One of my earliest memories with my Mom was going out on a wildflower hunt for some class she was taking. Everybody was looking at a book and had little magnifying glasses. Later in college I took a class on edible wild flowers and maybe another wildflower identification class. The book was the same book. It was the bible for plant life in the western part of Oregon. No photographs just drawings and descriptions The book is Handbook of Northwest Flowers by Helen Gilkey. Second edition copyright 1951. I learned how to use this book with my photos of wildflowers. and also used other wild flower books with color photos. When I moved to Central Oregon the book was not as relevant to the desert flora and fauna, and my photography also got set aside. Flash forward 25 or so years and I have picked up the cameras, I had to find a new wildflower book, and I found Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest by Mark Turner & Phyllis Gustafson. Today I still use both books, the book with color photos use a different variation of the family names than I am used to so I find myself going back to the old Gilkey. Then marking the right flowers with colored post it notes.
Last month Susan and I went to Cone Peak Meadows and I had a blast photographing the wild flowers. We passed the Tombstone meadow nature trail. I had never been there and wanted to go back. I was also curious about the old Santiam wagon road. So Tuesday was the day, we got there about 10:30 ish and the day was already heating up. A nice hike in the shady forest down to the meadow and a not so nice hike through the Thimbleberry bushes, and we were on the edge of the meadow.
The first flower I encountered on this trip was the unusual cone flower also know as the Western Chocolate Cone flower. Along the edge of the meadow were these tall flowers that look like corn tassels. I recognized them as the California Corn Lilies. Well actually I recognized the leaves I had never seen the flowering plant before. I like photographing the new green leaves. Photographing these flowers were interesting. Because they were so tall it was hard to photograph the whole plant.
The East side of the meadow was filled with blooming Owls Clover and yellow cinquefoil. I had never seen the white owls clover and was thrilled to see them mixed in the pink.
I liked this shot with Iron Mtn in the background.
I loved the yellow cinquefoil seed heads but couldn’t seem to get any good shots. Have to try again I guess. We missed the orange Tiger Lilies by a week or so. No worries Just a good reason to go back next spring.
The meadow was named for a tragedy on the old Santiam wagon road. A grieving mother had installed a tombstone monument to her son in the meadow, after an accidental shooting that resulted in his death in 1871.
After we were done photographing the meadow we hiked back up the trail to the parking lot and decided to hike down the section of the old Santiam wagon road that accessed the parking lot. It is a gated road and maintained so that hikers can use it. I admit I enjoyed this part of the trip the most, it was a very hot day and the old road was shady and quiet. We were the only users on this stretch. there were lots of flowers to photograph. We walked southeast for an hour photographing along the way.
There was lots of bracken ferns and greenery to photograph and when I set up my camera to take the photos, Aurora decided to photo bomb my shot.
I got it anyway.
There were lots of Thimbleberries and Huckleberries
We stopped at a great view of Iron Mtn and Cone Peak from the road. Then decided that it was time to head back to the car. Both of these mountains are part of the original Old Cascades mountain range. They were part the geologic history that built the base for the much newer High Cascades we see today.
This little butterfly was much more interested on working the flowers than paying attention to us.
there were Asters and Indian Paint Brush.
and a little space alien from the mint family called Prunella Vulgaris or Self Heal.
Now that this trip is over, I confess I am looking forward to tackling more of the old Santiam wagon road trails. There may not be very many majestic views of the cascades or lakes but the trail was easy and there was not a lot of people on them. This trip was not to bad on a super hot day and I hope to do it again maybe a little earlier in the season.
oh and I hope to get a posting of the earlier Cone meadow trip. Just got sidetracked and hadn’t realized that it was not written.