Eastern Mojave Vegetation Field Notes (Continued)  

Tom Schweich  

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Topics in this Article:
2008 Tour de Swertia albomarginata
Mono Lake, August 2008
Literature Cited
   When I first read the field notes of Annie Alexander and Louise Kellogg, I was fascinated by the descriptions they wrote about the places they went and the plants and animals they found there. By publishing my field notes on the Internet I hope to follow a little bit in their tradition.







Full Size ImageMBRG Collection of Stellaria longipes.  

Other articles:
• Field Notes:   5-Jun-08 at Miller Canyon;
• Frasera albomarginata:   near Scofield Res.;
• Cr-912:  Miller Canyon;

Locations: Miller Canyon. Miller Canyon.  

  Some of the most puzzling collections of Frasera albomarginata have been those made by Marcus E. Jones. On one in particular, the location description was "Millers Canyon, Utah." Since I knew that Jones had been to Mounds, Utah, I searched outward from Mounds until I found Miller Canyon, Carbon County, about 20 miles northwest of Price, Utah, on the the east side of Scofield Reservoir in the Wasatch Plateau. However, a visit there in June 2008, showed the collection was unlikely to have been made there. The habitat, aspens coming down to sagebrush, was not right.

Then, at CAS, I found another voucher of the same collection. The label clearly read, "Millers Canyon, south of Price." Return to the maps I found another Millers Canyon, this one near the town of Emery in Emery County. Millers Canyon is given to the canyon Muddy Creek cuts from Castle Valley through the Coal Cliffs. It is also on the western edge of the San Rafael Swell. Since, Frasera albomarginata is found at other locations on the San Rafael Swell, it seems possible that this is the location of Jones' 1907 collection. Therefore, I have moved my data point there from the location near Scofield Reservoir farther north.

Other articles:
• Garlock Road:   at Charley Rd;
Full Size ImageLocation of Collection No. 564, Eriastrum eremicum var. eremicum
Full Size ImageColl. No. 564Eriastrum eremicum var. eremicum  

Full Size Image
Coll. No. 564 Eriastrum eremicum var. eremicum

The specimen was scanned on 14 Nov 2009. Grid is 10 x 10 to the inch.




Thursday, May 28, 2009

    … a two-day stay in Yosemite with Cheryl's sister and family. It rained every day, clouding up, and raining for an hour, then sunny, then a little more rain, etc. I guess this has been a fairly widespread event, as I heard reports of heavy rain over Sonora Pass, down in the valley, and today Monitor Pass is closed. We didn't let that stop us though.




Friday, May 29, 2009

    One day we rented bicycles, and rode around the floor of Yosemite Valley.




Saturday, May 30, 2009


Locations: Vernal Fall.
Full Size ImageVernal Fall  

  Saturday we hiked to Vernal Fall, and then took the shuttle bus to Yosemite Village, and then back to our camp at Upper Pines campground.




Sunday, May 31, 2009

    This morning everyone was headed home, except me. I drove over Tioga Pass, and stopped at the Mobil Gas Station (the Whoa Nelli Deli!) for lunch. Got the half-pound hamburger. Ate half, and saved the other half for dinner.
    My plan was to visit some of the experimental plots that were established by the Mono Basin Research Group in 1976 this afternoon, and then camp on the east side of the lake tonight. However, it is raining.

Locations: Negit Island.
Full Size ImageNegit Island in Mono Lake on a stormy spring afternoon  

  I stopped at the Forest Service Information Center. This is where I took the photo of Negit Island in Mono Lake, as the clouds were coming in.
    The rain was so heavy I could not see as far as the County Park a mile of so away except, of course, for the lightning striking out near Conway Ranch.
    The forecast here is for rain, rain, and more rain. The forecast discussion says the convection storms should be more "organized" tomorrow, so I can guess what that means -- more rain.
    I love the smell, though, of wet sagebrush and rabbit brush, it's kind of pungent and sweet at the same time. The line, The Desert Smells Like Rain, is the title of a book by Gary Nabhan. He wrote about the Sonoran Desert around Tucson, and said the same thing, that the smell of rain in the desert was always very pleasant and invigorating.
    However, I'm afraid the rain will mix with the dust that composes the roads out east of the lake, making what we commonly call mud. Last June, I did the slippin' and slidin' in the mud in central Utah.

Other articles:
• Whitney Portal Road:   at Tuttle Ck Rd;
Full Size ImagePortagee Joe Campground near Lone Pine  

  So, it may be time to head south, and then swing back thru the Mono Lake basin on my trip home. I probably can't get to Mojave National Preserve by a reasonable hour, so I'll stop at Lone Pine for the night. There's a campground there called Portagee Joe, that my friend Janet said was pretty nice.
    It's one of several Inyo County campgrounds along US Hwy 395. Cheryl and I stayed at another one at Independence a few years ago. They are close to town and the highway. They have a creek running through, a few trees and picnic tables. The clientele is mixed. There are the down-and-outers who live in their old, wheezing Winnebagos, but the rent is affordable. There are the tourists that come in late in the afternoon or early evening. Some have motor homes, a few camp. There are also the motorcyclists that come into camp, set up the tent, and then head for the local bar until closing time. Closing time must be 100 AM in Line Pine, as the motorcyclists returned to camp about 115 AM, actually 1:18 AM, as indicated by AT&T digital time on my cell phone.




Monday, June 1, 2009

    Monday was mostly a transit day, as I drove from Lone Pine, to Kramer Junction, Barstow, Valley Wells, and then Mojave National Preserve. I stopped at the Von's in Barstow (the only large market out here) for supplies. Got a sandwich for lunch, and some fried chicken for dinner, in addition to a new toothbrush, some coffee, etc.
    Stopped at Valley Wells for gas. It's on the I-15 at Cima Road, where I turn off for Mojave National Preserve. It's good to fill up with gas and ice at the last possible stop. Valley Wells was closed for a few years, but has been open at least the last three. Were Valley Wells closed, I would have back tracked to Baker for gas and ice, then entered the preserve by way of Kelso.

Other articles:
• Kessler Springs Road:   at Veterans Cross;
Full Size ImageThe Cross-In-A-Box on June 1, 2009  

  Stopped at the Cross-in-a-Box for the annual photo and to eat half my sandwich. The Supreme Court is expected to rule this fall on whether the cross can remain or must be torn down. One acre of the land around the cross has been transferred to private ownership, in exchange for five acres or formerly private land elsewhere in the Preserve. But the plantiffs are arguing that the land transfer was a sham, and the cross should be torn down anyway. My sympathies are with the cross. It was erected in 1934 in what was then a wasteland by people who lived nearby, many of whom were sent to live here because of war injuries. It seems like we should be able to respect the original sentiment and not get hung up on the particular symbology which is now looked upon with disfavor on public lands. Anyway it's still there, in it's box, and I took the annual photo. Also ate half my sandwich, saving the other half for dinner later.
    Went straight to my experimental plot at Pinto Mountain. It's about a mile walk from the road up to the plot. There were a lot of Frasera albomarginata in bloom around my plot, but none inside. There are still about 10 rosettes, from last year, a few have died since last year, but none in bloom. Wonder what that's about? Maybe my plot is is a less favorable place that the area around it, or maybe my walking in the plot is affecting the plants.
    Camped at Mid Hills Campgound for the night. I was the only camper when I arrived, but later more people came, and I think there were about four campsites occupied in this campground of 25 sites.




Tuesday June 2, 2009


Other articles:
• Frasera albomarginata:  129000;  

  Tuesday, I climbed to my experimental plot on the north face of Wild Horse Mesa.
    On the way in I took these photos to show fire recovery, or lack thereof.

Other articles:
• Frasera albomarginata:  Budding;
Full Size ImageW248 with main stalk eaten.  

  The hike is a little more than a mile, all on former roads. Some of them have been without traffic for nearly 20 years. Plants are growing on the former road, and little washes are eroding, making the roads hard to follow in places. In my plots, there were a few new rosettes of Frasera albomarginata, and a few plants in bloom, but mostly there were rosettes holding over from previous years. A lot of the plants had been eaten, more so that I remember in the past. Flower stalks were bitten off, and leaves eaten. There were also cow hoof prints in my plot, some of which obliterated my little plants, broke the stakes, etc.

Full Size ImageFire recovery plot in 2009  
  At the fire recovery plot, things were mixed also. A few of the Yuccas that sprouted just after the fire in 2005 have now died. The desert verbena (Verbena goddingii) seems to be growing like an annual, here one year, over there the next year, even though the Jepson manual lists it as a perennial. The Desert Four-O'Clock (Mirabilis multiflora) is making a good comeback, and the lone buckwheat is still there. The primary successful early successional plant is Bladder Sage (Salazaria mexicana). It's doing really well, and spreading. I'm thinking it may spread through rhizomes (roots).
    On the road back from Winkler's Cabin the camper came loose. Checking the bolts, I found the right front turnbuckle loose. It's the one that I found broken and replaced before my Idaho trip. I did an emergency tightening, and then back in camp cleaned out the camper and checked all the bolts carefully. I think it's not clear which way to turn the turnbuckles to tighten them, and they don't turn smoothly enough that it's really clear whether you are tightening them or loosening them. Add to that the orientation that changes from front to back, and side to side, and the impossibility of having a clear view of the situation when down on my knees, standing on my head, trying to adjust the d _ _ _ things.
    That's all the news on a Tuesday afternoon from Camp 24 of the Mid Hills Campground.




Wednesday, June 3, 2009

    Today brought cloudy skies in the morning. I got up, packed up and left Mid Hills for the Virgin Mountains. It seems that I have lost the bag for my "Big Bubba" easy chair. I left it out last night, and this morning it was gone. It was a little breezy last night, but not windy enough to blow the bag from the back of the chair and far away. I checked around the campground, but could not find it. Or, maybe, it's in the truck somewhere, and I just cannot find it. That's possible you know.

Other articles:
• Nevada State Route 170:   near Riverside;

Locations: Virgin Valley.
Full Size ImageVirgin Valley from vicinity of Riverside, Nevada  

  Stopped for gas at Primm, aka Stateline, Nevada, and then blew right through Las Vegas, arriving at Mesquite about Noon. After a quick lunch, I headed for the Virgin Mountains.

Other articles:
• Gold Butte Road:  28000;  31000;   at the old road.;   near Whitney Pockets;
Full Size ImageSign along New Gold Butte Road.
Full Size ImageVirgin Peak as seen from the west.  

Full Size Image
An old road that goes near the mouth of Yant Pit Canyon.
Full Size Image
Outcrops of red sandstone on south side of Virgin Mountains that form Whitney Pockets.
It's about a 40 mile drive, of which the first 35 are paved (sensu latu). This is where I found the sign that says, "The most exciting thing I have seen out here is a flat tire and a hot radiator."

Other articles:
• Nays Ranch Road:   above Whitney Pocket;
Full Size ImageWhitney Pockets, south side of Virgin Mountains  

  At the end of the "paved" road, I followed the very steep uphill climb on a "good" dirt road. I have been lulled into blind expectations about "good" roads, such as those on granite or sandstone substrates. However, I was *jolted* awake by a "good" road built in limestone and limestone cobbles. How quickly I forget what lousy roads limestone makes. So here I am bouncing down Nevada's best dirt road on limestone. Of course, my little plant likes limestones. That's why I'm here. Next time I'm gonna study a little plant that grows on sandstones or granite, maybe at the beach.

Other articles:
• Blackbrush:   near Whitney Pass;
• Nays Ranch Road:   near Whitney Pass;   at Whitney Pass;

Locations: Whitney Pass.
Full Size ImageLooking east from Whitney Pass into Arizona  

Full Size Image
Whitney Pass, south side of Virgin Mountains.
Full Size Image
Blackbrush near Whitney Pass
Anyway I did a bit of tourism, comprised of driving up to Whitney Pass, and looking over the other side. What I saw were the Grand Wash Cliffs, essentially the western edge of the Colorado Plateau. But the tilted limestones of the Virgin Mountains are clearly part of the Great Basin, and so I am at the boundary of those two geologic provinces.

Other articles:
• Nays Ranch Road:   near mouth of Nay Canyon;
Full Size ImageMouth of Nay Canyon  

  I returned a short way back down the hill and then turned up a little canyon, locally called Nay Canyon ... more jolting along on limestone cobbles. Where the canyon got narrow I stopped and walked up on a little hill.

Locations: Yant Pit Canyon.
Full Size ImageYant Pit Canyon  

  From this hill I could see Yant Pit Canyon (my destination) in the middle distance. Yant is a Piute word for Agave, so the name refers to pits that were used to roast the agave roots and shoots. Roasting turned the starches into sugars, and made the roasted agave palatable and nutritious. But, let's see, it's in the 90's, I'm in my 60's, and by myself, maybe I won't go bushwhacking today.

Other articles:
• Nay Canyon Road:   near entrance;
Full Size ImageYant Pits near Nay and Yant Pit Canyons  

  Turning around I saw the agave pits shown in the photo. So there are “yant” pits in Nay Canyon, as well as Yant Pit Canyon.

Other articles:
• Nay Canyon Road:   above promontory;   below promontory;   at narrows;
Full Size ImageEnd of road at Narrows of Nay Canyon
Full Size ImageView up Nay Canyon  

Full Size Image
View down Nay Canyon
Instead of hiking over to Yant Pit Canyon, I hiked up Nay Canyon for a half hour or so. There was a road up this canyon, but now (2009) it is badly washed out. Saw no Frasera albomarginata. Neither did I see anything that looked like the right habitat. I also noticed that there were only a few small junipers in the wash, and the slopes of the canyon had only pinyons. Typically, I see my little plant growing with junipers.

Locations: Lake Mead.
Full Size ImageLake Mead from Virgin Mountains  

  Something is different here in the Virgin Mountains. For one thing the temperature is 15-20 degrees warmer than similar areas, such as the eastern Mojave or central Nevada. I think maybe the heat from the Las Vegas Valley, and Lake Mead sweeps up the slopes and warms the Virgin Mountains. Also, after watching the weather radar for several years, the Virgin Mountains may get a little more rain. Well ... it's a hypothesis ... whether it's testable is another matter.
    Now I'm back in Mesquite, staying at the Best Western. The restaurant next door is closed, as is the big casino across the street. When I inquired about places for dinner, the desk clerk said it was a choice of fast food, or the big casino up the hill. I chose the big casino.
    Came back to the motel with the little casino song running through my head.




Thursday, June 4, 2009


Other articles:
• Nevada State Route 168:   near Coyote Springs;
Full Size ImageCoyote Springs, home of the palm tree  

  I left Mesquite and returned to Glendale/Moapa where I turned west on Nevada 168 to US Hwy 93. At their intersection is a huge golf complex which is nearing completion. It's called Coyote Springs. It's about 45 miles north of Las Vegas. All along Hwy 168, I noticed this large water project, and I guess it's bringing water to the golf course, or taking it away; there is no way to tell.

Other articles:
• U. S. Highway 93:   at L. Pahranagat Lake;
Full Size ImageLower Pahranagat Lake  

  Going north on US Hwy 93, one follows the Pahranagat Wash to the Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge. This consists of two lakes, one full, and one that seems more like a seasonal wetland than a lake. There is a pretty nice campground here. I had intended to stay the night, after a side trip to the Pahranagat Range.

Other articles:
• Tikaboo Road:   somewhere;
Full Size ImageRoad to Pahranagat Range
Full Size ImageUpper Pahranagat Lake  

  It took me a while to find the road I wanted. This was described as a good graded road in a Great Basin Bird & Hike web site. I followed the good road for a while, but then the route turned into a narrow rocky canyon route (I backed out) or a rock hop up the side of a hill (which I did not attempt). So the Pahranagat Range goes on the "Check It Out Again" list.
    Stopped in Alamo for gas and ice, and discovered a really nice, well-equipped market with a good deli, a grill, and lots of groceries. There are also a couple of motels and restaurants in Alamo. This is probably the only place between Las Vegas and Caliente where one could stop for the night.

Other articles:
• Nevada Highway 375:   at the east end;
• U. S. Highway 93:   west of Oak Sprs Summit;
Full Size ImageThe east end of the Extraterrestrial Highway
Full Size ImageNo Frasera albomarginata here.  

  Drove to Crystal Springs, at the beginning of Nevada Highway 375 -- the Extraterrestrial Highway -- and ate my sandwich in the shade of some giant cottonwood trees. Then, I headed west for Caliente. Near the summit of the Delamar Range was some pretty good looking Frasera albomarginata habitat. Got out and walked around for a half hour or so, but found none.

Other articles:
• U. S. Highway 93:  Caliente;

Locations: Caliente.
Full Size ImageUnion Pacific Depot in Caliente, Nevada  

  Did the slow drive through Caliente, noting many more motels and restaurants than I thought I remembered from previous trips.

Other articles:
• Beaver Dam Road:   on w. edge Miller Bench;
Full Size ImageBeaver Dam Road climbs up onto Miller Bench.  

  Just north of Caliente is the 35 mile dirt road to Beaver Dam State Park. This park is right on the Nevada-Utah border in the headwaters of Beaver Dam Creek that runs mostly in Utah, and empties into the Colorado River.

Other articles:
• Beaver Dam Road:   near Acoma;
• Frasera albomarginata:  at w. edge of Miller Bench;  16136071;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 565, Frasera albomarginata
Full Size ImageFrasera albomarginata habitat, as prepared by the Lincoln County Road Department  

Full Size Image
Frasera albomarginata habitat near Acoma.
Just after turning off Highway 93, I found my little "weed" as some of my friends are fond of calling it. It was all along this road. At first, I stopped every time I saw it. Then, only once a mile. Then, only once every 5 miles. Also I stopped collecting it every time I saw it, and just noted the location in my GPS receiver.

Other articles:
• Beaver Dam Road:   at Beaver Dam St Pk;   in Beaver Dam State Park;   in Beaver Dam State Park;
Full Size ImageView of Beaver Dam State Park from entrance
Full Size ImageFrasera albomarginata in Beaver Dam State Park.  

Full Size Image
Frasera albomarginata in Campground "B"
Well, in the Beaver Dam State Park campground, the little "weed" was growing like a weed, kind of like you would see wild mustard. One thing I noticed was, the ratio of pinyons to junipers here was about 1 pinyon for every 5 junipers. Whereas, at Nay Canyon it was 10 pinyons for every juniper, and no Frasera albomarginata. Hmmm, do junipers and Frasera albomarginata have similar habitat requirement? Or, was Johnny Juniper-Seed's seed bag contaminated with Frasera albomarginata seed?

Other articles:
• Frasera albomarginata:  197000010;
Full Size ImageSomething's eating my little weeds!!!!  

566    One thing I have discovered in this area nearer to the center of the Frasera albomarginata population is that there are a lot more predators, i.e., things that eat the plant, as opposed to the eastern Mojave on the edge of its natural range. In particular, a lot of plants here have a worm that burrows in at the node and then eats it's way through the pith, mostly below, but also a little above the node. One of the plants I cut open had three worms, each with it's area that began at a node and worked downward.
    Anyway, passed an uneventful night at Beaver Dam State Park, as one of their two patrons, notwithstanding the brief shower sometime in the night.




Friday, June 5, 2009


Other articles:
• Beaver Dam Road:   at Oak Knoll;  88000;
Full Size ImageView of canyon from Oak Knoll at Beaver Dam State Park
Full Size ImageBeaver Dam Creek  

  This morning I explored the park a little, driving to the bitter end of the road, at the Utah state line. Nice little park, but a long way from nowhere.
    On the way out I saw a sign directing travelers to Crestline, a siding on the Union Pacific Railroad. I had passed through Crestline in 1998, when I was following the trail of Carl Purpus. In May 1898, he went from Enterprise, Utah, to Panaca, Nevada, by way of the road that now goes through this area.

Other articles:
• Frasera albomarginata:   nw of Crestline;
• Crestline Road:   at UPRR;   at landfill;  nw of Crestline;
Full Size ImageUnion Pacific Railroad at Crestline, Nevada.
Full Size ImageLandfill at Crestline, Nevada  

Full Size Image
Frasera albomarginata northwest of Crestline, Nevada
Found more Frasera albomarginata on this road, and at Crestline. Apparently, I zipped right by it 10 years ago.

Other articles:
• Nevada State Route 321:   in Pioche;
• U. S. Highway 93:   at Miller Point Overlook;

Locations: Pioche.
Full Size ImageCathedral Gorge, looking south.  

Full Size Image
Boot Hill Cemetery, Pioche, Nevada
Full Size Image
Ore tramway, Pioche, Nevada
Full Size Image
Hutchins Motel, Pioche, Nevada
From Panaca, I drove north to Pioche, a mining town, where I had lunch at the Silver Cafe, with all the good ol' boys and girls. Also drove around a little, and took a few photos, including one of the Hutchins Motel, a place that I stayed at, also in 1998. The deal was, you call a phone number, and the lady told you which cabin was yours, instructing you to leave $30 in the Bible when you left.

Other articles:
• Bristol Mine Road:   at Bristol Pass;
Full Size ImageFrasera albomarginata in Bristol Pass  

  Observation of Frasera albomarginata in Bristol Pass.

Other articles:
• Bristol Mine Road:   near Fairview Wash;   at Bristol Pass;
• U. S. Highway 93:   near Jackrabbit;

Locations: Bristol Pass. Jackrabbit.
Full Size ImageHistorical Marker for Jackrabbit.  

Full Size Image
Bristol Pass, looking west.
Full Size Image
East of the Bristol Range, looking south.
Full Size Image
Looking southwast over Bristol Wells
From Pioche I drove north to Bristol Pass and took the dirt county road headed west towards the White River Valley, through the Jackrabbit Mining District. The story is that a miner picked up a rock to throw at a jackrabbit (presumably thinking about dinner), and discovered the rock was very heavy. It turned out to be a piece of high-grade ore. From the historic mill town of Bristol Wells, the road continues west across Muleshoe Valley and Silver King Pass into the White River Valley at Gap Mountain.

Other articles:
• FAQ:  Bee Hive Charcoal Ovens;
• Bristol Cletty Road:   near Bristol Well;
Full Size ImageBristol Well
Full Size ImageCharcoal kiln at Bristol Well, Nevada  


Other articles:
• Bristol Cletty Road:   on east edge of Muleshoe Valley;   in Fairview Range;
Full Size ImageView west on Muleshoe Crossing Road in the southwestern portion of the Fairview Range
Full Size ImageView west across Muleshoe Valley  


Other articles:
• Bristol Cletty Road:  on west edge of Muleshoe Valley;
• Frasera albomarginata:  1613403530;
Full Size ImageView east across Muleshoe Valley
Full Size ImageFrasera albomarginata east of Silver King Pass  

569    Frasera albomarginata, in open places among sagebrush and Utah juniper. This location is about 2.3 miles (3.7 km) east of Silver King Pass, and at the lower edge of the juniper. Since I was traveling west, and up the slope, this location would place the lower elevation of F. albomarginata at 5745 ft (1751 m).

Other articles:
• Bristol Cletty Road:   near Silver King Pass;
• Frasera albomarginata:  1613403520;
Full Size ImageFrasera albomarginata east of Silver King Pass  

  Many Frasera albomarginata in bloom on the road berm. I did not collect here, but determined geographic coordinates with the GPS receiver.

Other articles:
• Bristol Cletty Road:   at Silver King Pass;
• Frasera albomarginata:  1613403510;

Locations: Silver King Pass.
Full Size ImageSilver King Pass, Lincoln County, Nevada  

570    Collection of Frasera albomarginata in Silver King Pass, in open places among Utah juniper, on the north side of the road in carbonate rocks. None seen in the volcanic rocks on the south side if the road.

Other articles:
• Bristol Cletty Road:   west of Silver King Pass;
Full Size ImageLooking west from Silver King Pass.  

  Looking west from Silver King Pass.

Other articles:
• Bristol Cletty Road:   near Gap Mountain;
Full Size ImageGap Mountain from Muleshoe Crossing Road  

  Near Gap Mountain
    My intention was to stop for the day at Adams-McGill Reservoir, home to both Frasera albomarginata and Frasera gypsophila. However, the wind was kicking up lots of dust, the rain was coming down out of the clouds, and I know there is no shelter out in the valley.
    So I came up north near Murry Summit, camping at the Ward Mountain Forest Service campground among Junipers and Pinyons. There is Frasera albomarginata here, so I should go assess the relative numbers of pinyons and junipers, but maybe not.
    I was really tempted to continue on into Ely and get a motel room for the night, as the weather was a bit stormy: cloudy, windy, about 55, and a few rain showers. However, I decided to "rough it" in the camper for the night. I confess to heating some water on the stove to wash up with, and even turning the heater on (just for a few minutes). In the process of cleaning up I found the bag for my “Big Bubba” Travel chair mixed in with the dirty clothes.
    Cleaned up, with a beer and a bowl of Cheez-Its at my right hand, I sat down to summarize the last two days.




Saturday , June 6, 2009

    Spent a chilly night, Friday night, at the Ward Mountain Campground, just southwest of Ely, Nevada. Was alternately bombarded by rain showers, or with the moon in my face. Actually not that bad once I got up and added a fleece jacket to my night clothes, and put my wool socks back on Ward Mountain campground is among junipers and pinyons at 7136 ft elevation. Lots of Frasera albomarginata here. However, because of the elevation, it is still early Spring here, and none of the plants had open flowers yet.
    Saturday morning, I made a short loop into Ely for gas. Also looked for a place with Internet access. Was thinking mostly coffee, but the closest thing I saw was the Laundromat that claimed to have Wi-Fi. Just wasn't that motivated to watch someone else's laundry spin while I did e-mail.

Other articles:
• Nevada Highway 318:   at Gibson Rd;
Full Size ImageGibson Road from NV SR 318  

  Well, anyway, the weather forecast was for thunderstorms in the morning, thunderstorms at noon, and thunderstorms at night, not to mention the next day. By 1000 AM, the wind was picking up, and half the valley was in the air, so I determined to run for Tonopah and points west.

Other articles:
• U. S. Highway 6:   at White River;   near White River;
Full Size ImageWhite Pine Range
Full Size ImageWhite sediments near White River  

  Drove through some impressive showers, past the White Pine Range, and came out in the sun at Tonopah.
    Continuing on, it started to rain at Montgomery Pass and continued to rain through Benton and to Lee Vining. I stopped at Big Sand Flat (http://www.schweich.com/imagehtml/IMG_0760sm.html) and checked for flowers, but there were none, as it is still very early Spring in the Mono Lake basin.
    So after a lunch stop at the Mobil Gas Station, I came on home. It snowed from Lee Vining to Crane Flat, and then mere rain to Groveland. I think I'll wait a couple of weeks and then go back to the Mono Lake basin. Altho' I notice the forecast is for continued very cool weather the next couple of weeks.
    So what did I learn? I learned that closer to the center of its range, Frasera albomarginata grows like a weed in great numbers. I'm thinking of Beaver Dam State Park, the Bristol Range, and the Schell Creek Range. While it is limited to limestone in the eastern Mojave, it is found on other soil types in areas where it is more common. I also learned that there are predators that are adapted to the species in the center of its range, i.e., the little worms that eat the insides of the stems. So, I have to be careful in attempting to extrapolate the ecology of the species, as I have learned it in the eastern Mojave, to other areas where it is found.




July 6, 2009

    I drove over Tioga Pass on Monday, and had lunch at the Mobil Gas Station, eating half my hamburger and saving the other half for dinner.
    My first task of this trip was to re-locate several of the sites defined by the Mono Basin Research Group (MBRG). These have been approximately located by rubber-sheeting the MBRG map over a map of Mono Lake, locating the midpoint of the site on the map, and then de-projecting the points to WGS1984 for uploading into my GPS receiver.

Other articles:
• Mono Lake Basin Flora:  Site P-5;

Locations: MBRG P-5.
Full Size ImageVicinity of MBRG Site P-5  

Full Size Image
Vicinity of MBRG Site P-5
The MBRG Site P-5 is at a location known locally as Sneeker Flat. “Sneeker Flat” is not recognized by the GNIS. This is close to the location of the Old Marina, between the parking lot for the Old Marina, and the new trail and boardwalk that is under construction.
    The other sites around the northwest corner of the lake (P-12, P-9, P-2, and P-3) appear to me to be on private land, or behind locked gates, so I did not attempt to visit them.

Locations: Dechambeau Ranch.
Full Size ImageDechambeau Ranch from Black Point Road  


Other articles:
• Black Point Rd. (FR 02N42):   at end;
• Mono Lake Basin Flora:  Site P-4;

Locations: MBRG P-4.
Full Size ImageVicinity of MBRG Site P-4  

Full Size Image
Vicinity of MBRG Site P-4
The next site that was accessible was P-4, near the Black Point parking lot. This one I visited, following the needle on my GPS received until it started to spin, and the distance was 4 feet.
    Drove east on CA Highway 167 and then northwest on Dobie Meadows Road, looking for unstabilized sand dunes, but did not find any. All the dunes I saw had vegetation growing on them.
    I camped -- actually, selected a place to park my truck -- in Lundy Canyon, at the Mono County Campground. Had a nice little spot in the aspen groves beside Mill Creek. Some of Mill Creek runs wild, but a good part of it is diverted at Lundy Lake to generate electricity for LA. This campground is inhabited mainly by old people with 5th-wheels and RVs. Very few people were out. In fact, I saw my neighbor, Bob of “Bob & Bev” according to the sign on their 5th-wheel, only through their dining room window.




July 7, 2009


Other articles:
• California Highway 167:   s.w. of Cedar Hill;   s.w. of Cedar Hill;

Locations: Cedar Hill.
Full Size ImageShorelines on Cedar Hill  

Full Size Image
View west on California Highway 167
Tuesday morning, I gassed-up, and headed east again. Just at the California-Nevada border, I visited a grove of Junipers that are exceptionally large.

Literature Cited:
- Barbour, Michael G., Todd Keeler-Wolf, and Allan A. Schoenherr, 2007.

Other articles:
• Mono Lake Basin Flora:  Cedar Hill;
• Nevada Highway 359:   near CA state line;
Full Size ImageVery large Utah Juniper, Collection No. 571  

571    Juniperus osteosperma as grown in Nevada.

"There is a remarkable stand of Utah juniper east of Mono Lake near the Nevada border. The stand has very little single leaf pinyon, and the Utah juniper trees are very large and have the appearance of very old trees. The stand is growing on wind-eroded volcanic tephra sand with little understory herbaceous vegetation, which may contribute to making the location a fire safe site (Barbour, et al., 2007)."

Other articles:
• California Highway 167:   near NV state line;
Full Size ImageVery large Utah Juniper, Collection No. 572
Full Size ImageCollection #572  

Full Size Image
Collection #572
Juniperus osteosperma as grown in California.
    On Adobe Valley Road east of Mono Lake, there were a few plants to collect; one here and one over there. There was no one stop with a lot of different species of plants to collect.

Other articles:
• Dobie Meadows Road:   in Mono Valley;
Full Size ImageStabilized dune beside the road.  

  The first stop was a low stabilized dune or former beach strand on the west side of the road.

Other articles:
• Dobie Meadows Road:   in Mono Valley;
Full Size ImageCollection #573, Tiquilia nuttallii
Full Size ImageCollection #573, Tiquilia nuttallii  

573    Tiquilia nuttallii (Hook.) A. T. Richardson. (Syn: Coldenia nuttallii Hook. ) Nuttall's Crinklemat. However, note that the corolla is lavender, whereas T. nuttalii is usually described as "pink to white."

Other articles:
• Dobie Meadows Road:   in Mono Valley;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 574, Eriogonum nummulare
Full Size ImageColl. No. 574, Eriogonum nummulare  

Full Size Image
Coll. No. 574, Eriogonum nummulare
Eriogonum nummulare M. E. Jones. Money Buckwheat.

In Mono Valley, 20 meters west of and above Dobie Meadows Road, 1.7 mi (2.7 km) northwest of Alameda Well. In stabilized dune or beach strand. (38.1212°, -118.8531°, WGS 1984.)

Determination tentative. Immature material. Collection discarded.

Other articles:
• Dobie Meadows Road:   in Mono Valley;
Full Size ImageCollection #575, Achnatherum Eriocoma hymenoides  

575    Achnatherum hymenoides

Other articles:
• Dobie Meadows Road:   in Mono Valley;
Full Size ImageCollection #576 Psoralidium lanceolatum alongside Adobe Meadows Road.
Full Size ImageCollection #576 Psoralidium lanceolatum alongside Adobe Meadows Road.  

576    Psoralidium lanceolatum (Pursh) Rydb. Dune Scurfpea

Full Size ImageStabilized dune in Mono Valley  
  A little further south on Dobie Meadows Road

Other articles:
• Dobie Meadows Road:   in Mono Valley;
Full Size ImageOrobanche corymbosa, Collection No. 577
Full Size ImageCollection #577 Orobanche corymbosa  

Full Size Image
Collection #577 Orobanche corymbosa
Orobanche corymbosa
    Also along the road was an Astragalus. This was the lowest elevation at which I saw this plant. It was much more numerous further south at higher elevation.

Other articles:
• Dobie Meadows Road:   in Mono Valley;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 578, Astragalus lentiginosus var. floribundus beside the road.
Full Size ImageColl. No. 578 Astragalus lentiginosus var. floribundus  

Full Size Image
Collection #578 Astragalus lentiginosus var. flloribundus
Astragalus, along Dobie Meadows Road __ mi (__ km) [north|south] of Alameda Well few along side the road, many more seen between here and Adobe Hills Spillway. Same as #581.

Locations: Deep Wells.
Full Size ImageMono Valley from Deep Wells.  

  Took a little detour up the road to Deep Wells. Did not see anything to collect, or to return to.

Other articles:
• Dobie Meadows Road:   below spillway;
Full Size ImageCollecting Location near the Adobe Hills Spillway.  

  … a little further, just below the spillway.

Other articles:
• Dobie Meadows Road:   below spillway;
Full Size ImageThelypodium milleflorum, Coll. No. 579
Full Size ImageColl. No. 579 Thelypodium milleflorum  

579    Thelypodium milleflorum A. Nelson. Many-Flower Thelypody.

Adobe Hills Spillway, Mono County, California. Along the side of Dobie Meadows Road, just below the Adobe Hills Spillway, 32 km by air east northeast of Lee Vining, California, 16.6 miles east on CA Highway 167 from US Highway 395, then 7.9 miles southeast on Dobie Meadows Road. 38.0606°N, 118.7754°W. WGS 1984. Elev. 2143 m.

Coll. No. 579, 7 Jul 2009, characters observed: Perennial (?), to 50 cm.; Hairs 0; Glands 0; Leaves, at least some cauline, basal, petioles unknown (should be ciliate), cauline, not basally lobed or clasping, all petioled, petiole ≤20 mm., blade, ovoid, largest 70 mm. × 40 mm. wide, reduced above, few dentate; Inflorescence, 7-12 cm., single spike per stem, Pedicel upcurved; Flowers, radial, bisexual, all parts spreading; Petals, white, oblanceolate (not linear), 9 mm.; Stamens 6, ±equal in length; Anthers curled >360°; Fruit, (immature) stalk 1.5 mm. + body 12 mm. + style 0.3 mm., erect (not appressed).

Other articles:
• Dobie Meadows Road:   below spillway;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 580 Aliciella monoensis near Adobe Hills Spillway.
Full Size ImageColl. No. 580 Aliciella monoensis near Adobe Hills Spillway.  

580    Aliciella monoensis J. M. Porter.

Adobe Hills Spillway, Mono County, California. Along the side of Dobie Meadows Road, just below the Adobe Hills Spillway of Pleistocene Lake Mono. 38.0605°N, 118.7754°W. WGS 1984. Elev. 2143 m.

Full Size ImageCollection #581 Astragalus lentiginosus var. floribundus near Adobe Hills Spillway.
Full Size ImageCollection #581 Astragalus lentiginosus var. floribundus near Adobe Hills Spillway.  
581    Astragalus lentiginosus Hook. var. floribundus A. Gray. Freckled Milkvetch.

Adobe Hills Spillway, Mono County, California. Along side of Dobie Meadows Road, just below the Adobe Hills Spillway, 32.8 km ENE of Lee Vining, California. 38.0605°N, 118.7754°W. WGS 1984. Elev. 2143 m.

Other articles:
• Dobie Meadows Road:   break in slope;

Locations: Adobe Hills Spillway.
Full Size ImageSnail shells in sediments  

Full Size Image
View north from Adobe Hills Spillway
At the Adobe Hills Spillway, I found snail shells in the sediments from a time during an ice age thousands of years ago, when Mono Lake was 500 feet higher than it is now, and it overflowed into the Owens River drainage. These snail shells are part of the evidence that Mono Lake was really up this high, and overflowed through this little pass (Reheis, Stine, and Sarna-Wojcicki, 2002.). While I read abut them in the geology papers, I wanted to actually see them and take a photo for my web site.

Other articles:
• Dobie Meadows Road:   break in slope;
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 618, 29 Jun 2010;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 582, Ipomopsis congesta
Full Size ImageCollection No. 582, Ipomopsis congesta ssp. congesta  

Full Size Image
Collection No. 582, Ipomopsis congesta ssp. congesta
Ipomopsis congesta, at spillway 7/7/2009 11:28:04 AM Adobe Hills Spillway, Mono County, California. (Alameda).

Other articles:
• Dobie Meadows Road:   at little road;
Full Size ImageView to south of the spillway.  

  Had lunch on a small point just north of the spillway. This might be a nice place to camp. There is a USGS marker here.

Other articles:
• Dobie Meadows Road:   in Adobe Valley;
Full Size ImageWild horse in Adobe Valley.  

  Continuing south into Adobe Valley, I came upon a herd of wild horses (can wild horses be called a "herd?") and managed to video them running and then crossing the road in front of me.

Other articles:
• Dobie Meadows Road:   in Adobe Valley;
Full Size ImageGlass Mountain from Adobe Valley  

  View of Glass Mountain from Adobe Valley.

Locations: Sagehen Meadow Campground.
Full Size ImageSagehen Meadow Campground  

  Sagehen Meadow campground

Other articles:
• California Highway 120:   at Big Sand Flat;
• Mono Lake Basin Flora:   near Sagehen Summit;

Locations: Big Sand Flat.
Full Size ImageWildflowers at Big Sand Flat.  

  At Big Sand Flat the magenta Skunky Monkey Flower (Diplacus mephiticus (Greene) G.L. Nesom) and blue Mono Lake Lupine (Lupinus duranii Eastw.) were putting quite a show.

Other articles:
• California Highway 120:   at Mono Mills;

Locations: Mono Mills.
Full Size ImageNew interpretive display at Mono Mills.  

  Mono Mills
    Took a detour to East Craters Sand Flat, by way of 01S07, and then turning north west on 01N24.

Other articles:
• Field Notes:   Coll. No. 559 on 13-Aug-08;
Full Size ImageOne-seeded Pussypaws (Calyptridium monospermum) at East Craters Sand Flat
Full Size ImageCollection No. 583  

583    Calyptridium monospermum E. Greene. 7/7/2009 2:57:15 PM East Craters Sand Flat

Full Size ImageCollection No. 584, Phacelia hastata ssp. hastata
Full Size ImageCollection No. 584, Phacelia hastata ssp. hastata
Full Size ImageCollection No. 584, Phacelia hastata ssp. hastata  
584    Phacelia, 7/7/2009 2:57:15 PM East Craters Sand Flat.

I repeatedly key this one out at P. hastata hastata, but everyone else seems to collect P. hastata compacta in the Mono Lake basin.

Other articles:
• Forest Road 1N24:   in sand flat;
Full Size ImageColl. No. 585, Erysimum capitatum var. capitatum
Full Size ImageColl. No. 585, Sand Dune Wallflower (Erysimum capitatum var. capitatum) at East Craters Sand Flat  

585    Erysimum capitatum (Douglas ex Hook.) Greene var. capitatum. Sanddune Wallflower.

East Craters Sand Flat, Mono County, California. at the north end of East Craters Sand Flat along Forest Road 1S24, 2.7 mi (4.4 km) southwest of Mono Mills 37.853°N, 118.9869°W. WGS 1984. Elev. 2421 m.

Other articles:
• California Highway 120:   at 1N11;

Locations: Panum Crater.
Full Size ImageSpire of rhyolite and obsidian on top of Panum Crater  

Full Size Image
Interpretive sign at Panum Crater
Full Size Image
View of Panum Crater
I climbed into Panum Crater, which is just south of Lee Vining, to see the obsidian, and check out the view. Years ago I came here with a Merritt College geology field trip. It is a common stop for geology field trips because it is a classic rhyolitic plug dome and easily accessible. I thought there would be a good view of Mono Lake from the top of Panum Crater, but this was not to be since the "summit" is a false one and the true summit with the view is just not accessible.




July 8, 2009

    On the web sites of geology field trips, there is often a stop at some very folded lake sediments. The folks at the Forest Service Info Center had no idea where they might be but were sure the Mono Lake Committee would know.
    They didn't know either, but we settled on me looking around Wilson Creek.
    The locked gate on the road to Wilson Creek presented a little problem. So as I was driving around trying to find an easy way to hike to Wilson Creek, I saw the outcrop right on Cemetery Road, just above Mill Creek, where I have driven by maybe a dozen times, and didn't recognize the outcrop.

Literature Cited:
- Bridge, John, and Robert Demicco, 2008.

Other articles:
• Cemetery Road (FR 02N40):   above Mill Creek;
Full Size ImageDeformed sediments near Mill Creek  

  These are lake sediments that were deposited laying flat. But something happened to fold them into some very tight folds. It could have been the weight of Black Point on top of them that caused the folding, or it could have been that they were pushed one way or the other and crinkled up, kind of like pushing a layer of cloth against a barrier. No one really knows how the sediments got folded so tightly. The most common suggestion is that the folding was triggered by seismic schock.
    Black Point is a volcano that erupted under the water of Mono Lake when the lake was higher. Now, it is one of the few underwater volcanoes that are fully exposed, so it is also a destination for many geology field trips.
    On top of Black Point is a large fissure, about 18 inches wide and 20-30 feet deep, and hundreds of feet long. You can go inside the fissure and look at the layers of volcanic ash. Well, that sounded interesting and it truly was interesting to see ... except for the mile-long 400 foot climb in the loose ash the makes up Black Point. The climb was about an hour, on the black sand, in the sun, weaving around the sagebrush. There is always a trade-off to make between wearing shorts for coolness, or long stiff jeans to protect your legs from the brush. I opted for the shorts and will live with the decorative marks on my legs for a few days.

Locations: Black Point.
Full Size ImageLocation of Collection No. 586, Eriastrum wilcoxii
Full Size ImageCollection No. 586, Eriastrum wilcoxii at Black Point.  

Full Size Image
Collection No. 586, Eriastrum wilcoxii at Black Point.
Eriastrum wilcoxi (A. Nelson) H. Mason, near top in volcanic sands 7/8/2009 10:47:26 AM Black Point,

Other articles:
• Mono Lake Basin Flora:  Black Point;

Locations: Black Point.
Full Size ImageTop of the Fissure  

Full Size Image
Inside the Fissure
Full Size Image
Entrance to the Fissure
Full Size Image
Top of the Fissure
The fissures are near the top of Black Point, on the southwest side. The entrance is a little nondescript, but the fissures deepen quickly once you are inside.

Full Size ImageLundy Canyon and Copper Mountain from Black Point  
  To the west is Lundy Canyon and Copper Mountain.

Locations: Negit Island.
Full Size ImageNegit Island from Black Point  

  To the southeast is Negit Island

Full Size ImageJack Rabbit on Black Point  
  On the way back down Black Point, I startled a couple of jackrabbits, one of which posed for me. As long as it could see me, it sat still. But as soon as I was hidden from view by some sagebrush, it ran away.
    Anyway, for my recommendation, the Fissure should definitely be on your list of 10,000 things you plan to do before you die, but probably somewhere near the bottom.

Other articles:
• Black Point Rd. (FR 02N42):   at end;
Full Size ImageCollection No. 587, Mentzelia torreyi
Full Size ImageCollection No. 587, Mentzelia torreyi  

Full Size Image
Collection No. 587, Mentzelia torreyi
Mentzelia torreyi A. Gray, in volcanic sands on former beach strands 7/8/2009 11:54:08 AM Black Point,
    Lastly on the beach of Mono Lake at Black Point, I also found Torrey's Blazing-Star (Mentzelia torreyi). There are other Blazing-Stars in the Mono Lake basin, including the very large Smooth-Stem Blazing Star (Mentzelia laevicaulis) with its large bright yellow flowers. However, in the Mono Lake basin, the little Torrey's Blazing Star is only found on the old beaches near Black Point.
    Came home through Yosemite, stopping at May Lake for lunch.


Other articles:
• Cape Arago Highway:   at Cape Arago;
• U. S. Highway 101:   at Croft Lk Rd;   at Cape Blanco Rd;
Full Size ImageHughes House
Full Size ImagePlaque for Hughes House  


14 September 2009

Full Size Image
Cape Blanco Lighthouse
Full Size Image
Ellen Warring Learning Center at New River ACEC
Full Size Image
Information about New River ACEC
Full Size Image
Cranberry bogs along Croft Lake Road.
Full Size Image
Cranberries along Croft Lake Road.
Full Size Image
Seals, sea lions, and sea elephants on Simpson Reef, off Cape Arago, Oregon


Other articles:
• U. S. Highway 101:   at Yachats;  Cape Perpetua Interpretive Center;   s. Heceta Hd;   at Darlingtonia Wayside;   at Woahink Lk;  Umpqua Lighthouse State Park;  325300;

Locations: Yachats.
Full Size ImageMouth of Umpqua River, Oregon  


Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Full Size Image
Umpqua Lighthouse, Oregon
Full Size Image
Lighthouse keeper's quarters, Umpqua Lighthouse, Oregon.
Full Size Image
Sailboat on Woahink Lake
Full Size Image
Interpretive sign for Darlingtonia State Wayside
Full Size Image
Darlingtonia californica
Full Size Image
Heceta Head Lighthouse from view point.
Full Size Image
Tide pools at Cape Perpetua, Oregon
Full Size Image
Luna Sea Restaurant, Yachats, Oregon (2009).


Other articles:
• Jetty Road:   at Obs Twr;
• Peter Iredale Road:   near Peter Iredale;   in Ft Stevens St Pk;
• U. S. Highway 101:  214000;   at Nehalem Bay St Pk;
Full Size ImageLife Jacket Loaner Station, Nehalem Bay, Oregon
Full Size ImageNehalem Bay, Oregon  


17 September 2009

Full Size Image
Haystack Rock, off Cannon Beach, Oregon
Full Size Image
Remains of the Peter Iredale.
Full Size Image
South jetty of Columbia River
Full Size Image
Camper in Fort Stevens State Park, Oregon


Other articles:
• U. S. Highway 101:   on Astoria-Megler Bridge;
• US Hwy 30:   at 4th St;   in Astoria;   at 17th St;
Full Size ImageUnloading fish in Astoria, Oregon
Full Size ImageAstoria-Megler Bridge across Columbia River at Astoria, Oregon.  


18 September 2009

Full Size Image
Astoria Column
Full Size Image
Information board about the Bowpicker Caf e.
Full Size Image
Bowpicker Caf e.
Full Size Image
Bowpicker Caf e.

Locations: Pilot Spring.
Full Size ImageOverview of Collection No. 560  

560    17 Nov 2009: Figured out the collection made at Pilot Spring 13-Aug-08 to be Geum macrophyllum. I knew the seed head, aka achene body, was distinctive, and it was only a matter of time until I found it. The taxon is relatively common on Glass Mountain, and this occurrence could be considered an extension from there.

Now, though, I am curious about the other unique collection from Pilot Spring; that of Sanicula graveolens. This is the only collection of S. graveolens from Mono County. I would like to have a look at the specimen at UCR (University of California Riverside) to verify that determination.

Full Size ImageWall-size map of Alameda
Full Size ImageMap of central portion of Alameda.  
  18 Nov 2009: It's been a month since the maps of Alameda were finished. It's time to pack up the files, make a few backup DVD's, and clean up the unneeded files.

Other articles:
• Maps:   in January 1996;   in December 2006;   in August 2008;

Locations: Lobo Point.
Full Size ImageLocation of Lobo Point.  

Full Size Image
Location of Lobo Point.
28 Nov 2009: Added several versions of my map showing the location of Lobo Point to my map portfolio.
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Date and time this article was prepared: 5/10/2024 11:05:50 AM