In which I spend nine days in the wilderness and take a few pictures

The Renegade ridecamp is held in a popular camping and recreation area.  It's beautiful, well-kept, and just remote enough to appeal to people who want to "get away from it all" without having to hike for a week into the backcountry.  

That means that the "parade" past my rig each morning was always worth getting out of bed to watch:
 (The jeepers were very well-behaved this year, as they almost always are; last year we had some big problems with jeepers pulling down our ribbons and scratching out the lime marks on the trails, but this year we were back to peaceful co-existance).


Several backcountry horse groups met up for day rides and overnights while we were in camp.  They are great people, and we like sharing trails with them
 (even if they do go r-e-e-e-e-eally slowly most of the time!)


It's "blooming time" in the mountains for many of the flowers:
 Paintbrush
 Lupin


Yarrow and Wild Garlic (Onion??)
Outstanding in the field!  This field of flowers was also full of happy little bees--they sounded like teeny-tiny motorcycles as they zoomed from bloom to bloom.


A better photo of Paintbrush

Not sure what this flower is called, but there's a little mountain butterfly that is exactly the same size and shade of purple!


Wild strawberry


Oregon Grape
Ladyslipper (???)

Trillium


Wild roses


The trees were also blooming, and most of us had to take allergy meds because cottonwood pookh was everywhere.  The evergreen trees were showing plenty of new growth as well:


This was a very strange plant.  Some were perfectly ordinary, but nearby, others were covered in black ants.

 I have no idea what kind of plant it is, or why the ants were so crazy about some individuals but not others.  I didn't want to get too close, either.  Ants kinda give me the creeps.

Even the fungi were growing like crazy:
This one (above) looked exactly like the bottom of a pineapple.

Speaking of fungi:


This was a bumper-crop year for morel mushrooms, and our group made several forays into the forest to find bunches of them.   Yum!

I have never seen so many elk in a single week.  Our trail is at precisely the same elevation as the best elk-forage.  The elk are usually much higher on the mountain when we hold our ride, but the longer-than-usual winter and cooler-than-usual spring weather has kept the elk (and the lush grass) down in the lower meadows.
 We not only encountered elk on the trails and meadows, but also frequently saw them close to the roads.  Mike and Gail installed an "elk-catcher" on their truck this year, similar to the "cow-catchers" on the front of old trains!

There was at least one elk who didn't survive the winter:
Closer examination of the leg show that the hoof of this animal is not quite right:
so it was probably injured and was taken down by one of the cougars in the area.  We didn't see any other sign of cougars, but we know they're there.  We did see bear sign, but didn't see any bears.

I also saw plenty of wildlife that didn't stand around to be photographed, including a barred owl, many Western Tanagers, a bunch of very vocal ravens, either a bunch of red-tailed hawks or a single hawk who followed me frequently, and a white-footed hare (snowshoe hare???).

A lot of the time, my view looked like this:
 cracked front window of Gail's truck

 So I hopped out of the truck frequently to take pictures without the window in the way.

 I also took a lot of photos of Madeline and Hana.

But mostly, what I took pictures of
 were
 DRAGON'S
 EARS!


 Life is good.

Comments

  1. Just Beautiful! Wish I'd been able to spend a week up there too -

    ReplyDelete
  2. Does Fee have flowers woven into her mane?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Fee is wearing a skull-shaped "dogtag" braided into her mane. It has her name and my cell phone# on it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Awesome photos!

    I must say, she looks like a very content dragon.

    ReplyDelete

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