The FRGE Saga

The FRGE hunting continued this past month with mild success. It seems to be a bad blooming season for our elusive lily, which is unfortunate because we have a huge FRGE task force this year. But the plants do as they please and we are helpless in the wake of their unwillingness to bloom.

This is me recording data into my GPS after an empty site. Can you see the dejected hunch in the slope of my shoulders?

This is me recording data into my GPS after an empty site. Can you see the dejected hunch in my shoulders?

Disappointment aside, the sites that we’ve visited are mostly stunningly beautiful. We had the opportunity to camp out at the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument to have more time to get to our sites out there. The monument is probably the most wild place we’ve been to– most of the roads have been decommissioned to allow for wilderness to take over. Mt. Shasta loomed in the distance as we hiked along mountain streams to our sites. Outside of the Monument, Kiki and I hike through oak woodlands and mixed conifer forests, along mountain ridges and down in the valley, over downed trees and through thick stands of Ceanothus and manzanita. At the end of the day there’s usually a litany of complaints streaming from my mouth because I’m tired and my feet hurt and my hair is a plant detritus magnet, but it’s incredibly rewarding and relaxing to walk through the great outdoors all day. Even when we don’t find plants– which, truthfully, is more often than not– I’m glad to have the opportunity to experience so many different places that are relatively wild.

Our lunch spot close to one of our last FRGE sites in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Mt Shasta rises mightily in the distance.

Our lunch spot close to one of our last FRGE sites in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Mt Shasta rises mightily in the distance.

We hiked through this area quite a few times to get to sites deep in BLM land without any roads. It's beautiful!

We hiked through this area quite a few times to get to sites deep in BLM land without any roads. It’s beautiful!

This mountain overlooks the town of Gold Hill-- easily one of my favorite spots in the field office.

This mountain overlooks the town of Gold Hill– easily one of my favorite spots in the field office.

This mountain overlooks the town of Gold Hill-- easily one of my favorite spots in the field office.

This is us enjoying the view, we love it!

We had to climb high above I-5 one day. This is our view, with the town of Rogue River.

We had to climb high above I-5 one day. This is our view, with the town of Rogue River beneath us.

Fritillaria recurva with a backdrop of mountains. Kiki is quite the photographer, I think!

Fritillaria recurva with a backdrop of mountains. Kiki is quite the photographer, I think!

Of course, some of the best sights are of the pretty wildflowers. This is Collinsia grandiflora, my favorite so far.

Of course, some of the best sights are of the pretty wildflowers. This is Collinsia grandiflora, my favorite so far.

One thing that is surprising to me is how little wildlife we see. Sometimes there are turkey, sometimes there are deer, but usually there’s just lizards! Part of me is thankful for this– we have seen bear scat and bear tracks, and once we saw mountain lion scat. I’d be terrified to see a mountain lion in the wild! Kiki and I have both scared turkeys off their ground nests (on accident! we were probably as scared in the moment as the turkey hen), and that’s the closest encounter we’ve had.

A turkey hen's ground nest. I suppose turkeys aren't as susceptible to poison oak as humans.

A turkey hen’s ground nest. I suppose turkeys aren’t as susceptible to poison oak as we are.

Kiki and I have a great time out on our own, sometimes I wonder if people can hear our cackling in the distance and worry that some wild beasts are coming to lay waste to their towns. We’re a great team, I’m really happy I get to work with her! (Also she tends to make cookies on the weekends and we get to enjoy them at lunch during the week)

This is after a particularly rigorous hike-- please excuse any haggardness you detect in our appearances.

This is after a particularly rigorous hike– please excuse any haggardness you detect in our appearances.

The work week really wears us out, but we made time one weekend to check out the Rogue River. We hiked along the Rainie Falls trail to the biggest rapids on the river. It was a beautiful trail!

The Rainie Falls trail follows the Rogue as it winds through the countryside.

The Rainie Falls trail follows the Rogue as it winds through the countryside. It’s a lot more magnificent than my phone camera can capture~

Scrabble is still our dominant weekend activity, though. I’ve even managed to win a few times! I think Kiki is starting to view me as a real competitor.

Seen here: the posture of defeat

Seen here: the posture of defeat

We’ve been lucky to not stumble upon too many people out on our treks. One day, though, we were visited by old man willow..

Kiki, our resident gagperson. Sometimes it just makes sense to put lichen under your hat like a wig.

Kiki, our resident gagperson. Sometimes it just makes sense to put lichen under your hat like a wig.

We’ve visited all of our FRGE sites and will be moving on to Cypripedium fasciculatum, the clustered lady’s slipper orchid. I’ll miss our pretty lilies!

FRGE in its prime-- strong, sturdy, and vibrant.

FRGE in its prime– strong, sturdy, vibrant. A sight for sore eyes, as they say.

FRGE in its twilight-- weak, frail, dull. Slightly monstrous.

FRGE in its twilight– weak, frail, dull. Slightly monstrous. The stuff of nightmares, truly. It looks like the cold hand of death reaching from the grave.

Til next time!

Lillie P

 

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