The Best of Things: Wine and Wildflowers

There are some things in this world, that we know to be indisputably good...at least, here are some my favorite good things:

  1. Wildflowers
  2. Scenic vistas
  3. People learning together
  4. Joy

Personally, the first three things instantly lead to the fourth...so when they are packaged together and I also get to drink wine, it becomes a perfect happiness-blend.

It is always a good collaboration with the good folks of the Siskiyou Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Oregon, and last week our 2nd Annual Wine and Wildflower Walk proved to be as popular as last year, and becoming a standard favorite event in the Rogue Valley. Our eclectic group consisted of about 25 guests included 4 KS Wild staff members,  botanical area volunteers, an ex-Forest Service Botanist, a local butterfly expert, some folks from Portland Native Plant Soc., new Rogue Valley residents, and some general botanophiles. Special thanks to Kristi Mergenthaler for co-leading this trip for a second year!  

Along the PCT on Soda Mountain Road you will find the Hobart Bluff trailhead in a beautiful open meadow, home to the endangered Mardon Skipper. 

Along the PCT on Soda Mountain Road you will find the Hobart Bluff trailhead in a beautiful open meadow, home to the endangered Mardon Skipper. 

We hiked along the PCT to summit Hobart Bluff in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. This is hands-down, one of the best short hikes on the Rogue Valley rim, a real gem of our BLM Backyard Forests. The volcanic bluff stands above 5,500 ft elevation and well above the level that poison oak can grow. This dramatic andesite formation at the south end of the valley provides for spectacular views north of the Rogue Valley, east toward Mt. McLaughlin, south to Mt. Shasta, and west toward Mt. Ashland. From this vantage, one can clearly see the land bridge between the Siskiyou and Cascade mountain ranges, severed by the interstate at Siskiyou Pass. 

Conifer forests, open meadows, and rocky outcrops beget diverse wildflower assemblages along the 2.5 miles of out-a-back hiking route.  Check out some photos courtesy of ABA volunteer Diane Newell-Meyer:

Cleanup surprises at Waldo-Takilma, proposed ACEC

Cleanup surprises at Waldo-Takilma, proposed ACEC

On Sunday March 20th, 2016, a group of 7 volunteers, participated in a garbage clean-up at the proposed Waldo-Takilma ACEC. The amount of trash was particularly disturbing, as it experiences regular mass dumps. Furthermore, the trash dumping promotes further damage, as it becomes an unofficial shooting range, causing direct damage to plants and creating an unsafe environment for other recreationalists.

Little Shasta Meadows Visit

The Little Shasta River in its spring glory. Photo by ABA volunteer J. Stone

The Little Shasta River in its spring glory. Photo by ABA volunteer J. Stone

Flora and Fauna:

Aspen has leafed out.  Some flowers have come out.  The area has just come out from under the snow.  Meadows are still too muddy to walk on. Many trees have fallen over the winter.

A few chipmunks.  Deer and bear tracks were seen. Several Chipping Sparrows.

Threats:

I picked up a bag of trash from the roads around the area, from several "snow parties" over the winter.

Off-road vehicle ese still evident from last year in the usual places (the two illegal roads going down into Little Shasta Meadow).

 

- ABA volunteer, Jeffery Stone

 

Little Shasta Meadow, home to the rare Greene's Mariposa Lily. Photo by J. Stone 2016

Little Shasta Meadow, home to the rare Greene's Mariposa Lily. Photo by J. Stone 2016