Mystery Flora: Stop Eyeballing the Geology and Pay Attention to Meee!!!

Spoiler alert: we will not stop eyeballing the geology. It’s just a bit harder to see right now.

The weather was superb on Monday, so B and I took a break from the chaos that is currently my life and went to Lord Hill. It was so muddy! The trails are pretty much mush after several days of rain, so if you decide to go see all the beautiful sights, please don’t wear shoes you want to keep tidy. And you’ll want to pay attention to where you’re stepping even on the rare dry bits, because there are piles of horse doings. We really need to make a law that you have to clean up after your equine as well as your canine. Sigh. It was still worth it. No owls, alas, but we saw a few chipmunks, and heard a woodpecker or two, and saw some cute sparrows, and there were flowering plants all over and lusty leafy trees and even still some visible geology, so yay!

I have some fun winter-spring comparisons for you, and then we will have our mystery flora.

Here is Mount Rainier from the bald spot on Lord Hill in February:

Image shows Mount Rainier capped with an almost-lenticular cloud. There are Cascade foothills in the foreground.
Mount Rainier from Lord Hill in February.

And the same view in April:

The image is similar to the previous, only now it's capped by a string of fluffy clouds, and the trees in the foreground have leafed out.
Mount Rainier from Lord Hill in April.

Bonus cool points to those who can identify the leafy trees in the foreground.

As you can see, it’s getting rather greener. Remember February, when you could see Rainier through a screen of basically sticks?

Image shows Mount Rainier through a screen of bare trees.
Mount Rainier from the non-bald bit of Lord Hill’s mega-awesome viewpoint in February.

Now that the trees have leaved out, you can’t see quite as much. We’re lucky we’ve got a small gap in the leaves, here.

The branches are now heavy with leaves. Mount Rainier is barely visible.
Same view in April.

Buh-bye, visibility.

The valley that was so stark before

Most of the valley is filled with bare-branched trees, with some strips of evergreens. The Cascades are visible in the distance.
Looking across the valley at the Cascades in February.

is now a sea of green.

A similar view. The previously-bare trees are now covered in light-green leaves.
How green is my valley now?!

Yep. ‘Tis definitely the season when a bunch of green stuff happens, and does its best to block the view.

Our April showers bring April flowers – the Pacific Northwest isn’t really interested in waiting another month for them. I mean, we basically bloom year-round here, but of course spring is the time when lots of plants suddenly get horny, so we end up with the results of their reproductive urges beautifying the landscape. I wish I’d known as a child that flowers are the way many mommy and daddy plants make baby plants, because I might have kicked out the cultural messages that sex is icky and dirty and shameful much, much earlier.

At least flowering plants don’t have any hangups.

Image shows a cluster of tiny purple flowers.
Mystery Flora I

These little purple clusters are all over the top of the hill, mostly hanging about in the shadier places close to the trees and bushes. Alas, my camera hates focusing on purple, and I was in a bit of a hurry to get to the other side of the hill, and so most of my photos of them turned out blurred. But at least you can get a good look at the leaves in this one:

Image shows one of the purple clusters and its leaves. The leaves are long, oblong, and smooth.
Mystery Flora II

They stand up like lollypops on stems that are about 3-5 inches tall. If they’re still blooming next time we go back up there, I’ll try to get better photos. But here, have a close-up of one of the flower clusters to compensate.

Image is a detail of half of a cluster. The individual flowers are vaguely trumpet-shaped at the base, with five flaring petals, and several anthers.
Mystery Flora III

Tiny, but gorgeous!

There are some phenomenal flowering bushes on the other side of the hill, which I will show you soon. We enjoyed those sights immensely, and then headed back by way of the Pipeline Trail, where we found this slug hanging about on a dandelion, and it was adorable.

Image shows a black bannana slug on a dandelion. Its body is hanging down the back, with its head resting on the flower.
Slug on dandelion.

Ah, the sweet slugs of spring.

Mystery Flora: Stop Eyeballing the Geology and Pay Attention to Meee!!!
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5 thoughts on “Mystery Flora: Stop Eyeballing the Geology and Pay Attention to Meee!!!

  1. 2

    Thank you, rq. I kept wanting to post “I got nuthin'”, because, you know, I had nothing. Interesting that the map in the second link excludes the county where Lord Hill Park is located and where I, and maybe Dana*, reside. Guess they need an update.

    *Dana’s in Bothell, which straddles the line between King and Snohomish Counties. Memorialized in the immortal “Godzilla ate Tukwila” in the line: “He took a big bite of Bothell and said ‘Ugh, that tastes awful'”. Which is better than my current location of Everett, which he spit out.

  2. 4

    ZOMG, can you believe I just got a whole post outta that song, plus some great geology in Japan! Srsly! It’ll be up on Saturday. Thank you thank you!

    (I’m in King County, btw. Right on the border of Woodinville, actually.)

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