Wednesday, July 6, 2011

First Report on Bucks Lake Wilderness Hike

Got to run an errand. Be right back to add narrative. (8:00 p.m.)
8:45 p.m. These photos are posted in the order in which we encountered the subjects on yesterday's hike to the headwaters of Spanish Creek. The Leichtlin's Mariposa Lily, Calochortus leichtlinii, has appeared here before with shots into the corolla which show the defining characteristics. This photo intrigued me because it shows a fresh bloom, a somewhat faded blossom and a seed pod, all on the same plant. Nice botany lesson contained therein. This photo was taken at around 5500' elevation on relatively dry, open slopes where Mariposa Lilies were plentiful. As we turned into dark, shady Red Fir groves where there were still patches of snow, we encountered several very fresh Snow Plants, Sarcodes sanguinea. They were certainly blood red, as the name implies. Hard to imagine these are in the same family as Manzanita and Madrone. Next is a pretty little milkweed, the Spreading Dogbane, Apocynum androsaemifolium. If you can pronounce this you will seem very smart! These are currently blooming from below 3,000 feet to over 6,000, and are attracting lots of great bugs such as the Goldenrod Crab Spider pictured here last week eating butterflies. Next is the Spreading Phlox, Phlox diffusa, which ranged from bleached-out white to brilliant pink and lavender on our hike in the 6,000-foot range. Next is a photo of a couple of cairns marking the trail down to Gold Lake. This stretch of open, rocky trail always reminds me of the approach to the summit of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire except for one missing element - bone-chilling fog with near zero visibility.
The last photo was taken by my son Greg further south in the Sierra. It's a Snakefly, Agulla adnixa. These are not often seen, so I am impressed that Greg got such a great photo of one on his arm. This is a very impressive bug. I urge you to click on it twice for a close-up view of its details.

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