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Field Trips for the 2011 NPSO Annual Meeting

JUNE 24-26, 2011

Doublet: Dimeresia howellii

Doublet (Dimeresia howellii) as seen on Baldy Mt., Strawberry Mt. Wilderness. This is an interesting member of the sunflower family.

All Saturday field trips will leave from the Lake Creek Camp parking area.  Please arrive promptly by 8:15 am.  Leaders will not wait for latecomers.  Trips begin departure at 8:30 am with return by 4:30 pm.  If all trip participants have arrived early, leaders of trips with longer drives may wish to leave before 8:30 am. Carpooling is highly encouraged as there is limited parking at some trailheads.  It is highly suggested that passengers pay the driver an appropriate amount of money (depending on the drive's length) to help defray the cost of gasoline and the wear and tear the car might experience.  Dress appropriately for weather and bring plenty of water, lunch, sunscreen, bug spray and good shoes/boots.   Logan Valley is a large, flat wetland, so it is handy to have footwear suitable for walking on wet ground during your own explorations from Lake Creek Camp.  Visit http://2011.npsoregon.org for more detailed information about the 2011 NPSO Annual Meeting, additional information (and when available, photos and hike plant lists). Some hike information and photos will be added in late May for those hikes the web master has less information about.

The following are the field trips scheduled for Friday June 24th and Saturday June 25, 2011 for the 2011 NPSO Annual Meeting. The links provide more specific information about the trails involved, wildflowers that may be seen, wildflower lists, and directions to reach each site from the towns of John Day, Prairie City, or Seneca. Be aware that because these are flower-oriented hikes, so the pace will be slower than those offered by other groups and thus the hike is bound to be shorter than that listed in the descriptions. Please print off plant lists appropriate for the trip/s you may wish to hike during the Annual Meeting. I will try to update some lists (especially Buckhorn Meadows, Canyon Mt, and Riley Mt.) during the week prior to the Annual Meeting (if I can find an internet connection to use!). It thus might be beneficial if you want the latest list to wait until a day or so prior to making your trip. Field trip leaders probably won't be handing out lists for most of the trips! Note: Although snow levels in the southern Blue Mountains are currently at their highest level for late spring than they have been in many years, it looks like we may be able to offer all the scheduled hikes.

It is highly advised if you will be coming to the Annual Meeting early to obtain hotel reservations for Wednesday or Thursday night immediately as another event scheduled the same weekend is booking the John Day motels very quickly. The Clyde Holliday State Recreation Site to the west of John Day may also begin filling up by Thursday. Consider finding accomodations in Dayville, Mt. Vernon, Prairie City or Burns (the latter is about an hour and 20 minutes south of Logan Valley). Local US Forest Service campgrounds should be available throughout the week and are an alternative for those who camp.

For driving times to trailheads, a general rule of thumb is to assume that the average speed on roads will be 30 mph, so the number of minutes it takes to drive one way will roughly equal the round trip distance!

Friday June 24th: We will schedule one full day trip and one afternoon trip for Friday June 24th (See below.). Please e-mail Paul Slichter (pslichter@frontier.com) no later than Monday June 20th if you plan to attend the Canyon Mt. hike so we know how many people (and cars) to expect.

1. Canyon Mountain Trail #218: Leader: Paul Slichter. Meet before 8:30 am at the west end of the Forest Service parking lot to arrange car pooling (Cars can be left safely here.) The Malheur Forest office is located at 431 Patterson Bridge Road. Patterson Bridge Road is on the north side of US 26 immediately east of the Shell Gas Station in western John Day. We will be out all morning and into the early afternoon, so bring plenty of water, a lunch and sun screen. Rain gear is always advisable as afternoon showers can pop up. We'll leave for Lake Creek Camp around 2:30 pm so you have plenty of time to get checked in and rest before the social hour. Note: If the road to the trail head is in poor shape, or we have too many trip participants, we will visit an alternate site that lacks the views but has a comparable mountain flora. Again, please e-mail me at pslichter@frontier.com if you plan to attend the full day Friday trip so I can plan things in advance.

2. Logan Valley: Leader: Barbara Robinson. Join Barbara for a short 1 1/2 - 2 hour walk about Logan Valley before you check in. Meet Barbara at 2:00 pm at the pullout for the Wildlife Viewing Area along the north side of FS Road 16 (the main paved, east-west road that crosses Logan Valley) which is located about 100 yards east of the junction with the road to Lake Creek Camp. Spend about one-half hour exploring that site before moving about one mile further east to Big Creek Campground to view a more diverse set of wildflowers for an hour or so. Bring binoculars to view wildlife in the distance (mule deer, elk, pronghorns, sandhill cranes, etc). The ground may be damp, but don't expect to have to wade during this short trip.

Saturday June 25th:

1. Buckhorn Meadows Trail #205.  Leader: Jennifer Barker. (Hike is now full! Chose another Saturday hike!) Moderate, 5.5 miles RT,  1000’ elev. gain (6-7000’). Climb through open, mixed species eastside forest to the alpine zone at Wildcat Basin below the crest of the Strawberry Range.  Expect to see steershead (Dicentra uniflora), sticky polemonium (Polemonium viscosum), and possibly Brown's peony (Paeonia brownii). In addition, we should see mountain snowberry (Symphoricarpos oreophilus), showy aster (Eurybia conspicua), coyote mint (Monardella odoratissima), spotted coralroot (Corallorhiza maculata) and Merten's coralroot (Corallorhiza mertensiana), and Columbia monkshood (Aconitum columbianum). Participants should be prepared to cross some snow on the trail. If the route is snow covered, an alternate area will be chosen.  36 mi drive RT.

2. Baldy Mt. Leader: Ken Stella (USFS ecologist, Malheur NF).  (Hike is now full! Chose another Saturday hike!) Moderate 1300’ elev. gain  (6100-7400’) on trails & cross country.  Ken will discuss attempts to nominate this botanically rich area as a Research Natural Area. Numerous serpentine endemic plants grow here, including Lemmon's Hollyfern (Polystichum lemmonii), mountain hollyfern (Polysticum scopulinum) and northern hollyfern (Polystichum lonchitis) and the rare snowline springparsley (Cymopterus nivalis).  Additional floral highlights include doublet (Dimereisa howellii), Hayden's aster (Oreostemma alpigenum var. haydenii), alpine whitlow-grass (Draba densifolia), brittle sandwort (Minuartia nuttallii (var. fragilis?)), alpine sandwort (Minuartia obtusiloba), kings crown (Sedum roseum), and many others. 82 mi RT.

3.  Sedges and Grases of Logan Valley.   Leaders: Barb Wilson, Nick Otting, & Dick Brainerd (Carex Working Group).  Logan Valley is a flat wetland with an excellent diversity of grasses and sedges which provide easy collection and observation of fresh plant materials for practice of their identification. This will be an easy, 1 mile RT hike in diverse wetland and upland habitats. Collection of sedges and grasses in the morning to be followed by plant keying at nearby Lake Creek Camp.  This field trip offers a painless way to learn sedges and grasses of the Blue Mountains.  Bring dissecting scopes (if you have one) or hand lenses, the Flora of the Pacific Northwest, the Field Guide to the Sedges of the Pacific Northwest (if you have a copy), and footwear appropriate for wading in shallow wetlands.  Group size will be limited to 20. The leaders will probably have extra dissecting scopes available as well as equipment for manipulating the floral and vegetative parts of grasses and sedges if that is a limiting factor for you.

4. 500 Lady's Slippers and Morning Hill Farm Pine Restoration.  Leader: Lance Barker.  Visit a solar-powered homestead with easy walking (less than 1/2 mile, very gentle) through typical east-side ponderosa pine forest and mesic-to-dry meadow plants.  Second-growth forest is managed to produce old-growth characteristics, care for native plants, and enhance wildlife habitat. Chance of seeing Northern Goshawk fledglings. Some floral highlights include Sierra onion (Allium campanulatum), bigpod mariposa (Calochortus eurycarpus), sugar bowls (Clematis hirsutissima), shrubby cinquefoil (Dasiphora floribunda), Brown's peony (Paeonia brownii), lowly penstemon (Penstemon humilis) and many others. After visiting Morning Hill, we will drive to the "500 Lady's-slippers" area and "Burma Road" with great ridgetop views and many wildflowers. This portion of the trip involves several stops with easy, short hikes away from the car to view the wildflower diversity along the route.

5.  Point & Shoot Wildflowers. Leader: Mark Turner. Spend a day in the field learning how to take advantage of the strengths, and avoid the weaknesses, of the camera in your pocket.  We'll work on photo techniques for both individual plants and their habitats.  The exact location will be chosen by what's blooming, potentially a location in Logan Valley near Lake Creek Camp so we can spend most of our time photographing and not traveling or hiking.  Bring your pocket digital camera, spare batteries and memory cards. Mark is an excellent botanist who is the photographer and co-author of Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest.  Bring your pocket digital camera, spare batteries and memory cards. Because participants will be practicing the photo techniques they learn, this should be an easy hike cross country of up to several miles on flat ground through very scenic country.

6.  Riley Creek Trail to Riley Mt.  Leader: Gene Yates (USFS Botanist, Wallowa-Whitman NF). (Hike is now full! Chose another Saturday hike!) I should point out that Gene probably knows the flora of this area better than anyone else!). Moderate 6-7 miles RT, 1200’ elevation gain (4500-5700’).  Located in the eastern Aldrich Mts.,  the trail follows Riley Creek through a variety of habitats including several forest types, meadows, sagebrush and subalpine. Optional cross country ramble higher on open slopes of the mountain (to view the unique subalpine flora) depending on participant desires. The flora should be very similar to that found on nearby Fields Peak, which was a very popular hike during the 2003 NPSO Annual Meeting. Expect lovely Sierra Onion (Allium campanulatum), colonial luina (Luina serpentina),  cushion stenotus (Stenotus acaulis), silky phacelia (Phacelia sericea var. ciliosa), Piper's golden buckwheat (Eriogonum flavum var. piperi), cushion buckwheat (Eriogonum ovalifolium) and many other early summer wildflowers. Use the Fields Peak Flora as your plant list for this hike.   70 mi drive RT.

7.  Malheur Forest Bryophytes. Leader: Rob Smith (USFS botanist, Malheur NF). Visit diverse fen wetlands east of the Silvies Valley in search of bryophytes and other non-vascular plants. Expect bryophytes such as: Drepanocladus sp. and the two rare mosses: Helodium blandowii and Tomentypnum nitens, as well as numerous vascular species: sedges, bog birch (Betula glandulosa), willow species, etc. Bring footwear appropriate for some wet hiking. The site will be determined later in spring to allow selection of the best route to find the best plants. It most likely will involve an easy to moderate hike of 3-4 miles. This will be an excellent opportunity to begin learning about the mosses and other non-vascular plants of the southern Blue Mountains. About a 45 mile drive RT.

8. Wildflowers of Forest, Prairie and Wetlands. Leader: Joe Rausch (USFS botanist). (Hike was almost full on April 7 ! You may want to chose another Saturday hike!) Joe is the lead botanist for the Malheur National Forest and knows the area south of the Strawberry Range very well. He will lead a trip to view the wildflowers to be found in coniferous forest, dry and wet prairies, and wetlands that are found south of Logan Valley and near the Malheur River. Joe will survey the area for the best wildflowers prior to the Annual Meeting to provide the best bang for the buck for trip participants. The trip probably will involve several short to one or two mile length hikes cross country across mostly flat ground or on gentle slopes. Bring footwear appropriate for some wet hiking. The elevation will be a bit lower so there may be a slightly different flora in bloom compared to the other trips. Floral highlights may include: Cusick's elkweed (Frasera columbiana var. cusickii), wavy-leaf paintbrush (Castilleja applegatei var. pinetorum), foothills daisy (Erigeron corymbosa), prickly phlox (Linanthus pungens), tacky goldenweed (Pyrrocoma hirta) and possibly bigpod mariposa (Calochortus eurycarpus) or Idaho sedge (Carex idahoa). Use the Logan Valley plant list for this trip. About a 20-30 mi drive RT.

9. Antelope Mt. Lookout & Southern Logan Valley.  Leader:  Paul Slichter.  (Hike is now full! Chose another Saturday hike!) Easy, up to 3 miles RT, 560' elev. gain (5900-6456').  Hike through open forest and rocky meadows to a scenic viewpoint on a bald with abundant lupines, hawksbeards, onions, fleabanes and others.  Floral highlights include: bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva), Cusick's elkweed (Frasera columbiana var. cusickii), daggerpod (Phoenicaulis cheiranthoides), foothills daisy (Erigeron corymbosa), narrowleaf mock goldenweed (Nestotus stenophyllus), nettle-leaf horsemint (Agastache urticifolia), Rocky Mt. sunflower (Helianthella uniflora var. douglasii), spurred lupine (Lupinus arbustus), wavy-leaf paintbrush (Castilleja applegatei var. pinetorum) plus yellow desert daisy (Erigeorn linearis). Several sites with short walks to view other unique upland habitats will be explored in southern Logan Valley during the drive home with possibility of prickly phlox (Linanthus pungens), tacky goldenweed (Pyrrocoma hirta).  50 mi drive RT.

10.  Canyon Mt. Trail #218.  Leader:  Mark Darroch and Joan Frazee (Umatilla NF botanists).  Moderate, up to 7 miles RT, 1200’ elev. gain (5400-6440’).  Trail passes several seeps climbs through open forest and rocky meadows with serpentine outcrops and its unique flora.  Expect scenic views and wonderful wildflowers: felwort (Swertia perennis), colonial luina (Luina serpentina),  arrowleaf thelypody (Thelypodium eucosum), heart-leaf streptanthus (Streptanthus cordatus), yellow penstemon (Penstemon confertus) and many others……..70 mi drive RT. Besides Baldy Mt.(and possibly Rile Mt.), this is the only other chance to view the higher elevation flora at this time of year.

Sunday June 26th:

*Logan Valley.  Leader:  Paul Slichter or other.  Easy, up to 4 miles RT, 100’ elev. gain over the course of several hours.  Circumnavigate Logan Valley (largely off trail on level ground) to view many of the wildflower species found in this scenic area, including wetland and dry meadows, aspen groves, open coniferous forest and riparian habitats.  I will tailor this to try and bring participants to several habitats that will be different from those seen during the other lowland trips so they would have a chance to see new flora. This should also be an opportunity to practice photo techniques for those who participated in Mark Turner's "Point and Shoot" class. Expect to see elephant heads (Pedicularis groenlandica), american bistort (Bistorta bistortoides), Cusick's paintbrush (Castilleja cusickii), common camas (Camassia quamash), elk thistle (Cirsium scariosum), Cusick's elkweed (Frasera columbiana var. cusickii), Tolmie's onion (Allium tolmiei), several paintbrush species,  arnicas, bog orchids, several cinquefoils and many of the other 200+ species found here. The route also provides a good selection of birding habitats and sandhill cranes may be seen if not heard. A large herd of pronghorns may also be seen. The route should be easy enough that participants who need to leave early can do so easily enough.

Antelope Mountain Lookout ?. See description above. This is a possibility for a Sunday trip since people can drive their cars and then depart in the afternoon when they need to.

*Hike on your own or in small groups: Talk to the participants of the other field trips to see what might be of interest you, find several other like-minded persons and organize a hike of your own.

*If you leave early on Sunday, or have time to stop on the way home, visit the following two links for suggestions on where to conduct your own floral investigation while enroute home:

[Wildflower Destinations for your Drive to and from the 2011 Annual Meeting]

[Additional Hikes and Trips in the Malheur National Forest]

[Current Wildflower Bloom in Central and Eastern Oregon: 2011]

Paul Slichter E-mail