Maupin, OR March 30, 2007

Maupin, Wasco County, OR: Marvin and I drove to Maupin in central Oregon, then followed the Deschutes river downstream to Sherar’s Bridge. We stopped at pullouts, looking for Viola trinervata. We didn’t find any but enjoyed the scenic gorge with its multiple layers of lava that form cliffs along the drainage.

We also took time to drive a short distance west on highway 216 to see the White River Falls, a spectacular cataract that plummets 90 feet.

We continued down the Deschutes as far as Macks Canyon where the gravel road ends at a campground much used by fishermen who drift the lower Deschutes.

We continued our trip by heading north on US 97, crossed the Columbia on the Biggs Rapids Bridge and then turned west on highway 14 in Washington. We turned north again on the Dalles Mountain road intending to look for wildflowers in that vicinity. It was very windy and a little early for the bloom so we continued downriver to Catherine Creek near Lyle. It was late in the afternoon with rain threatening and the wind blowing a gale but we took the loop trail below the highway. The Grass Widows were gone but many other flower species are in bloom now.

Dodecatheon poetica
Dodecatheon poetica Catherine Creek 3/30/2007

Dodecatheon poeticum at Catherine Creek

We’ll be back soon.

byLarry

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Culver, OR March 26, 2007

Culver, Jefferson County, OR: Haystack Grange… Traveling with Marvin… We drove highway 26 across the Mount Hood corridor toward Madras. There were plenty of signs warning travelers to carry chains or traction tires because of snow conditions. We found the road totally clear, no snow clinging to the trees but with some traces of snow on the ground.

We found a few wildflowers in bloom after leaving the timber on the desert side… Oregon Sunshine, Whitlow Grass, and a very little blue flower which I have not yet identified.

We had some time on our hands at Culver so took a short tour of Lake Billy Chinook formed by Round Butte Dam. We toured the Cove Palisades State Park, driving across the bridge over the Crooked River and continuing on past “The Island”… technically not an island but an interesting rock formation that isolates about 200 acres from casual observers and livestock. The Island is now a Research Natural Area (RNA) and is closed except to permit holders conducting research.

The Island
The Island, Metolius

Other than spectacular rock formations we found little of interest… spring has not arrived in this portion of Oregon.

We also made a loop around Haystack Reservoir, again not finding anything turning green. There were a few RV’s, probably fishermen, at the campground.

Crossing back through the Mount Hood Corridor we found it had snowed several inches… the trees were covered with snow… but the road was clear allowing for regular highway speeds for traffic.

byLarry

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Finding the Fetid Adder’s Tongue March 17, 2007

Saddle Mountain, Clatsop County, OR: The weather forecaster promised a sunny day so Marvin and I headed for Saddle Mountain in search of the Oregon Fetid Adder’s Tongue (aka Slink Lily). It turned out to be cool and overcast… perfect for photography… and we weren’t disappointed.

Closeup of the Slink Lily flower.

Oregon Fetid Adder's Tongue
Oregon Fetid Adder’s Tongue (Scoliopus hallii) uncommon

 

Liverwort
Liverwort (Conocephalum conicum) Saddle Mountain

Toward the end of our field trip a light drizzle materialized but it didn’t dampen our enthusiasm for spending the day in the outdoors.

byLarry

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Road Closed (except snowmobiles) March 16, 2007

La Grande OR: On the return trip from La Grande I decided to exit I-84 to follow highway 244 to Ukiah and follow the Blue Mountain Scenic Byway to Heppner. About 5 miles out of Ukiah the road 53 to Heppner was barricaded and closed to all vehicles except snowmobiles. Yes, there was a sign saying the road was closed but I didn’t believe it… unfortunately it was true. What now.

I followed Highway 395 south to Long Creek finding a few buttercups in bloom roadside.

Sagebrush Buttercup
Sagebrush Buttercup (Ranunculus glaberrimus) Highway 395 3/16/2007

At Long Creek I turned north to Monument and then connected with highway 19 at Kimberly then followed the John Day river downstream.

I stopped roadside to stretch my legs and found this Yellow Bell (Fritillaria pudica).

Fritillaria pudica
Yellow Bells (Fritillaria pudica) John Day river 3/16/2007

 

Doctors recommend drivers stop every 50 miles and walk around the car. I choose to look for wildflowers.

byLarry

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Summit Road Closed March 15, 2007

La Grande OR: Crossing the Blue Mountains on I-84 I noticed scraps of snow roadside. Elevation at the crest is 4, 193 feet. Summit road exits about 12 miles from La Grande and leads the way into some of the finest wildflower territory in Oregon. This day the road was closed about a mile and a half from the freeway because of snow. Snow mobiles only… a park permit is necessary until April 30th. I’ll try again later.

These two lichens growing on a dead pine limb caught my eye.

Lichen
Lichen Summit road 3/16/2007

byLarry

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