May 13, 2009
Tonight's wildflower walk took us to the top of the North rim and down through the dog town. The difference in flowers from even that small elevation difference was obvious--deathcamas blooming on top of the ridge but not below, larkspur and vetch the same. There were sand lilies everywhere, though, and phlox. Also blooming were skunkbush, currant, wild onion, prairie violet, and yellow biscuitroot. At the top of the ridge, at least, the currants were far more common at the base of the ponderosa than elsewhere. We spotted a small patch of Poa bulbosa, or bulbous bluegrass, which has bulblets that fall to the ground instead of seeds. It's a non-native and can be aggressive, so we pulled up the plants we found. We also spent time looking at the sedges, their wiry roots holding together roundish platforms of soil protected from erosion. Animals for the evening included a small rattlesnake, a pair of blue herons flying overhead, and a close encounter (not too close!) with a porcupine in a clump of sagebrush. The temperature dropped dramatically at sunset at the edge of the canyon.