Cascade Canyon Preserve (2/21/2022)

Today I was introduced to Cascade Canyon by Logan. And, I love the place!

Three days in a row of not Naturing was tough on me. But, today I was redeemed. Hadn’t planned to do another monthly day trip this month, but I was happy to do so!

Wildflowers everywhere right now, including our main prize – Checker Lily (Fritillaria affinis). Wasn’t expecting to necessarily see any of them blooming just yet, but WE SO TOTALLY DID. It got to the point where we kept laughing at how many blooms we ended up seeing throughout our Naturing time. Laughing because we had hoped to see JUST ONE. We were overloaded with Fritillaria bounty!

We started off seeing Pacific Hound’s Tongue (in more pinks and purples than what I’ve seen before, which were pure blue). That led to pale Pacific Pea and Blue Dicks and Redstem Stork’s-bill and even more Pacific Hound’s Tongue and Henderson’s Shooting Star (admiring the first ones we saw, we got a fantastic visit from a Cooper’s Hawk that swooped in behind Logan and landed perfectly above her on a tree branch so I could get a great look at it before it flew off!) and Smooth Mule-Ears (with a Sunflower Seed Maggot on it that I didn’t even see til I saw my photos up close when I got home!) and Milkmaids up the WAZOO.

So, that’s A LOT. And, we didn’t even see our primary target yet. Well, that’s not true. We saw a number of Fritillaria ABOUT to bloom. And, it seemed like that’s all we might see. But, after spotting a couple Larkspur (Zigzag Larkspur?), we saw the first Checker Lily IN BLOOM. It was on a hillside below us and definitely would’ve required trampling to get better looks. We didn’t go trampling, but we hoped we’d see MORE and SOON.

After getting the sense that the Henderson’s Shooting Stars and Pacific Hound’s Tongue entirely OWNED the place, we SAW THE BLOOMS. We’d stopped to chat with an older couple about the wildflowers we’d seen and what they’d seen before in the area. The man asked about the Checker Lily, and we turned to see them BLOOMING RIGHT BEHIND US. A BUNCH of them on the hillside. JACKPOT!!! We drank in the Checker Lily joy and probably would’ve been quite satisfied if we didn’t see any more at that point. But, as soon as they appeared, they were EVERYWHERE. It was awesome.

And, the rest was great! Spotted a purple iris (Bowltube Iris?) in the distance, and then saw iris leaves all over the place after that. Whenever those irises are supposed to bloom, the place will be incredible to see. Woodland Strawberry popped up. And, Warrior’s Plume first showed itself and wouldn’t stop from then on.

During this outing, I was also participating in the Backyard Bird Count happening this long holiday weekend. Ultimately, didn’t see a lot of birds, but it felt good to contribute what I could from where I was.

We took a short detour up, and there was Warrior’s Plume FOR DAYS. And Purple Sanicle and California Lomatium and a charming creek/-stream thing.

Heading back to follow Cascade Creek up to the waterfall, we started seeing mushrooms. Scarlet Waxy Cap (I think), the largest Waxcap that possibly ever existed (Golden Waxy Cap??) that I got to use my small paintbrush on to help dust off for photos for the first time (SO GLAD I packed that thing finally!!), and my new favorite – Common Eyelash (aka Eyelash Cup)! There are ACTUAL EYELASHES ON THOSE DANG CUPS!!!

It was when we were documenting these that a couple walked by inquiring about our findings. Logan informed them, let them see her pics of the dang eyelashes, showed them her macro lens, and the man asked, “Are you naturalists?” Logan humbly replied that we were not quite or were hobbyist naturalists or something, to which I shouted at her, “Hey! We’re CERTIFIED!” It was honestly quite neat to be asked. We looked like naturalists. And, WE WERE. And, we were even CERTIFIED. Logan. We ARE NATURALISTS! Next time, you say “Yes!”

We got to the Cascade Falls, and they’re lovely! I’m not a super huge fan of waterfalls, but these are charming. Next time, when I take Brian, we’ll venture past them. And do that loop we didn’t get to!

Just before we got back to where we started, Logan spotted a bunch of California Dutchman’s Pipe. Even with such a full day, there was MORE. Can’t even say what a Good Monday this was.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: