I knew that there was a road close to the top of Perkins Peak. It was created for a gold mine now defunct. (This view seen from my yard.) I actually tried to find it last year in the middle of June with a bunch of volunteers, but got lost in the clearcuts although it took them only four hours to reach the summit from where I was able to drop them. I wanted to go now, because at Nuk Tessli, the rock alpines are already at their best at the end of June. I was curious as to see how the flora up here differed as different base rocks usually mean different flowers.
This year I was armed with written instructions from a friend. Some of the logging roads were new since she had last been up there so it was a little confusing. The day was spectacular. 28C was forecast at home but we hoped for cooler temperatures higher up.Soon we were encountering all kinds of alpine flowers beside the road. Silk phacelia is actually quite common around my home in dry spots, but is finished already here. It also grows occasionally at Nuk Tessli. Here it was abundant.Also beside the road was a little gem, lyall’s lupin, which is no bigger than a clover.I was blown away as to how easy it was to drive up to the alpine – albeit on a a road that was very rough in places. Moreover, up there, were three choices of destination. The mine, Emerald Lake, both of which I will explore at a another time, and the mountain itself. We parked right at the treeline. The road had been so rough and confusing, it seemed bizarre to see this well-made sign. (Apart from the road, there is no obvious trail, but the walking is easy.)We followed a creek – and realized we could have driven even higher. (The truck is in the background.)Soon I was in seventh heaven, for the flowers were exactly what I wanted to see. Moss campion.Lots of silky phacelia.And everywhere a very abundant potentilla species. The genus is notoriously difficult to sort out; this was probably P. glaucophylla.The fell fields were absolute gardens. Along with the potentillas and moss campion are lots of jacobs ladder (again, long-finished at home.) Even at this altitude it was hot.Lauren, my volunteer, liked photographing movies.She had her hood up because of the bugs. They weren’t all that bad, but they were certainly a nuisance. Because I was stopping every few minutes to photograph, I decided it would be more comfortable to wear my serious bug net. I had clear glass put in some old frames and stuck a no-see-um net to them. I wear them over my regular glasses with very little trouble. This way I can see!Lyall’s goldenweed does not grow at Nuk Tessli so I have seen it only once before. 8-petalled avens are a sure indication of alpine.Mountain marsh marigolds and mountain meadow buttercups are old friends.Mountain sorrel Cut-leafed fleabaneAnd the only specimen I found of small-flowered senecio.Jacobs ladder was all over the place. It is interesting to see how much more dwarfed in stem and bigger-flowered the same species is at these higher elevations.And silky phacelia and the potentilla were everywhere.The truck road ended at a lake. A big snow patch would have blocked us this time, but in the future I will attempt to drive to this point. The zigzag on the shady slope might have been a truck road once, but now is safe only for atvs. Someone had already been up there before us this year. Lauren and I had lunch, before we seperated again. The rest of this hike will be detailed in the next post, Perkins Peak part two.