Into the great wide open,
Under them skies of blue
Out in the great wide open,
A rebel without a clue
Tom Petty, Into the Great Wide Open
Tuesday was a great day. I went up to a high alpine wetland (about 9000 feet) and wandered around. I was looking for more kinnickinnick – I didn’t realize it was a wetland until I got there, so of course, I did not find any. However, I did find some gooseberries:
And something that looks suspiciously like young nettle shoots:
I have found that among smaller perennials and biennials, that it is common here for young plants to sprout late in the season. Most of the mullien I have collected lately has been just that: young second year plants that will never go to seed because the season is too late. So I am not at all unwilling to consider the possibility that it is, in fact, newly sprouted stinging nettle.
I also found Holly Grape – a member of the berberis family, growing under the canopy. It’s very distinctive and the fruit is tart – and not in season, but there’s always next year.
After checking out the high country, we(the dog and I) decided to finally go have a look at our local fishing ponds (coming from the midwest, I am hard pressed to deem them lakes 🙂 ). First, we went to Franz lake and just as I had given up on finding anything exciting, I found a big beautiful stand of cattails. In fact, they were growing above the current waterline, so I may go back and harvest some – but I’ll need a shovel…
Franz Lake also afforded a fabulous view of some of our western mountains:
Then we went to Sands Lake. Even smaller than Franz, but feeding directly into the river, Sands Lake is apparently a favorite haunt of the local water fowl:
And then we hit it big. Burdock everywhere I looked.
Wild Parsnip (although I have work to do to make certain it is Parsnip and not water hemlock).
And once more, I found plants that were both correct for the season… and not. This is a strange ecology:-)