headed.
And you can now begin to see some of the devastation caused by the bark beetle. Most of the large spruce etc are dead. Fortunately, there are young trees springing up to replace them so in another 30 years or so, if they survive, it won’t look quite so desolate. You can also see the continuing effects the smoke was having on the views. Normally would have been clear blue sky with high definition on the mountains given the lens I was using.
Here’s a lovely boggy meadow filled with a sedge called narrow-leaved cotton grass and then a closeup of the actual cotton grass plant.
Getting a bit closer to the lake now.
And, tada! Finally made it to the lake.
It was a warm lovely day except for the smoke so I walked around to the other end of the lake and found a great spot from which to view both the surrounding mountains and the lake while I ate my lunch and drank my tea. Nice breeze to keep the bugs away, too. Happy camper I am.
So…. Goat lake is just a nice little lake. Nothing special about it except for where it is and the peaks that surround it. There were 2 other young folks there and they left before I did so I had the place all to myself for quite a nice bit of time.
I just love the rock that these mountains are composed of. It’s quite dramatic looking and it looks like it would be really fun to scramble up and climb if you were so inclined. Of course, much steeper than it looks in the photos!
After relaxing and taking a few more pictures, it’s time to head back. A parting shot of the lake on my way back out.
Took a few more photos of flowers and such.
Made it back to camp and joined up with J and S. Sponged off my sweat in Lake of the Woods, ate dinner and relaxed. Watched stars, fell asleep.
We had originally planned to leave on the 3:30 shuttle down so after a lazy breakfast we packed up camp and figured we could just leave our gear at the lodge and go for a day hike, returning just a bit before heading out.
Nope. As I mentioned in the previous post, due to the smoke coming into the park, BC Parks declared an evacuation of Cathedral Lakes Park. So we pared down our hike to a short jaunt over to Scout Lake which was just a km or so from the lodge and hoped we could get out on the 1 pm shuttle. No sense hanging around for more smoke!
Turned out to be a good plan. Wandered over to Scout lake and enjoyed ourselves and saw another of the lakes. Here’s a few pics.
I walked all the way around while J and S just stayed on one side. Here’s a nice sedge that I saw at the lake.
And a nice batch of Arnica next to a rock.
On the way out I went a little way past the lake to see the creek coming out of it and got a really nice shot.
It’s very peaceful looking, don’t you think?
Back to the lodge and it turns out that they decided to try to evacuate everyone on the 1pm shuttle. So they had 3 or 4 trucks going back down to the highway. Uneventful ride, back to the car and then back home.
So that’s our trip to Cathedral Lakes Provincial Park. Maybe we’ll go back when there isn’t any smoke and see all the wonderful views we were supposed to see originally. But there are just so many wonderful places to visit, that maybe we won’t. Only time will tell.
Hope you enjoyed seeing a bit of this wonderful park. We sure did!
Many years ago, I somehow obtained an interesting African Violet plant. If I remember correctly, I got it while I was still an undergraduate student at SUNY ESF in the early 1970s. I was into house plants at the time and I was struck by this particular plant because unlike all the other African Violets I had seen, this one had leaves with wavy edges. So it made it into my plant collection.
My Mom was also taken with it so I gave her a couple of leaves which she rooted. Over the years, I remember seeing it from time to time when I would visit my parents but it eventually faded from my memory.
Fast forward to 2015. I’m helping my Mom clean out her house sometime after my Dad passed away and she points to an African Violet she has and says “Do you remember this African Violet that you gave me all those years ago” or something like that. “Well, this is the same plant” I was flabbergasted and elated at the same time.
“Really,” I said. “Oh, I have to have one again.” Now it has been years since I did much with house plants. Oh, I had the occasional one, and I had balcony plants on my condos and I have a great rubber tree plant that I’ve had for years but my partner, J, is into plants in a big way and I just knew she’d love it.
Well, I live in British Columbia, Canada and Mom lives in Greenville, North Carolina so we hatched a plan. The next time she came to visit family on the West Coast, she would bring a couple of leaves and I would get them back to my home in BC. And that’s what we did. We had a family wedding in Portland, Oregon and Mom brought a few leaves in her luggage. She had put them in a plastic ziploc bag wrapped in moist paper towels to keep them from drying out.
As we had driven down to Portland from Vancouver, BC, it was no problem to get the leaves back across the border and into our home.
I put them in water, they successfully rooted and I planted them in small pots. I gave one plant to one of our good friends who also loves plants and just waited for the other plants to grow. And grow they did.
A couple of days ago, we were in a dollar store and saw some great pots and I thought, perfect for the violets. Yesterday, I transplanted them and one of them had already started to flower. That was one of the things I also liked about these African Violets. They liked to flower over and over and over….
And so the circle is now completed and continues. I was able to subdivide the original plants from the 2 leaves into 4 new ones and will keep passing them along to family and friends.
We spent a wonderful morning with our friends in Roseburg – actually in the countryside between Sutherlin and Roseburg – and they gave us a whole host of suggestions of things to see and do as we travelled down to the redwoods in California and when we headed back home via another section of the Oregon coast.
We made our way back to I5 where we headed on down to Grant’s Pass. We wanted to take a coffee break so we got off the highway and just started heading through town. As soon as we drove by the Bluestone Cafe, I knew we had found our coffee stop!
As the food looked really good, too, we ordered a couple of sandwiches to take on the road with us. Good decision so we thought until we opened the bags a bit later. Much to our surprise, although the receipt indicated we got what we ordered and paid for, what was inside was a completely different order! And as I’m a pescavore and both sandwiches had meat, I pretty much had to make do with a bit of bread and some granola bars for lunch. Even so, everyone makes mistakes and I’d still give top ratings for this place!! The bevvies were perfect 🙂
From Grant’s Pass, we picked up Highway 199, which is also called the Redwood Highway. One of the places our friends had recommended we stop at was Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park. So we did. It comes up about 45 minutes or so after you cross into California. We spent about an hour there just walking a little loop and having our first experience amongst the big trees. Here’s some big tree photos from the park.
Yup, they’re big!
Like, really BIG!!!
There were also scads of white trilliums in bloom on the forest floor and I’m still striving for a perfect spring trillium shot. I take a bunch every year. Here’s a few of this year’s contenders from the park.
There was also a lovely bright red mushroom which cried out to be photographed.
And here’s one of the giants just hanging out in the forest. No trail to it. I just enjoyed seeing it so nicely ensconced in all the other foliage and shrubbery.
So, back into the car and on down the highway. We stopped at a pull off somewhere’s down the road from Crescent City for a bit of a beach break.
From here, we headed down to our ultimate destination, the Humboldt Redwoods State Park and the Avenue of the Giants in Phillipsville, where we had booked what we thought was a nice AirBnB cottage. Hoo boy were we surprised when it turned out to be a pretty down and out motel. It’s amazing how good you can make something look if you take pictures of it from a certain angle in just the right light.
By the time we rolled in around 8 PM or so, it was too late to do anything about it so we made the best of it. We headed to the Riverwood Inn, a restaurant/bar across the street from the motel and had a pretty good Mexican dinner so it was not a complete disaster.
Then we rolled into bed and made plans for spending the next day gawking at the big trees.
Well, I think that’s enough for now. I’ll finish this trip report with the next installment.
It’s been a while since I did a “trip report” so this week, I thought I’d share one of the hikes we did last August in Wells Gray Provincial Park, BC.
Wells Gray has become one of our favourite places to go for a long 4-5 day weekend. The first time we went several years ago, we had a friend who had a house there she wasn’t using and she let us stay in it. After that trip, we were hooked on this park and area. There’s so much to see and explore, especially if you like waterfalls, which we do, and lots of opportunities to hike into the alpine so we couldn’t wait to return.
If you do decide to visit this park, be sure to stop in at the visitor’s centre right off the highway and pick up a copy of Roland Neave’s book, Exploring Wells Gray Park. It’s the best guide to the area. We got a copy of the 5th edition the first time we were there and were so impressed with it that when we went this past summer, we were happy to scoop up the newer 6th edition. And you can get it before you go, online!
This post I’m just going to focus on one hike that we did, the hike up the East Ridge of Trophy Mt. Trophy Mt is one of the major mountains in the park and you can come at it from various directions. Last time we headed onto its West slopes via Sheila lake so this time we wanted to try the other side.
We were not disappointed! It’s a great hike and you are rewarded with many great panoramic vistas once you actually get into the alpine, which only takes about 90 minutes or so. On the way up from the trail head, we were rewarded with lovely meadows that still had lots of flowers and stunning views of Raft Mt to the South, another peak we’d like to explore next time we go.
The first part of the trail takes you through some lovely forest with a couple of great scraggly trees. Here’s one I really liked.
And a bit of wildlife on the way up. A butterfly perched on an aster.
As I mentioned, you pass through some lovely meadows before the views of Raft Mt start to come into play.
As you gain elevation, you begin to get views of Raft behind you so don’t forget to turn around and look because the light will definitely change on the way down and you don’t want to miss the changes.
A few pics of Raft Mt on the way up into the alpine.
And then you enter the alpine and things start opening up.
Now we’re really getting into the alpine and things open up with lots of territory to explore. You come to a cabin and from there you can go several ways. We stayed East, wandered up that ridge and eventually came to a lovey viewpoint where we had lunch and just chilled out on the rocks enjoying the views for a while.
Our high point and lunch spot.
A bit of a closeup of the what you see past the selfie hat.
I thought about heading up that bump foreground left but we decided we’d had enough elevation gain for the day and after lunch headed back down. Did a bit of loop to get back to the cabin and then headed back down to the car.
On the way back to the car I took a few more flower pics. Here’s one of a lousewort species.
We also ran across a bit of wildlife, too.
And then just because I happen to be a fun guy who likes fungi, had to take a quick shot of this one.
Well I took almost 200 pics on this hike so you can see I’ve really held back here and saved you from 40 pics of Raft from different viewpoints and so many flowered meadows. You just gotta go and see it for yourself!