This past March we spent a week in Tucson to get some vitamin D sunshine! And it was J’s first trip to the desert, ever! We went on a couple of hikes, went to the amazing Kartchner Caverns, went to a desert botanical garden and bistro, Tohono Chul, and just hung out drinking tea at The Scented Leaf, where I picked up some nice green tea to take home.
Unfortunately, they don’t let you take pictures at Kartchner Caverns except on certain days and then you have to pay a lot of $$ so I don’t have anything to show you from our walk in the caves there but we did go to a great Mexican restaurant for lunch in a town close by. We asked the Cavern staff where to go and the woman said “Lucky for you that I’m a total foodie and you have to go to this hole in the wall place, Mi Casa Restaurant, in Benson. So we went and were not disappointed. It’s literally a Mom and Pop place; she cooks, he waits the tables. The food was great and we were satiated and happy.
We also “lounged” through an evening at Gates Pass to watch the sunset. Again, just perfect. I have lots of great shots from the trip; here’s just some of my favourites. Hope you enjoy. (Hint: click on a photo to see the full size image)
“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.