HIke #2 - eastern slope Rockies, July 25/11

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Lori S.
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Joined: 2009-10-27
HIke #2 - eastern slope Rockies, July 25/11

Today, we enjoyed a hike to Sparrowhawk Tarns in Peter Lougheed Prov. Park in Kananaskis Country.Despite the snowfall (even more than last year), it appears a few days of "hot" weather (all things being relative) have advanced things along in this area beyond last year's extremely late spring. Having said that though, it was still early up there.Trailside stream... the same flow that starts way up at the top, actually...

"The hump", after a pleasant and fairly short forest walk... (we call it that for some reason, as though it is the only climb after the initial elevation gain from the road... not so, by any means!):

This rocky area marks the first appearance of many subalpine/alpine flowers... Smelowskia calycina; Dryas octopetala; Aquilegia flavescens (x2); Valeriana sitchensis; Veronica wormskjoldii:

A couple of fellows lounging in the rocks... hoary marmot (Marmota caligata), young of the year presumably (as a bigger, burlier (presumed) adult kept watch a ways away) and all quite unconcerned about our passing:

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

A nice hike! I assume the streamwater is drinkable up there? Even in Venezuela the water in the remote streams were safe to drink.I like the yellow Aquilegia. Any chance of seed?

Trond Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Sure, it's all drinkable... it's just whether or not you get giardiasis later...  ;Dhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GiardiaIt's very unpleasant, so we always carry water. 

Lori Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3 -30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

RickR
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Joined: 2009-09-21
Lori wrote:

Sure, it's all drinkable...

I get asked at work a lot: "Can I eat these ornamental peppers?"Sure you can, but I'm not say they will taste good, and one never knows what chemicals might have been sprayed on them in the greenhouse.

I like the Valeriana sitchensis.  In our spring Chapter garden tour, the Valeriana montana was blooming in Djina's garden.  It is much more pink, but I like the purple tones of sitchensis better.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27
Hoy wrote:

I like the yellow Aquilegia. Any chance of seed?

If I come upon seed in an area where collecting is allowed, I will definitely collect and send you some!

Up and up... Lots of nice Silene acaulis through the mixed rocky and turfy area at about treeline elevation (which is comprised of a band of larches, Larix lyallii in this area).  As can be seen in the last photo, the most common groundcovering plant is a tiny-leaved Salix (S. reticulata or S. vestita, I suppose??):     

And up and up...

The effort is rewarded with views of the valley ahead... 

And views of terrain left behind... 

And with a little more upward exertion, we arrive at the first tarn:

Lori Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3 -30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Hoy
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Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15
Lori wrote:

Sure, it's all drinkable... it's just whether or not you get giardiasis later...  ;Dhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GiardiaIt's very unpleasant, so we always carry water. 

A couple of years ago the municipal drinking water of Bergen was contaminated with giardia and a lot of the inhabitants got the disease. It was a shock to everyone, none had anticipated that.

Lori wrote:

If I come upon seed in an area where collecting is allowed, I will definitely collect and send you some!

;D

Trond Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

More of the first tarn:  

Another looking-back shot:

Kruppelholz of subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) on the ridge above the tarn... a handy lunch spot after working up an appetite, with magnificent views in every direction!

Dryas octopetala:

Potentilla uniflora(?), not common in that area; Silene acaulis and alpine turf:  

A very tame gray-crowned rosy finch (Leucosticte arctoa), feeding amongst the rocks... presumably a female as it is not very "rosy" at all:

And onward... the snow filling various low spots makes for easy travel...

And at the next cliff band, Saxifraga oppositifolia still in bloom, despite this late date...

Lori Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3 -30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Draba sp.(?), in the rocks; Salix sp. in bloom; I make this out to be Cassiope mertensiana (vs. C. tetragona, as it seems to lack the groove at the back of the leaf):    

Phyllodoce glanduliflora; Ranunculus pygmaeus, one of the most common plants in bloom at this time:  

The same stream that we saw far below in the forest, now in the sunshine!

Salix sp. with white-flowered Draba sp.(?); Anemone parviflora; another Draba sp.(?):    

Flowery meadow:

Lori Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3 -30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Snowbanks feeding the stream:

Oxyria digyna:

Encouraged by finding a plant still in bloom, I made a point of looking around for more Saxifraga oppositifolia... I found that they occurred mostly in the joints on intact (as opposed to rubbled) north-facing vertical or near-vertical limestone cliff faces:      

Deep joints in the limestone: 

Androsace septentrionalis... with my finger for scale: 

Lori Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3 -30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Continuing on, some of the views in what turned out to be a beautiful day:       

Fossils are very abundant in these outcrops, these being rugose corals and crinoid ossicles (stem segments): 

Anemone lithophila: 

The runoff point, from the highest tarns, to the alpine-meadow stream below...

Lori Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3 -30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

Nothing beats limestone to create interesting landscape and floral display! The acidic rocks and soil where I usually walk do never show such plethora of plants.

Trond Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

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