Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Sunny Day

 Hiked from Silver Lake to Gold Lake today.  Not sure what possessed us to head up that way on a holiday weekend, but it was interesting.  Very crowded around the campground.  Took brief notice of the amazing amount of junk people bring on camping trips, and savored the thought that most were staying in camp, in tents even, with the sounds of cell hones and other electronic devices wafting over the sounds of chipmunks and birds.  A few yards past the Silver Lake dam, and we were relatively alone for the entire hike.  Tomorrow, I need to "camp out" in front of a closed cafe or the library library where the Internet speed is sufficient to post more photos from the hike.  Here at home, it is pathetic.  It took extreme patience just to load these four.  The Snow Plant above is the first one I've seen this year, and it was fairly well-hidden at the edge of the road to Silver Lake at around 5,000'.  I was lucky to spot it.
 The glaciated granite slopes surrounding GOld Lake were loaded with patches of Mountain Pride Penstemon.
 ALso at the edge of the Silver Lake Road, but much lower, maybe around 4,000', were a few Leichtlin's Mariposa Lilies.  This one has a visitor.  I think it was a Checkered Clerid Beetle, but it flew off before I could get a closer look.
Not the brightest of the group, but the most thrilling to me, was this blooming Baneberry.  This is the first time I've managed to find it in bloom.  I often see the bright red berries later in the season, but forget to check those same spots during the blooming season.  They're not that noticeable because they usually grow in shady wet areas surrounded by other broad-leaf foliage.  The leaves resemble those of wild raspberry without spines.  This time, I remembered that they grow near the popular spring on the Meadow Valley road a few miles out of Quincy.  I stopped to check, and there they were.  I marvel at this plant partly because I seldom find it and partly because it belongs to the Buttercup Family, Ranunculaceae.  You've got to get seriously botanical to see why Buttercups, Columbine, Monkshood, and Baneberry are in the same family.

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