The 79th Anahim Lake Stampede was, as you can see, a mud bath! The rain we’v had this spring and early summer has been unbelievable. (This is the pole bending race.)
Although the day started with a few showers, it was fairly dry for the opening ceremony. (But they did not have to water the arena to keep down the dust as they usually do.)The first event was steer wrestling.Next was breakaway calf roping. A lot of women compete in roping events.At that point it started to rain again. Umbrellas sprouted up like mushrooms. (Normally people who have them bring them to shade themselves from the sun.)Wild cow riding was next. This is an event for kids who are training to be bronc or bull riders some day. Only or four contestants (entries were down right across the board) – this one was a girl.Team roping is where one man lassoos the head or horns of a steer, and the other snags a hind foot.This was the only successful team.I was by now wearing two coats (I don’t have any that are completely waterproof) and stuffing my camera – which is not waterproof – under the coats in between shots. I kept trying to wipe the rain off the lens but still got a few drops.
Other audience members were dealing with the rain in their own way.
This guy didn’t seem to mind at all.Some people were already leaving, but most stuck it out long enough to see the wild cow milking. It was then that the heavens opened and it started to deluge.A bunch of cows and two teams of four were turned into the arena. These were rodeo cows who were not used to being handled. It was hard to get close to them. Here is Henry trying to rope one. (Henry operated the machine that dug the basement of my house, and has frequently ploughed my road. He is also prominent in the Precipice Cattle Drives.)He missed, and it was the other team who eventually secured a cow and managed to squirt a bit of milk into a bottle. The milker is Punky Hatch, whose ranch I visited earlier this year during calving season.By the time the barrel racing came along, the arena had a texture of sloppy oatmeal.
By now, these brave contestants were performing to a virtually empty place.Next to last was another team roping event. Don’t ask me why there are two – something to do with rodeo standards. I go there only to take pictures. (And see my friends making fools of themselves.)
They failed to get the hind hoof.
I was hanging in there because the final event of the day is always the bull riding. There was only one contestant this year. He had a pretty wild ride in the chute.It took so long to get him settled, with me keeping the camera primed and under my coats, that the lens was steamed up when I tried to take a photo.The rider lasted his 8 seconds, but even when you are successful, there is no easy way to get off.“That’s it, folks,” said the announcer. “See you tomorrow.” Yeah, right!
Our summer lasted exactly four days. Now it is raining again. The following photos don’t show the extent of the gloom and wetness we’ve had this last couple of weeks, because I generally took pictures only when the sun shone, which is usually early in the morning.Some things in my garden didn’t work – the strawberries made about 6 flowers then gave up. Fortunately a friend had luscious ones and I was able to buy from him. The greens are loving the rain, though.Chard and Kohl Rabi in the foreground, spinach and lettuce in the back. The red stuff is mostly a red mustard. It’s leaves are four times the size they are most years. The spinach and mustards are all making flower stalks. The minute it turns hot (if ever) they will bolt.There are mushrooms everywhere – unusual in the spring. Each of these boletis would not fit on a dinner plate.The meadow flowers are beginning to look a bit ratty, but now the lance-leaved stonecrops are coming into their own. They are making a fantastic display this year.
And the paintbrush patch is at its peak. (How much prettier they look when there is a little sun to set them off!)There is a great crop of soopollallie this year – I commented in an earlier post how many flowers we had. This is only the second time in ten years I have seen a berry crop like this. A lot of people don’t like the taste, but I think they are delicious. Thin skinned and juicy so very squishy to pick, though.One morning we had a spectacular drama.
At the same time, in the south, was the bottom end of an amazing rainbow. (It is hovering over the north ridge or Perkin’s Peak – see previous post.)
As the sun climbed higher, it caught the new solar panels on the internet tower. (No batteries yet, so all that power is going nowhere!)The display lasted about half an hour. Then cloud began to swallow the mountains.And this was the last I saw of the sun -and the mountains – for a couple more days.
I knew that there was a road close to the top of Perkins Peak. It was created for a gold mine now defunct. (This view seen from my yard.) I actually tried to find it last year in the middle of June with a bunch of volunteers, but got lost in the clearcuts although it took them only four hours to reach the summit from where I was able to drop them. I wanted to go now, because at Nuk Tessli, the rock alpines are already at their best at the end of June. I was curious as to see how the flora up here differed as different base rocks usually mean different flowers.
This year I was armed with written instructions from a friend. Some of the logging roads were new since she had last been up there so it was a little confusing. The day was spectacular. 28C was forecast at home but we hoped for cooler temperatures higher up.Soon we were encountering all kinds of alpine flowers beside the road. Silk phacelia is actually quite common around my home in dry spots, but is finished already here. It also grows occasionally at Nuk Tessli. Here it was abundant.Also beside the road was a little gem, lyall’s lupin, which is no bigger than a clover.I was blown away as to how easy it was to drive up to the alpine – albeit on a a road that was very rough in places. Moreover, up there, were three choices of destination. The mine, Emerald Lake, both of which I will explore at a another time, and the mountain itself. We parked right at the treeline. The road had been so rough and confusing, it seemed bizarre to see this well-made sign. (Apart from the road, there is no obvious trail, but the walking is easy.)We followed a creek – and realized we could have driven even higher. (The truck is in the background.)Soon I was in seventh heaven, for the flowers were exactly what I wanted to see. Moss campion.Lots of silky phacelia.And everywhere a very abundant potentilla species. The genus is notoriously difficult to sort out; this was probably P. glaucophylla.The fell fields were absolute gardens. Along with the potentillas and moss campion are lots of jacobs ladder (again, long-finished at home.) Even at this altitude it was hot.Lauren, my volunteer, liked photographing movies.She had her hood up because of the bugs. They weren’t all that bad, but they were certainly a nuisance. Because I was stopping every few minutes to photograph, I decided it would be more comfortable to wear my serious bug net. I had clear glass put in some old frames and stuck a no-see-um net to them. I wear them over my regular glasses with very little trouble. This way I can see!Lyall’s goldenweed does not grow at Nuk Tessli so I have seen it only once before. 8-petalled avens are a sure indication of alpine.Mountain marsh marigolds and mountain meadow buttercups are old friends.Mountain sorrel Cut-leafed fleabaneAnd the only specimen I found of small-flowered senecio.Jacobs ladder was all over the place. It is interesting to see how much more dwarfed in stem and bigger-flowered the same species is at these higher elevations.And silky phacelia and the potentilla were everywhere.The truck road ended at a lake. A big snow patch would have blocked us this time, but in the future I will attempt to drive to this point. The zigzag on the shady slope might have been a truck road once, but now is safe only for atvs. Someone had already been up there before us this year. Lauren and I had lunch, before we seperated again. The rest of this hike will be detailed in the next post, Perkins Peak part two.
Posted in Life In The Wild
Tagged 8-petalled avens, jacob's ladder, lyalls goldenweed, lyalls lupin, moss campion, mountain marsh marigold, mountain meadow buttercup, mountain sorrel, Perkins Peak, potentilla glaucophylla, small-flowered senecio
I decided not to try and climb to the top of Perkins Peak as I had already spent such a long time photographing flowers. Instead, a walk along the almost horizontal ridge between me and the mountain itself seemed to be the way to go. The rock and lichen colours were fantastic.American pipits and horned larks flitted about and gave little peeping noises as they are wont to do in this environment.The walking was easy. The top of the ridge gave me a nice view to the east. (A willow species along with the potentilla in the foreground.)Now I started seeing a delight that I was familiar with from Nuk Tessli. A cabbage relative: payson’s draba.Lots more Jacob’s ladder.And a very much dwarfed cut-leaf anemone.The shining chickweed is a pretty little thing. So precious amongst the stark rocks.
At the top of the ridge, Badger was beginning to flag.Every time I stopped to photograph, he would plop down, and it was getting hard to make him move again. Harry, however, was bored.As said earlier, potentillas are hard to identify, but here are one, possibly two other species. At least one is probably P. uniflora.
Thunder had been forecast, so I was keeping a sharp eye on the sky, but this little mini storm came to nothing. The thundery clouds made for spectacular lighting effects, though.Roseroot is common at Nuk Tessli, but quite rare up here so it was a treat to find this splash of colour.From the western end of the ridge, I had a fine view down to the lake and the Chilcotin beyond.I had to get down there. Fortunately, I found a long snow slope that was easy on my knees. Insects become stranded on the snow and unable to move due to the cold. This one was as big as a dollar – it is not a mosquito. I wonder what the purpose is of the two tiny horizontal “horns” are behind its head.Below the snowbank I ran into another lovely creek.Sibbaldia procumbens.Moss Campions are like sunsets. You’ve gotta keep taking pictures!Finally, a great favourite from Nuk Tessli, bog laurel. The white heather, abundant at Nuk Tessli, is not so common here.
Amongst the bog laurel, a few of the peculiar inky gentians were blooming.More 8-petalled avens were scattered in drier areas.And as I approached the lake, the potentilla sp. became even more abundant.And alongside the lake was yet another treat, creeping azalea.What an incredibly perfect day. And to think that this alpine playground is only an hour and a half’s drive from home. Sure enough, the road means that there will be plenty of other users driving machines, especially at weekends, but I now have a new alpine back yard to call my own.
Posted in Life In The Wild
Tagged 8-petalled avens, bog laurel, Chilcotin, creeping azalea, horned lark, inky gentian, jacob's ladder, moss campion, Nuk Tessli, payson's draba, Perkins Peak, potentilla uniflora, roseroot
The weather, after the solstice, is finally mostly sunny. I still cannot get over how green the Chilcotin is. The faint hint of brown in the roadside verge is not through drought, as is usual at this time of year, but because the grasses are flowering. One good thing about the rainy spring is that they and the roadside weeds (almost all introduced species) are thriving.
The wild roses are at last allowed to flower without getting beaten to death. Their scent is heavenly.They make a perfect honeymoon suite.After three years my rock garden is finally filling in.The prettiest plant right now is the brown-eyed Susan, grown from seed I collected about 5 hours east and south, from a dry grassland area. It seems to like it here.The yellow flowers below are an introduced weed, but I am so glad to have something covering the dustbowl of my yard (barren despite several plantings) I will let them be for now. Besides, the bees and butterflies love them. (Scroll back a few posts to the winter shots. What a contrast!)A couple of weeks before the Solstice, I started finishing the yurt interior. I coated the floor, and put a small patch of tile around the stove. I had never tiled before, and learned how to do it, partly from a friend’s advice, and partly from this video. If you do happen to click on the link, you will notice how CLEAN the guy is. Even with this small job, I got the stuff EVERYWHERE. (Good job I put plastic on the floor.)On solstice Monday, a volunteer arrived. With her, we finished the yurt interior. The old iron beds were scraped and repainted.And fitted out with mattresses…And it’s now ready for use!Another thing Lauren helped me with was putting row-cover tents over the kale. I grow a lot to dry for winter use, and at all other times they were riddled with caterpillars – makes the job twice as long when I have to inspect every leaf. (And I’m sure I’ve eaten many caterpillars!)The garden looks funky – but the kale looks so happy inside! (Collards in front.) Unfortunately, Lauren will have left by the time I will dry the first batch. A tedious job!The other recent local event of note is the installation of the solar panels and other hardware on our new Internet tower. It won’t be in use for a good while yet as the booster tower at Tatla needs lengthening, which involves taking what’s there apart and replacing it, and our tower needs heavy batteries, which will need to be helicoptered in. But the progress is exciting. (This picture is taken with a very big zoom from my house.)