About Me

My photo
Just a meandering soul sharing my backyard. Visit my Flickr page too! www.flickr.com/photos/meanderingwa/

Monday, June 7, 2010

Fun Weekend Fungus

There is no way that there could have been a more perfect day than Saturday. I knew it was THE day for fine weather. I was thinking I would go over to Mt Townsend and do the climb that was postponed and not restored by the Plant Society. We tried but the long range forecast for the weekend, at the time , was not good.

Saturday would have been perfect and I tried. First step on going to a place I have not been is check some resources for getting to the trail head. I found three different directions and could follow none of them on my map. That in itself is one to keep me away from a solo trip.

I headed over the pass on Hwy 2 bright and early for a trip from my Wildflower book. Chiwaukum Creek is east of Leavenworth and promised a good trail and a chance to be in lovely woods.

It was. The creek, not a dainty gurgling trickle but a roaring plunging furry was a constant noisy companion the whole way. Like the sounds of the freeway, but much more pleasant.

The Pine woods of the east side are my favorite for their scent alone. A warm still day smells the best. The understory in these woods is usually open and easy to get in to. There you find a lot of fun things like mushrooms. Today there were Coral Mushroom erupting everywhere.

As I gained altitude I started finding Morels.

Once again I am reminded about wearing a backpack instead of a hip pack and inside that pack should be a plastic container and a paper bag. Paper for mushrooms, plastic for fruit.

The first 1 1/2 mile of the trail is actually an old road that has been gated. There are a few homes tucked into the private land leading up to the National Forest. There had been a lot of recent disturbance , including some logging. This old log was totally devoid of its outer bark. This pattern shows that a Pine boring beetle had been hard at work making its art, and damage. I somehow remember reading that some species of beetle has their own distinct pattern type. I like this wild artistic pattern.

Many trees were hung with Witches Hair.

I rambled off trail in many places to look about in likely areas for unusual plants. I climbed up rock slopes for Lewisia and other rock loving flowers. Hookers Fairybells were bountiful.

I was thrilled to find Wild Ginger. This has such an unusual flower and on the wet side, if you can find it, the flower is often smooshed small and soggy under the low growing leaves. There the leaves were up and the flowers neatly arrayed for photos.

I occasionally went over to the creek to admire its power and play Pooh Sticks. At one creek side I encountered a small "flock" of butterflies. Many butterfly species sip minerals from wet dirt and mud and this is the time of year it is easy to get somewhat near to observe. I was able to sit down and watch the little blue butterflies but they were too jittery to get good photos.

I continued on until I got to a trail junction the book said was 5 1/2 miles. I had some beautiful views of open sky and canyon walls.

I pulled out my phone and was amazed that I actually had an active screen in this remote area. I also saw that it was 2:50! I had been on the trail 5 1/2 hours.

I knew I best tear myself away. I headed back down trail and tried not to stop... to much

This fine butterfly, a Green Comma, was lazy in the late day sun and I was able to get a decent picture.

I encountered a flock of small blue butterflies that flew up from the ground like confetti. They allowed me to sit down next to the moist spot they were sipping on and I got some nice pictures. They are Spring Azure.

It took me 1 hour and 15 minutes to get back to the car. This does not count the time spent talking to two fellows about the trail and the mushrooms. They convinced me Coral Mushroom is good eating.

Sunday came as promised. Rainy and dreary. After a breakfast of sauteed Coral with egg I headed back east of the mountains. I had a couple places in mind and I would decide when I got there. I figured the rain would be stopped by the time I got to Easton... or Cle Elum...

or not

I threw in the towel figuring perhaps if I went north a ways the rain would stop

or not

I need to add a poncho to the "backpack for every purpose" that should be living in the trunk.

I returned to the Blue Creek Trail that climbs to Red Top. This was a feature write up in the Native Plant Society newsletter. I knew Red Top from a visit last summer and wanted to see Washington Twinpod in bloom. I located some Mountain Ladyslipper orchids that the author said should be in a location. They are not yet blooming. Indeed everything in this area seems to be a few weeks off schedule. On this trail the only flowers open seemed to be the yellow Glacier Lily and violets, very early spring flowers. There was still snow in some of the north facing slopes.

Along the very steep trail I did find some wonderful Ponderosa Pines with lower limbs frosted with moss. I loved the look.

Near the top I did find some Twinpod starting to bloom. I will have to return and get the plants in full bloom to complete my set of photos of this curious flower.

I also lost the trail, which the author said was easy to do. With the clearing of the weather and the dampness of myself I felt done.

I had a good 1000 feet/1 mile stretch of the legs and my pockets were full of Morels. I knew if I left now I could be in range of the NPR station that broadcasts "The Splendid Table" at 200pm. That always puts me in the mood. Sunday there was even a discussion of light red wines for Summer. Getting home by three I had decided I would fricassee the mushrooms with chicken and onion. I stopped at the store form some shallots and a nice Spanish Crianza.

I used a bit too much Rosemary


  1. Great hike, great pictures and I'm envious.

  2. You really outdid yourself! As always, I enjoyed your hike. And, I don't have all of the aches and pains to go along with it. ;-D

  3. Hee the only disconcerting issue was Sundasy coming down the steep slope. It felt like my left ankle was having a bit of trouble with its "check ligament". Sort of not putting on the resist, wobby and having control issues.

    Ron you have to do this trail to Red Top
    Platanthera Goodyeara some good prospects for 3 - 4 weeks out. Montanum right on the road, 4 ready in about 2 weeks?

  4. Your photos are beautiful - I especially like the ones of the wild ginger flowers & butterflies. Looks like you had a wonderful and very scenic time !