PCT to Peony Hill 6-21-24

Photos by Kate, Kay and Ron

Ashland Hiking Home

It must be some kind of record, or it's right up there:  THREE hours to go ONE mile.  Can you tell the twelve of us had a great time discovering, discussing and disputing wildflowers?   The flower-to-foot distance ratio was satisfyingly high.

The weather was warm, but still cooler than the valley we returned to.  Thankfully, the portion of the PCT we were on was mostly in shady forest, with some sunny, rocky outcrops to make it interesting and increase flower variety.  I thought I'd compiled a pretty good plant list, but once again Rich was kept VERY busy recording unlisted species.

We found, among other things, a new type of penstemon, called a Hot rock (aka Scabland) penstemon, a new type of snowberry, a cool new tiny red gall, and lots and lots of wildflowers. In the forest shade we past carpets of pale apricot Royal Jacob's ladder, drifts of Mountain columbine, Meadow rue, Choke cherry, Ball headed waterleaf, both Starry and Plumed Solomon's seal, and Wallflower among others. Ready to show their stuff in the sun were Oregon sunshine, Bluehead gilia, Owl's clover, Arrowleaf buckwheat, Valerian and carpets of Manvine. 

However, once we reached our destination, the peonies were past their bloom and were into their scary phase - huge seedpods protruding like teeth from an alien monster's face.  Next year we'll try for end of May for this hike to catch their bloom, although no one went home disappointed.

Respectfully submitted, Your Flower Floozy Liz