Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Having driven up from the Columbia River gorge the previous evening (June 12th) and after spending the night in the back of our van near Leavenworth, we spent the day in the area of Leavenworth, checking out several sites where we knew native orchids were to be found.
Our first stop was Derby Canyon, just east of Peshastin and southeast of Leavenworth. We had been there many times before, but this time drove further up the canyon than we had ever gone before and finding the scenery spectacular as the sun rose on a beautiful day.
We stopped for pictures of the Cascades to the west and of the sandstone ridges that run through the area separating the different canyons from each other. The area is quite dry, being on the eastern side of the Cascades, but it was a wildflower paradise.
Some of the wildflowers we saw were Columbia Lilies, Tweed's Lewisias (one of our favorite native wildflowers and unique to this area), several wild Roses that I have trouble identifying, the Common Snowberry, Lyall's Mariposa Lilies, Shrubby Penstemons and Round-leaf Alumroot.
There were other things to photograph as well, insects and butterflies, but the high point of the time we spent in the canyon was finding our old friends, the Mountain Lady's Slippers in the same place we had seen them previous years, though there were not as many this year.
We spent a considerable amount of time trying to get photos, but the area was dark with a lot of dappled sunshine that made photography difficult. We persevered and came away with some good photos, however, my wife getting the best of them all, as is often the case.
On our way home we stopped briefly at Chiwaukum Creek to see if any Fairy Slippers were still blooming there along the creek. Most were finished, but we found one very nice clump which we took the time to photograph before heading for home and its comforts.