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Tag Archives: fireweed

It’s the peak of summer now with hot days and hills covered in tall dry grass. Everyday we don’t have a wildfire, we are grateful. I rarely take my camera out on days like this but today I did and I found lots of beauty in the everyday scenes around here.

We were at Tiffany for the peak of the fireweed (Chamerion angustifolium) bloom! This tall lavender-pink perennial often comes in after a fire. The Tripod fire burned there nearly ten years ago and the fireweed is still very abundant. I was surprised to learn that its pollen turns blue as the flowers mature. The dogs were spotted with the fine powdery blue pollen. Lots of the wildflowers had mostly finished blooming but we did find some colorful blooms to entertain us along the way.

Just a few images from our hillside. Lots of baby birds this time of year.

Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park is straight up in the mountains from Kokanee Creek Provincial Park. It is a long bumpety bump drive to get there through many kilometers of industrial demonstration forest. There was a warning that the road was not for low-clearance vehicles nor for the faint of heart. We took it slow since the boats were still on the roof of the truck and we did not want them to get jostled around too much. It was fortuitous that the boats were with us as the road ended rather abruptly at a beautiful high mountain lake – the kind that we generally think we have to hike many miles to see. We had intended to go for a hike to another lake but with spectacular Gibson Lake before us it seemed like the only thing to do was get the boats down and go for a paddle. And you know, Ken had his fishing tackle with him so he was sure to wet a line. He enjoyed catching cutthroat trout that he promptly released. I poked around the edges of the lake and found a Solitary Sandpiper in addition to the more common Spotted Sandpipers and I was surprised to find a Great Blue Heron. I just don’t expect to find them at an elevation of 6000′. I imagine it was migrating and maybe it was young too. I watched it hunt – poking its long bill into nooks and crannies – and it often came up with a bite to eat but I could not see what it was catching.

Finally we had enough of the water and thought we ought to check out the trail. It was 4.5 kilometers to the next lake so we put on our packs and started up. The mosquitoes were horrific. And it was late in the afternoon – already 4:00 – and we did not have more food so after a couple k of enjoying the views and the wildflowers, we turned back and returned to camp.

But the most interesting part of the visit may have been seeing cars surrounded by chicken wire! We both have lots of experience at trailheads and had never seen such a sight.

Yesterday I hiked to Tiffany Mountain again. You may recall that Luna and I walked that trail back in July. Pictures are here. This time, my friend Marcy and her dog Guthrie went along. It started out fairly chilly with Marcy wearing a wool sweater but soon we were warm and enjoying the trail. It was good to be at a high elevation. Our valley is full of smoke from forest fires burning in various places throughought north central Washington. It looks like some will burn til the snow falls. Right now, there is no rain in the forecast to dampen them.

Tiffany looks much different than it did in July. At that time the snow was newly melted and the ground was moist and wildflowers were coming in to bloom. Yesterday, the trail was dusty; most flowers were dried and the grass was crisp. The verdant greens were gone replaced with dusty yellows and oranges. The first larch trees have turned yellow.


Exuberant dogs, happy to out of the car and on the trail


Stopping for a break in the sun, Guthrie expressed interest in my snacks


Layers of forest fire smoke fill the valleys and obliterate the views


A cool rock


If there’s an edge, Luna will stand next to it and look down


Tiffany Lake in the distance


Lunch away from the edge and sheltered from the breeze. The smoke is getting higher.


Looking back at the mountain top


Lots to photograph along the trail


We both enjoyed this red leafed plant with tiny leaves.


Fall colors


And still some paintbrush in bloom!


The first yellow larch trees


We were late for the fireweed flowers


The seedheads are pretty interesting and still colorful


An old burned forest.


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