Friday, May 27, 2011

Derby Canyon

Out and about on Friday, May 13th, we left Ellensburg after finishing our hike at Manastash Ridge and headed for the area of Leavenworth, Washington.  Leavenworth is a faux Bavarian tourist town that is of no interest at all to us, though we have been through it hundreds of times, but the area is worth exploring.

We went first to Derby Canyon near Peshastin, Washington, a favorite spot for wildflowers and were not disappointed.  Hiking one of the ridges in the area we found few wildflowers in bloom besides the Balsamroots.  One plant we were looking for, the Western Peony was in bud but not in flower.

Derby Canyon has some interesting rock formations, part of the Chumstick formation which also includes Pinnacles State Park.  This strange sandstone monolith is at the top of the ridge we climbed and walked looking for wildflowers.  It stands about 20 feet tall and dominates the ridge line.

As we were leaving, however, my wife spotted several clumps of Lewisia tweedyi growing on the rocks of the ridge high above us.  We climbed up and took quite some time admiring and photographing them and then moved on to a lower area where we found Trillium petiolatum in bloom.

As is evident from the photos, the Lewisia is one of our most beautiful wildflowers and the Trillium one of our most unusual.  Those two made the whole trip worthwhile, though we would have liked to have seen in the Peony, a six inch high clump of feathered leaves, in flower.

Our last stop was near Plain, north of Leavenworth, where we were looking for several plant including a rare Lady's Slipper.  We did not find what we were looking for in bloom, but found the forest floor carpeted with the Oregon Anemone, Anemone oregana.  The Glacier Lilies were there, too, but they were past their prime.

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