In my wanderings on a rainy day last week I encountered an area along a creek in a very narrow canyon where the rocks and cliffs were simply covered with moss and lichens. I personally know very little about most lichens, but thought someone might be interested in seeing them and so I am posting the following photos with no narrative except a possible identification of two of the lichen species.
In today’s steady rain, a couple of miles up Buffalo Bill Creek, the only “sunshine” I saw was this brightly colored lichen. Its yellow color is derived from two poisonous substances, pinastric and vulpinic acids which occur only in lichens and are thought to deter grazing by insects and other invertebrates. Pretty, isn’t it!
Although the weather has been rather cool, wet and with snow forecast again for this weekend, the wildflowers are managing to bloom pretty much on schedule. At the bottom end of Munson Creek near the footbridge a few Trilliums are blooming today. A little further up the trail some Glacier Lilies have emerged.
Western White Trillium, Trillium Ovatum
Glacier Lily, Erythronium grandiflorum
Another mile up the trail and no flowers have appeared yet, but the lichen are doing well after a cold winter in the canyon.
Today was cloudy and cool, not snowing, not raining, not really cold, and not sunny, but I decided to visit Buttercup Ridge, a tiny ridge top where this area’s very first buttercups bloom each spring. And this one is ready, just waiting for the next sunny day:
I had visited there on February 4th, and then it had looked like this:
In addition to the Buttercups, in a small clear place amidst the snow that still blankets most of the ridge, I found that Nature has created a tiny arrangement of lichens and winter moss just for the pleasure of anyone who would take the time and make the effort to visit Her special little ridge.