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Esmeralda Basin

Esmeralda Basin Trail


August 7, 2011

It was time for another trip to the Teanaway area. Earlier in the year, we did the Teanaway Ridge on eastern side off of Blewett Pass but it was time to make another trip up the valley. We were hoping the wildflowers were still going strong at Esmeralda Basin. We did this hike in 2006 so it was time for another visit.

The road was in good condition. But it was sad to see the devastation from the Western Spruce bud worm. Much of the younger trees in the forest have turned rusty red and are dying. Six miles of the road is being logged to open up the forest to potentially save it from the pest. It is sad to see such a change but it may be its only hope. We worry every year that it will erupt in a forest fire from either a campfire or lightening. Let's hope the selective logging will help save it.

The parking lot was packed - but my parking karma was working and I found a spot near the trail head. The flowers started immediately. Brilliant reds, deep blues and spattering of white and pink.

We meandered along looking for our favorites. It was too late for shooting stars but we could fine a few elephant head louseworts. We found 4 different penstemons. We found our native carnivorous butterwort along the mossy stream bed. But we were prepared for the rocky slopes covered with scarlet gilia. They looked like fireworks going off at our feet. We found a comfortable rock in the shade and watched the Rufus hummingbirds jousting for territory. They would fight beak-to-beak up in the air before flying away. The one would land on the tip of a small tree watching waiting before tearing off to get his rival out of his turf.

The trip back was quick. A cold soda at the car and we were off for home. Another lovely day botanizing.

Esmeralda Basin Trail

Monkshood - Aconitum columbianum
Aconitum columbianum - Monkshood

Ipomopsis aggregata - Scarlet gilia
Ipomopsis aggregata - Scarlet gilia

Pedicularis groenlandica - Elephant's head lousewort
Pedicularis groenlandica - Elephant's head lousewort

Penstemon serrulatus
Penstemon serrulatus

Campanula rotundifolia - harebell
Campanula rotundifolia - harebell

Butterfly on buckwheat

Western Spruce Bud worm
Western Spruce Bud worm

Damage from the spruce bud worm
Damage from the spruce bud worm

Capturing the wildflowers

Pinguicula vulgaris - butterwort
Pinguicula vulgaris - butterwort

Fields of Scarlet Gilia

Esmeralda Basin Trail

Comments (1)

Beautiful photos Marta, except for the bud worm damaged trees :-(

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