Hunting Calochortus bruneaunis

July 18, 2007: Burns, Harney County, OR: Marvin and I were up early this morning, ready to hunt for Calochortus bruneaunis. Continental breakfast at the motel began at 6:00 AM so we had a couple of fat pills, a couple cups of coffee and headed for the Alvord Desert. It promised to be a warm day and a gusty wind was swirling dust devils in the desert. We stopped roadside a few times to check for wildflowers but the heat and the wind made life outside the air conditioned comfort of the car miserable.

Alvord Desert
Alvord Desert 7/18/2007

As we passed the Alvord Desert we were surprised to see a fairly large encampment. Airplanes and sailplanes were tethered to the ground. We saw one brave soul wind sailing across the dry lake bed that forms the desert. The temperature was above ninety and the wind must have been blowing about 40 knots.

Our location data for C. bruneaunis was vague and we were unable to find any specific information. Regional roadmaps for this area have not been published by government agencies like BLM so we had to rely on commercially prepared highway maps… in many cases we could not find the side roads indicated on our maps.

Wild Burro
wild burro Nevada 7/18/2007

We crossed into Nevada at Denio then turned west on State Route 140 toward Lakeview. We were delighted to see a wild burro standing roadside and the high desert scenery was magnificent, sagebrush and rocky outcrops dominating the view.

Crossing the Warner Mountains it began to rain and the temperature dropped to 65 degrees… much more comfortable.

We arrived in Lakeview early afternoon so we stopped at the Interagency Headquarters seeking information. Unfortunately their botanist was in the field but Dianne, the receptionist, was very helpful. She thought we were a few weeks late in our hunt for wildflowers but she did show us some areas that might still have flowers in bloom.

There are four motels in Lakeview. All four had “no vacancy” signs displayed. We were fortunate to find rooms a few miles north at Hunter’s Lodge. Gasoline stations, restaurants, and motels are rare in these parts so make plans accordingly. Top off the fuel tanks when you have opportunity and make reservations ahead. We carry a refrigeration unit in the car so we can keep some perishable foods. We also carry a generous supply of potable water.


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