Carduus nutans

August 3, 2007: Slide Lake, Lake County, OR: Chris finished installation of a 105 gallon fuel transfer tank on the Dodge and we were itching to take it on the road. When we are trekking around remote areas we no longer have to worry about finding a diesel pump when we run low on fuel.

We decided to give finding Calochortus bruneaunis another try in Southern Oregon so we packed our camping gear and headed south, essentially reversing the route that Marvin and I took a few weeks ago. Chris packed his fishing gear as well so we were intent on combining hobbies.

Our route took us through Redmond and Bend on US 97. It’s best to use businesses on the right side of the road so you don’t have to cross traffic to get back on your way. Traffic seems to be at rush hour status no matter the time of day so getting back on the highway can be a chore in the vicinity of those two towns.

Once we turned south on State Highway 31 near LaPine other traffic virtually disappeared and we had the highway to ourselves.

Musk Thistle
Musk Thistle (Carduus nutans) Slide Mountain 8/4/2007

We intended to camp near Slide Lake, south of Summer Lake. On the way in we found Carduus nutans (Musk Thistle) growing roadside. The thistle is a noxious weed and is unpalatable to livestock. Each flower head can produce 1,200 seeds, each plant can produce 120,000 seeds, and the seeds can remain viable for ten years. Once started the plant is difficult to eradicate. If you want to help, clip the seed heads, bag them and burn them when they dry.

We arrived at our planned campsite in time to set up the tent and fix dinner before nightfall. As we lounged in our camp chairs we watched bats come out in the gloaming. We watched satellites pass overhead and were treated to the sight of the space station silently streaking across the sky.


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