Saturday, July 17, 2010

Heart Lake *Wild Flowers

Heart Lake is still covered with snow, but the trail leading to Heart Lake has amazing wild flowers, and the view from 6035 ft just takes your breath away.

This 1-hour trail is a little hard to climb. It's very steep in some areas and it's also very rocky. The elevation is relatively high, so don't rush. Take your time and drink lots of water. Don't forget to wear a hat, and preferably long sleeve clothes. Here's a well-known hiker's etiquette to keep in mind when stepping into this wild life area.

Take nothing but pictures, and leave nothing but foot prints ON THE TRAILS.

Beavertail Grass (Calochortus coeruleus)

Alpine wild flowers have a very short growing season, and it takes a tremendous amount of energy to grow in the rocky, dry mountains. They're not like dandelions that can grow on any disturbed soil, and one step can easily destroy years worth of growth. A few minutes of exploring mindless curiosity can create a new trail that may invite others to wander in.

Klamath Fawn Lily (Erythronium klamathense)

Trails are not made by rangers trimming out the path each year (they do clear out dead trees and other hazards). Plants simply cannot grow on heavily compacted soil where dozens of people walk on every day. The sign that says, "STAY ON TRAIL" is not only to keep you from getting lost, but it's also to protect the precious wild life we want to continue to enjoy for many generations.

Quill-leaved Lewisia (Lewisia leana)

So keep in mind that wild flowers grow by the inch, and die by the foot. 

"A Visual Guide to Selected Flowering Plants of Castle and Heart Lakes"

This booklet contains pictures and descriptions of 48 plants that could be seen along the trails that lead up to Heart Lake and Little Castle Lake. It's available at the Visitor Center or Ranger Station in Mount Shasta City for $6 + tax. It'll make your regular hike a little more interesting as you start to pay attention to the wild life beauty.

Disclaimer: Identification of plants not done professionally.

No comments:

Post a Comment