Thursday, July 28, 2011
One of our favorite places for wildflowers is Chiwaukum Creek near Leavenworth and on June 10th, after visiting Derby Canyon and a place near Plain where we looked for Cypripedium fasciculatum, we spent some time hiking along the creek.
Driving into the campground at the trailhead we saw a Ruffed Grouse with her chicks. We watched her for a while calling to the chicks and were able to get pictures, but the chicks kept in the vegetation at the roadside and we were unable to get any pictures of them.
After parking the car we headed for a site near the trailhead where we knew the Western Fairy Slipper (Calypso bulbosa var. occidentalis) grew and found it everywhere in the woods, often in clumps of three or four plants, something we've not seen before.
In fact the Fairy Slippers were everywhere in the woods along the creek and among them we found one plant that appeared to be a semi-alba form with no coloring in the sepals and petals. That these flowers lose their color as they die may mean that we only found an older flower.
We also found some Morels which we took home and used in omelets the next morning, but the Mountain Roses (Lewisia tweedyi) were the real hit of the day. We found them in large clumps all along the trails often on inaccessible ledges and cliffs.
We photographed the Lewisia and all the other wildflowers we found including the wild Ginger and just meandered along the unused road and then the trail for several miles, enjoying the sunshine and the rushing creek and making no effort to hurry.
Some of the wildflowers we saw were Slender Woodland Star (Lithophragma tenellum), Harsh Paintbrush (Castilleja hispida), Arrowleaf Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata), Naked Broomrape (Orobanche uniflora), Long-tailed Ginger (Asarum caudatum), and Stream Violet (Viola glabella).
We returned to our car about 2:00 and headed home relaxed and happy after a great day's outing to this favorite place. We've gone before and we'll go again if we're able. The story of a previous hike at Chiwaukum Creek can be found here: http://ronaldhanko-orchidhunter.blogspot.com/2010/06/chiwaukum-creek.html.