Friday, February 17, 2012

Some Winter Botanizing

Hiking in the vicinity of Gilson Creek in freezing weather, we encountered little pockets of warmth where signs of spring were apparent.  Some of these plants were growing near the railroad tracks with full sun exposure.  They might get covered with snow several more times this winter, but in these areas the snow melts quickly each time and most plants emerge no worse for the wear.  Some will even bloom then get covered with snow then bloom again.  To me, a large measure of their beauty is their hardiness.  The source of Gilson Creek is high up on Mt. Hough and it flows into Spanish Creek between Oakland Camp and Keddie at a spot that is a botanical wonderland in spring and summer.  Also, where the creek crosses a dirt road just before entering Spanish Creek many kinds of butterflies gather.  For the patient, it's also a great spot for sighting Dippers, Mergansers, Osprey, Beavers and River Otters.

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