Ellensburg 7/6/2012

The Washington Native Plant Society put on a workshop at the Lazy F Ranch near Ellensburg, WA. on how to identify the various species of Indian Paintbrush and Buckwheat.  These genera are difficult and the consensus seems to be that they are much easier to identify if you know which species are found in the area.  We arrived on a Friday and photographed a swarm of checkerspot butterflies puddling along the Manastash Road on our way to the camp.
The Lazy F Ranch is a church camp and we stayed in a log cabin and slept on bunk beds in our sleeping bags.  We ate breakfast in the cafeteria and fixed ourselves sack lunches for our mid-day meal.  We were on the road by 9:00 and carpooled to Clockum Pass with stops along the way to see the wildflowers blooming along the road  This was an all-day excursion and we returned to camp for dinner which was followed by a lecture on the species of Indian Paintbrush native to the Northwest.
Sunday, we had a two hour lab on buckwheats and then we carpooled to Table Mountain.  We made several stops along the road and identified five different species of buckwheat along with some other wildflowers.  It’s lots of fun being out in the field with experts, looking at wildflowers and in a group like this, you don’t have to worry about being viewed as odd.  After our excursion was over, we drove to Leavenworth and slept in real beds.
Monday morning we hiked up Chiwaukum Creek in search of Tweedy’s Lewisia.  This is a gorgeous rock garden plant with salmon to apricot flowers about an inch in diameter.  We found the plant but it had already bloomed out.  Along the trail we saw some Lyall’s Mariposa Lillies along with some other pretties.  There were also some butterflies flitting about and Larry coaxed a Zerene Fritiilary onto his finger and I took a picture of it sucking up perspiration with its tongue.
We headed south through the rolling hills of Eastern Washington and stopped at Goldendale for our traditional meal of a Southwest Salad at Mc Donald’s.  Whether or not an old flower bum deserves a trip like this can be argued but the joy of being there can not.      
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