Sunday, August 21, 2011
White Pine Lake
This weekend's addition to the places I'd never been collection... White Pine Lake. About 9 miles round trip and 2400 ft up to the lake. So a long hike and up hill for sure, but for the most part not horribly, hatefully steep. This winter's record snow fall was still evident as we got above treeline and a good section of trail was snow packed. Climbing up the snowfield and then picking our way through a boulder field added to the adventure. Of course what goes up, must come down, and it is the gingerly trek down the snow field on the way back that I find a bit unnerving. I was amused by the spider I found walking across the snow, for the life of me I can not figure out why a spider would be out traversing the snow.
Utah is a desert, so even in the mountain trails tend to be fairly dry, except at sporadic steam crossings. This trail surprised me by crossing numerous, presumably spring fed, boggy areas. So we were treated to moss, ferns elephant head flowers and even some liverworts. You all my think I'm crazy but I was thrilled to see liverworts. I studied botany in college, so of course I had a class where I had to learn all about these primitive, non vascular plants. It felt good to reach back into my botanical knowledge, kind of like going back to my roots (pun intended). Yes I am a nerd, but I thought it was nice to get to do little bonding with some bryophytes!
And while I am on a botanical bend I have to mention something about the Indian Paintbrush plants that I am so enamored with. The pretty colored "flowers" aren't really flowers, they are bracts, specialized leaves, that in this case are colored. Colored in beautiful shade of pinks, oranges, magentas and reds! But on today's hike the paintbrush was really in flower. See the yellow petals nestled among the orange? Those are the actual flowers. Thanks for enrolling in Botany 101!
Oh, and while we are in botany class.... yes, it's called White Pine Lake, but the "pine trees" are actually firs! (Same is true at Red Pine Lake)
It sure is hard to get a picture that really gives a feel for these steep snowy spots.
Elephanthead - another favorite of mine.... genus Pedicularis, just had to say that because I like how it sounds, almost as much as I like how the flowers look!
Perhaps it's easier to traverse the snow if you have 8 legs!