Tag Archives: moss gentian

First Trip Into The Mountains

On the initial day of the heatwave, I had the first trip into the mountains this year. Perkins Peak area was the destination (this view from my deck.)

Perkins peak

It happened to be the full moon – for some weird reason dubbed a strawberry moon.

strawberry moon

I left early, heading for the mountains alone in my “new” and distinctly unreliable truck, but was in touch with neighbour Jade by radiophone. Vehicle tracks led up to Miner Lake, and less distinct tire marks went higher so I was not the first to go up there this year. Last year a multiple washout made the road difficult, but this year, it wasn’t too bad.

It was a brilliant, cloudless morning. Both extensive logging and the fire have made a lot of impact.

The flowers through the cutbacks were lovely. Wild roses filled the air with a wonderful scent. Miner Lake behind – what great views now the forest is out of the way!

miner lake

Nearby was a vivid show of Richardson’s Penstemon.

richardson's pentstemon

A bit higher up I decided to abandon the truck. So much pleasanter to ride the ATV. A wonderful clump of Columbine – it likes semi-shade but despite the enforced nakedness of it’s position, it seems to be thriving.

western Columbine

Then I hit the lupin zone.

The leafy green stuff is fireweed – I’ll have to try and time it for the flowering stage.

lupin zone

There were also paintbrush


It is unusual to find paintbrush and lupin prime together – usually the lupins are earlier. However, I fear the heatwave will fry them all up pretty quickly.

Higher up, the burned forest crowds the road. Here is a burned tree monster.

Heart leaved arnica like this area – a wonderful contrast to the black trees.

heart leaved arnica

And now into the subalpine. There is a gravel flat that always has the most amazing flower display. Mauve Jacob’s ladder, purple silky phacelia, and yellow potentilla. I anticipated great things higher up.

But above the tree line, there were hardly any Jacob’s ladder, and even the ubiquitous potentilla was sparse. (Hard to get vibrant colour in the strong sunlight.)

But it was a year for eight-petalled avens.

eight-petalled avens

There were a few alpine forgetmenots.

alpine forgetmenot

Some silky phacelia – not as common as in previous years,

silky phacelia

And the inevitable moss campion

moss campion

A little creek hosted mountain marsh marigold and globe flowers. (The marsh marigolds have more petals.)

mountain marsh marigold, globe flower

Shortly after this, a snowbank covered the road. Not very big but too steep to risk getting the ATV through it. This is always an interesting flower spot, and even though a lot of it was covered in snow, there was plenty to see.

Red heather – note the open bells.

red heather

Yellow heather – it’s bells are almost closed.

yellow heather

And the hybrid pink heather. It’s flowers are half way in between in shape as well as colour.

pink heather hybrid

White heather (of which there are 2 species) is from a different genus.

Cut leafed fleabane was just starting to bloom – this one has a pinkish cast.

In the damper areas above the snow were: bog laurel

bog laurel

A few mountain meadow buttercups (their petals are much shinier than the potentilla’s)

Lyall’s louseworts just peeking out,

lyall's lousewort

And a single moss gentian. (This is very tiny.)

moss gentian

The rocks around Perkins Peak are always fascinating.

Early on, there was no wind and the bugs were a bit of a pest. Not many, but very, very hungry! Now a breeze started, and I was driving into it. It was sheer heaven – comfortable in shirt sleeves tootling along in the sunshine. A bonus was an early sighting of mountain harebells. A different penstemon is clustered behind.

mountain harebell

I dreaded reaching the truck. Temps were forecast for 32C and I expected the vehicle to be cooking inside. I unlocked it – and then realized I’d left all the windows open! The ambient thermometer registered 27C – I didn’t hit 32C until I dropped down to the highway. So a great place to spend a hot day. Today, on the third day of the heatwave, the thermometer is recording 36C (which is 98 American.). It’s supposed to get hotter yet.