The way to the Kleena Kleene Falls goes down a road that used to service an old homestead. The road has not been maintained for years and much of it has washed out. Very soon after the highway, one enters part of the area that was burned in 2017.
Three spring seasons after the fire means the forest floor is thriving. Prominent was the gaudy Richardson’s penstemon.
Another common plant was a ceanothus species with its heavy scent – a good guy in the forest as it fixes nitrogen into the soil.
On previous trips to the falls, few views could be see because of the vegetation. Now mountains were apparent at every turn.
The bare bones of the landscape could be seen – the whole area is a big lump of volcanic basalt.
Finger Peak, the pointy mountain that dominates the view from my window, is an old volcanic core. The ravages of the fire can be clearly seen.
On this rocky viewpoint is a patch of grassland. Death cammas (a very poisonous member of the lily family) is common.
The soil is very thin here – most of the lance-leaved stonecrop had dried up but this clump was prime.
Wild roses were just starting to flower.
The upper Kleena Kleene falls is not big , but it was full of water and roaring, throwing ahead clouds of spray. To see it properly, one must cross to a central sandbar but it was not possible on this occasion.
A spotted sandpiper bobbed and curtsied nearby as it peeped at me.
I had abandoned the ATV above one of the washouts and had walked the last couple of kilometres. Suddenly there was a thrashing in the bushes and I got attacked. By a ruffed grouse! (Yes, that’s the road.)
Slowly the bird pulled in its feathers and shrank to the ground. It crept along in the washout, making a noise like a mewing cat. I’d see plenty of ptarmigan doing their wounded wing display to distract me from their babies, but never observed this grouse display before.
I had a quick look in the bushes to see if I could find a nest, but saw nothing – I didn’t want to stress the bird unduly so walked on. Behind me, the grouse walked in a wide circle and sneaked back to the nest.