22 June 2010

Happy Solstice

Happy Summer Solstice! As we transition to summer, it's sunnier & warmer day-by-day. Some years, after a June when it might rain every day, we can go July-August-September with nary a cloud in the sky. Friend Dave Carter & I took the dogs for a hike, intending to go fairly high in the East Pioneer Mtn Range south of Butte, Montana. Above the Hecla Mine, however, the snow was just melting off and the ground was soggy. We took a look at Granite Peak, turned around at the road's end, and headed back down the valley a few miles to hike a sagebrush park:

The mule deer, like these two yearlings (born last spring), are shedding their winter coats. Given the disproportionally large head and short nose that marks a yearling, I can never understand how hunters mistake them for adult deer:

There were a lot of wildflowers blooming, so I'll skip the narrative and get right to the pics, including Desert Evening Primrose (Oenothera caespitosa; sorry it was splashed by dirt from the recent rains):

Lanceleaf Stonecrop (Sedum lanceolatum):

Mountain Death Camas (Zigadenus elegans; I wonder what eats the leaves?):

Field Pussytoes (Antennaria neglecta):

Vetch (Hedysarum spp):

Prairie Rocket (Erysimum asperum):

Textile Onion (Allium textile):

A Mule-Ear species, I think (Wyethia spp):

Oregon Grape (Berberis repens):

And Bristly Cryptantha (Cryptantha interrupta):

The wet spring weather also has the mushrooms fruiting. All lovely and tasty looking, but I don't want to be part of a Darwinian natural selection project. The last one is probably an edible and very tasty Bolete (note it's been munched). The first one is like many of us in the workplace--fed a lot of crap and kept in the dark:

Toward hike's end, we cut through an aspen stand on our way down to the truck. Nice claw marks from where a bear climbed one:

JackTheDog was happy to find a spring for a cool soak:

While MollyTheDog could enjoy a minute with an elk bone:

Still waiting for the rivers to drop a bit for trout fishing, but in the meantime life is good.


troutbirder said...

A good hike in the mountain air, a friend, dogs, fascinating wildflowers etc. but the corker was the mushroom workplace analogy. Indeed life is good, for me especially with retirement from the office mushrooms. :)

Janie said...

Great photos from your hike. Funny to see the mushroom growing on a cowpie (and your analogy!)
Looks like a good time was had by all, including the dogs.

Elizabeth said...

Love your analogy of the mushroom - so very true! Looks like you and your friend had a wonderful hike with the fresh air, gorgeous wildflowers and wildlife. MollyTheDog must love finding all those bones :)

gardenpath said...

I didn't know one single wildflower you posted. Are they alpine wildflowers?

We have been having lots of rain, too, but haven't seen many mushrooms. So you think they are safe if they have been nibbled? That is something to keep in mind if I ever find myself having to forage.

Cutthroat Stalker said...

ER, Classic bear sign - very nice. I wish I knew my mushrooms, I'd love to collect my own, but I'm not willing to be a project either. You always struck me as a mushroomer - I'm surprised you're not (don't know why - I guess it's your vast knowledge of flora.

-scott c

Lisa Wilson said...

Great photos! Maybe it is finally summer!

secret agent woman said...

I love the summer solstice and got to spend it this year at the beach. Of course, here we are well into summer when it hits.

tsduff said...

Can I just please "Spack" your brain? You know so much about the botany - I would love to know what you know.