Friday, August 17, 2012
Old Blewett Road
On the way home from our Oregon and California trip we took Highway 97 all the way up through Oregon from Crater Lake through the city of Bend, across the Columbia River, through central Washington and the Yakima Valley, and on up through Blewett Pass to Leavenworth where we took Highway 2 and Stevens Pass across the mountains and from there headed home.
Blewett Pass is one of our favorite areas with plenty to explore and plenty to find. This time we explored the Old Blewett Road which runs for ten miles through the mountains more or less following the main highway. We went there looking for a large stand of Mountain Lady's Slippers, but they must have been finished because we did not find them, though we looked carefully.
We did find plenty of other things, though, as we always do, including two native orchids. In a wet area along the road we found numerous Tall White Bog Orchis with a number of butterflies feeding on them and further down the road a few of the Alaskan Piperia blooming. Both are orchids we've seen before but both are a delight, especially the highly fragrant bog orchids.
We also found other wildflowers we had not seen before, including Scarlet Gilia and Washington Twinpod with its distinctive twin bladder-like seed pods. There were hundreds of small butterflies feeding on the Creeping Snowberry and more Pinedrops than we had ever seen before. They were everywhere, some of them in large clumps.
I am not very good at identifying butterflies, partly for lack of reference material, but believe they are (in order), the Field Crescent (Phyciodes campestris), the Snowberry Checkerspot (Euphydryas colon - three photos), the Small Wood Nymph (Cercyonis oetus), the Propetius Dusky Wing Skipper (Erynnis propetius), and the Indra Swallowail (Papilio indra).
Even though we do not always find what we are looking for we always find something interesting when we are exploring. Serendipity, the habit of finding things that we are not looking for certainly characterizes our meanderings and always makes out trips a delight, whether nearby or far away, whether shorter or longer, whether in Washington or elsewhere.