Spring in Central Oregon

shasta_040816_hodzic-25

Spreading phlox (Phlox diffusa) with Mt. Shasta in the background.

While everyone says that fall is the best time to be climbing, I say that “rock”tober is overrated because during the spring you can climb AND botanize!

Sometimes when I’m caught up in the middle of a sport climbing binge at a very developed crag with minimal approaches and maximum access to conveniences (like redbox DVD rentals and Pho restaurants) I forget that the pursuit of “being outside” is one of those vague yet eternal desires that was one of the initial catalysts that drove me to break from my casual 2 day a week climbing routine at the gym and go outside. That motivation has been much more sharply defined as I’ve progressed as a sport climber and found- joyously- that it offers me pleasures, satisfactions and challenges unlike any other outdoor activity I have ever experienced. A stroll in the woods is one thing, a burn on your project is another.

So, occasionally I get hyper-focused and move about my surroundings like an automaton- going to the same crags and memorizing the beta on my project as well as I possibly can. This process of honing in on micro-details – like the way a feature in the rock is angled and at what temperature you climb your best at- can be very rewarding and also offers a nice break from the “big-picture” emphasis that society seems to throw at us- even in natural areas. Whenever I pick up a brochure it tends to be dominated by photos of vistas or landscapes rather than a unique detail (the Smith Rock state park brochure is a notable exception, it features a stoic Ian Caldwell on one of the area’s hardest routes..)  However, sometimes this micro-focus makes me lose that “panoramic” human vision and almost forget that I’m rock climbing outside and not in a gym.

Until I see a blooming flower. Yes! Even in the corners of the parking lot at Smith Rock or behind the Yosemite Valley store flowers bloom , are pollinated and go to seed. That fundamental ecological process is present everywhere I go and I sure do love to geek out about it. So, this post is going to be dedicated to the flowers that grace my travels and whose beauty and intricate complexities that I- as a moving mammal – completely depend on, am intrigued by and will never fully comprehend. I lack the vocabulary and artistic talent of our most famous naturalists and botanists, nor can I draw anything that even resembles a breathtaking image of a flower … but I do own a fancy DSLR that I sometimes aim toward flowers!

 

So then I , an average human being on this planet, offer what I can; here are some images of flowers that I saw on my drive to Smith Rock and in Central Oregon.

(Yeah yeah birds and animals are also cool-did you know a Golden Eagle nest can be up to 12 feet tall and weigh 2000 lbs?? thanks interpretive Smith Rock sign from the ’90s for that little slice of trivia!)

shasta_040816_hodzic-22

On our way to Smith Rock from Yosemite Valley my friend and I stopped to bivy near the Shasta wilderness outside of Weed, CA. Here we saw Leucocrinum montanum (common starlily)

shasta_040816_hodzic-14

At the same Shasta bivy- some spreaing phlox (Phlox diffusa)

Flowers along the Gray Butte trail on Weds. April 13, 2016

Some tye-dye spreading phlox along the Gray Butte trail in Central Oregon. I was once told that the older the flower, the more purple it is.

 

Flowers along the Gray Butte trail on Weds. April 13, 2016

The “schizocarps” (seeds) of a Lomatium sp.

Flowers along the Gray Butte trail on Weds. April 13, 2016

Lupine all over!

Flowers along the Gray Butte trail on Weds. April 13, 2016

Flowers along the Gray Butte trail on Weds. April 13, 2016

Some milkvetch (Astragalus sp.)

Flowers along the Gray Butte trail on Weds. April 13, 2016

Flowers along the Gray Butte trail on Weds. April 13, 2016

Flowers along the Gray Butte trail on Weds. April 13, 2016

 
I believe this is Dagger Pod (phoenicaluis cheiranthoides)- a member of the Brassicaceae or mustard family.

 

Flowers along the Gray Butte trail on Weds. April 13, 2016

Grass Widows (Olsynium douglasii) which is actually a member of the Iris, Iridaceae, family!

Flowers along the Gray Butte trail on Weds. April 13, 2016

Lomatium sp.

Flowers along the Gray Butte trail on Weds. April 13, 2016

Flowers along the Gray Butte trail on Weds. April 13, 2016

Flowers along the Gray Butte trail on Weds. April 13, 2016

A dazzling array of colors!

Flowers along the Gray Butte trail on Weds. April 13, 2016

More grass widows (Olsynium douglasii)

 

Flowers along the Gray Butte trail on Weds. April 13, 2016

backlit Grass Widows (Olsynilum douglasii)

Flowers along the Gray Butte trail on Weds. April 13, 2016

Some larkspurs (Delphinium sp. , maybe Delphinium nuttallianum)

 

2 comments
  1. Margareta said:

    Amazing how many different flowers are there. Lovely photos.

    >

  2. HermitCrab said:

    Wow, beautiful. Love the flower along the Gray Butte trail…it reminds me of a swan stooping its neck…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: