Thursday, July 7, 2011

Second Report on Bucks Lake Wilderness Hike

We approached Silver Lake on USFS road 25N30 and saw a great variety of blooming wildflowers in the rather dry, rocky open areas. The top photo I initially labelled "mystery plant" as I had never seen it before. The flower shape looked like Scrophulariaceae, but the overall plant looked more like a Phacelia. This morning I found it in my Audubon guide. It's a Penstemon - Penstemon deustus, the Hot-rock Penstemon. Appropriate name as I found some rocks too hot to touch as I kneeled low for photographs. The second photo is of the more common Penstemon at this altitude, Mountain Pride, Penstemon newberryi. In certain lighting this one seems brighter than possible as if it were illuminated from the inside. Very nice against the exfoliating granite boulders. We even saw a patch atop the little rocky island in Silver Lake. Next, a view from the top of that Leichtlin's Mariposa Lily I posted yesterday. Note the dark spots at the bases of the petals. Then we have a butterfly resting on a cluster if Wild Buckwheat.
The ubiquitous shrub, Utah Serviceberry, was abundant in the shade of the huge Red Firs where we saw the Snow Plant. That one's a rose, Amelanchier utahensis. Finally, the Wild Hyacinth, Dichelostemma multiflorum. I've posted photos of it here before, but this time I found the ovaries about to burst through intriguing. It is impressive how the high altitude plants speed through their cycles. The Steer's Head, which inspired this expedition, were blooming bright white when Greg and Kelly encountered them a few days earlier, but on Tuesday they were nearly all brown and wilting. I suspect that by today they have dropped their petals and are showing their ovaries.

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