Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Looking for the Helgramites, Part I

Hellgrammites (preferred).  Two different maps, one field guide, and three different spellings!  I decided to go with the dictionary.  I thought the etymology of the word might shed some light, but my Webster's says "origin unknown."  Anyway, this is the first in a series of photos taken on our July 25 hike to the Hellgrammite Lakes and beyond.  We had originally planned to circle the group of lakes known as "the Bears," but the parking lot was full of hikers' vehicles, and we sensed that the Bears were the most popular destination.  Although our hike promised spectacular scenery, like all hikes in this region, our motivation became mainly to get away from people.  The first sight, below eye level, that caught my interest was this shrub know as Huckleberry Oak (above) among other names.  There were some "mid-life" acorns on it as well as some leaf galls.
In the same mass of shrubs was a lot of Pinemat Manzanita.  Click on the image for a close-up and better appreciation of the cute "little apples."
This large rock bore a great example of glacial scrapings which are evidence for how this basin was created.
This photo shows my wife and the typical look of the trail for the first couple of miles.  The higher we got, the more lakes we could see.
Our first good view of Long Lake whetted the appetite for trying to get all the way to the summit of Mt. Elwell shown here in the background.  We had hiked up there from the Jamison Mine many years ago and had lunch.  It would have been nice to reminisce, but for reasons coming up shortly, we never made it.
Zooming in for a better view of Elwell.
The mistletoe that grows on conifers is usually yellow-brown and not very leafy.  There is a different species of mistletoe on each species of tree.  The above cluster is growing on a Western White Pine, the higher altitude cousin of Sugar Pine, characterized by needles that are in bundles of five (below), and long, spineless cones that are a smaller version of the cones of the more familiar Sugar Pine.

Here we have a view over Long Lake from a slightly greater distance than the previous photos, just a few yards shy of our first lake visit.
Silver Lake is surrounded by good-sized trees.  We stopped here for lunch.  There's a side trail here leading to the aforementioned Bear Lakes, so we had one last chance to consider going there.  Having
not encountered anyone on the trail so far, it was a no-brainer:  continue on the the Hellgrammites.
[If you happened to read this before I corrected the typos, I'm sorry.  I shouldn't try these posts when I'm tired or in a hurry.]

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