Thursday, May 5, 2016

Wildflowers and Burned Trees up Hampton Creek

 One Sunday we went up Hampton Creek in the North Snake Range for my husband to check on water. I suggested we look at wildflowers too. We used to go up Hampton Creek to look for garnets or to hike on the trail, but a huge wildfire and subsequent floods have washed out the road. We were (barely) able to cross the creek, but then soon had to stop, with the view above as we looked back into Snake Valley.

The wildflowers were out in abundance, including lots of milkvetch (Astragalus sp.).

Storm clouds were building to the west. We could see snow on the mountains, and it was obvious some runoff had started with the muddy stream water.

I liked this Cryptantha, nestled in its hairy leaves.

I find the burned trees very scenic. They will come back again. The stream bed has been altered a lot, widened many times its former size and greatly deepened. Hampton Creek used to look like just a small mountain creek and sported Bonneville cutthroat trout. Now it looks like a place you really need to avoid on rainy days in case of flash floods.

The spiders have certainly made their home there. We found many like this one, with a white round body that blends in with the gravel.  They moved quickly.

I liked this yellow flower. It had leaves like the Carrot family (Apiaceae) and a flower like the Pea family (Fabaceae). What could it be? I knew I had seen one before, but it took me awhile to find it in a flower book. It's in the Fumariaceae family, and the Flora for the area only has one species listed for the whole family, Corydalis aurea, Golden Corydalis, sometimes called Scrambled eggs. It is rare, found below 9,900 feet on spring moist soil, burns, along streams and in openings in brush. The leaves don't look quite right to me, so this may be a different species.

This beautiful purple flower is in the Mustard Family (Brassicaceae), its four petals giving a strong clue. It's one of the many Arabis. I really liked this view of it looking straight down.

We also saw some ladybird beetle. This one looks like it only has five spots, but we also saw some seven-spotted ladybird beetles (Coccinella septempunctata), which have cover over from Europe and are very widespread.

This dainty yellow flower caught my eye. I don't know the name, I just know that it's pretty!

We tried walking up the road, but what wasn't washed away was heavily overgrown with willow, roses, and weeds (unfortunately some that should be treated or they will take over). This canyon has certainly gotten a lot more wild, and it will take some considerable effort to get up to the old garnet mine and trailhead.

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