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Author Topic: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021  (Read 7117 times)

Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #105 on: October 26, 2021, 03:04:18 PM »
Hello Diane,

I do not know what is involved to name a mountain peak.  ???

As for naming a new plant, I think the person who discovered the new plant as well as the one writing the botanical description for the new plant can give the new plant its name. I am not sure, but this seems reasonable.

For me it is exciting to observe how plant species change and respond to changing environmental variables. Climate change is fertile ground for such change! Frequently, genetic expression is governed by one or more transcription factors that regulate the expression of a gene based on environmental variables. In addition, epigenetics, which includes the acetylation of histones, can alter gene activity based on environmental variables. Gene expression can be suppressed or activated, and these characteristics can be passed on to their offspring without changes to the gene sequences. Obviously, as the plants change, so do their plant communities. Using techniques such as multiple regression analysis, it is possible to mathematically model the interaction of plants and plant communities with independent variables. Predictive modeling is also possible and can be tested against empirical observations. Even in managed systems, such as agricultural systems (or ornamental gardens), how plants respond to environmental variables can be interesting and useful. For example, I am currently testing how Curcubita pepo and C. maxima (summer and winter squash) infected with mosaic virus respond and resist viral infection based on environmental variables. It is all very fascinating.

Before resuming my posting of the outing, some news:

Over the past 36 hours our portion of California received a direct hit from a potent atmospheric river (AR). We received the equivalent of 30% of our total average yearly precipitation during this time period. Despite the dry extreme drought conditions there was some flooding. Our power stayed on, however Internet service was out for two days. My wife, Jasmin, and I did some preliminary cleanup this morning. The garden seems intact with little damage.





In September of 2016 I botanically explored the southern portion of the Sonora Pass region as well as climbed the unnamed peak. On this outing we skipped climbing the peak and proceeded southward on the trail. Time eventually ran out and we returned to our camp on the Middle Fork of the Stanislaus River. There was interesting territory to explore; however this will have to be explored at another time.

Here I am at camp relaxing and preparing a meal.



The next day we once again returned to Sonora Pass this time to explore the northern portion of the pass region. It had rained overnight. By morning the weather became increasingly threatening and a very cold wind blew. We started off on what we thought was the trail.

This is the view off to the west. The clouds were dark and laden with moisture.



This was the view to the east (180° from preceding photograph), with the mountains of Nevada in the far distance. This is the “dry side” of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Much moisture can be released from the clouds as they are lifted over the mountains. It can often be storming and snowing on the Sierra crest while the east side basks in the sun or broken clouds.



This was our view as we turned and looked south.



One goal this day was to cross this mountain pass and explore the drainage on the other side.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #106 on: October 26, 2021, 03:08:38 PM »


As we proceeded up the “trail” the ascent became progressively steep and the trail less defined. The “trail” entered a steep ravine and hiking became class II climbing (hands necessary) on loose scree.



The route became treacherous. Great care and concentration was required to stay safe.



After considerable effort we made it safely to the correct, defined, and maintained trail. Our climb? Not bad for two men 66 and 72-years old climbing at over 10,000-feet elevation! As we eventually found out, the signs for the defined and maintained trail had been taken down for the season. Unless we had used the trail in the past, there was no way to find the correct route. It was well hidden behind trees!



Here the correct trail can be seen as it traverses down the mountain to Sonora Pass.



From our current location, it was only a short distance to the summit of the pass. As we continued toward the summit it began to lightly snow. We questioned if we should turn back or continue our journey. We decided it would have to snow much more intensely before we would turn back. We soon reached the pass and continued into the Wolf Creek drainage.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

cohan

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #107 on: October 26, 2021, 07:27:21 PM »
I was wondering how you made out with Bomb cyclone(s)- the irony of excessive short term moisture after prolonged drought!

For sure there are species that occur here that occur over a very wide area of this continent and the northern hemisphere as a whole- mountains to the west are some barrier, and drier /grassland areas to the south/east a barrier to woodland plants from the east, but overall, it is wide open in every direction!

Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #108 on: October 29, 2021, 07:02:04 PM »
Cohan,

Our recent deluge of precipitation was just another anomalous weather event that occurred in our region this year. The record-breaking heat wave from late June into July was extreme, never mind the record-breaking heat of the whole time period from June through September. My hypothesis is the Earth’s climate system has surpassed a tipping point beyond which a return to the previous state is impossible. This is what I enjoy doing in retirement!  Maybe my research will support my hypothesis, maybe it will not. I will at least have fun going through the process.




Up to this point the geological terrain we hiked was dominated by an andesitic landscape of volcanic rock. As we traversed the Wolf Creek Basin the terrain transitioned at the northern end of the basin to a landscape dominated by a pluton of granite. Here we encountered stands of Mountain Hemlock, Tsuga mertensiana. This species was comparatively common on the granite substrate and was found growing in no other locations.



Below the trail a series of dry meadows were visible and enticed us to explore them in detail. Based on the dry remains of plants I found, the meadows must have been a beautiful sea of wildflowers during the “spring” – summer months.



We were surprised to find traces of snow on the ground. The traces of snow were likely what remained from a recent storm a week or two earlier. After such a dry winter, it was not likely leftover from the previous winter season.



Penstemon newberryi was another species that seemed to prefer the granitic type rock.



Juncus parryi is a dryland Juncus species frequently seen in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #109 on: October 30, 2021, 07:29:26 PM »


From the meadow there was a nice view of Wolf Creek Lake.



It would have been interesting to explore around the lake; however it would have been a steep hike back to the pass. We already had enough of that for the day.



There was the usual mix of Ericaceae surrounding the meadow area. Groups of Cassiope mertensiana could be found growing near large boulders.



Kalmia polifolia prefers more moisture, and was seen in the meadow where there was likely running or standing water earlier in the season.



A few of the Phyllodoce breweri had bloomed fairly recently; their faded flowers still showing some color.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #110 on: October 30, 2021, 07:32:29 PM »


The rock fern, Cryptogramma acrostichoides, as its common name implies, enjoys growing in rock crevices. Given the dry conditions, most of the plants were completely dormant, with no green foliage.



Drymocallis lactea often has highly colored foliage in the autumn. This time of year it can be very difficult to determine the subspecies; there are several.



There were other Drymocallis and Potentilla species in the meadow area. Both Genuses are closely related to each other. There were other places we wanted to visit this day, so I did not take the time to identify all the different species in the meadow area.



The storm clouds were intensifying and the snow showers were becoming more frequent, so we decided to move on to a new location.



From the meadow we climbed back to the trail and continued northward to the boundary with the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness. The weather was becoming increasingly questionable. At this point we decided to return to Sonora Pass.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #111 on: October 30, 2021, 07:35:32 PM »


My brother set off toward the pass while I proceeded at a slower pace, botanizing as I went. We both had our handy talky radios, to keep in touch as we became separated from each other.

There were not many flowers to see; however there were many familiar plant species. Monardella odoratissima ssp. pallida was frequently seen in the scree along the trail.



Mountain Sorrel, Oxyria digyna, is a fairly common species in Central Sierra Nevada Mountains. I rarely or never encounter this species in the north.



I noticed a few Aquilegia plants on my return to the pass. Two species grow in this region, A. formosa and A. pubescens. Given the elevation and the rocky, talus habitat, the plants were likely Aquilegia pubescens. The two species can easily hybridize with each other, so making a firm determination as difficult.



There were also some interesting Eriogonum species. Most I could easily identify; however there were a few that were difficult to firmly determine without flowers.



Astragalus species can be very interesting. This plant was likely Astragalus purshii var. lectulus
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #112 on: October 31, 2021, 06:59:09 PM »


Even in early October as snow and cold weather was settling in, a few species were producing a few late season flowers. Lupinus lepidus var. lobbii has very attractive foliage and flowers with a very low compact growth habit.



Trifolium monanthum is prostrate with small trifoliate leaves. It is commonly found growing with other small, tiny-leaf, green foliage plants and can often go unnoticed.



Trifolium monanthum is a moisture loving species and is frequently seen near seeps and spring in the high elevations of the Central Sierra Nevada Mountains.



Late in the season most of the high elevation Phlox species look dry and are dormant. Phlox condensata is a small cushion forming species. Here it can be seen with Ivesia gordonii.



Eriogonum ovalifolium var. nivale is another species that is generally completely dormant by the end of the summer, especially during extreme drought conditions such as occurred this past season. The lovely magenta-red flowers could be seen on a few plants in the area. The falling snow prevented me from photographing these plants.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #113 on: October 31, 2021, 07:01:54 PM »


Agoseris monticola was another species seen with a few late out-of-season flowers.



I found one plant of Penstemon heterodoxus with their beautiful red-violet flowers.



Linium lewisii var. lewisii, Lewis’ Flax, has blue flowers and is frequently seen at high elevations in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.



In the dark volcanic soil, the small rosettes of Calyptridium umbellatum were difficult to spot.



Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. incompta was one of a number of Artemisia species seen on this trip. Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. incompta is a common species in the Arctic-Alpine life zone. This species tends to prefer soil that does not completely dry during the summer.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2021, 06:16:28 PM by Robert »
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #114 on: October 31, 2021, 07:04:54 PM »


Many Ericameria species can be found on the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Rayless Goldenbush, Ericameria discoidea, is commonly seen in the Arctic-Alpine life zone of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Here it is growing near Artemisia ludoviciana ssp. incompta.



Chaenactus douglasii forms small rosettes of gray-green foliage.



At times the foliage of Chaenactus douglasii can appear silvery. At this phase the foliage is quite striking.



Cirsium andersonii is one of many Cirsium species native to California. This species tends to be a high elevation species.



The flowers of Cirsium species can be quite showy and interesting.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #115 on: November 01, 2021, 06:00:09 PM »


This is a typical rosette of Cirsium andersonii with green foliage and white veining of the leaves. Other California native Cirsium species have very dramatic silvery, cob-webbed foliage. Forms of Cirsium occidentale are quite striking with their silvery, cobwebbed foliage.



Packera cana is another silver-foliage species found in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This species forms small rosettes topped by yellow daisy-like flowers during the growing season.



The Genus Lupinus can be tricky to identify, especially without flowers. To the best of my ability, I keyed this example to Lupinus argenteus var. meionanthus. Since I did not bring a key with me--I rarely do--I have a degree of uncertainty. Whatever the species, our California native Lupinus species are handsome plants I find very intriguing.



This specimen of Ipomopsis aggregata ssp. aggregata had a few lingering flowers. This species is easy to identify to the subspecies level with its exserted anthers and white pollen. In full bloom it is a striking species.



When in bloom, Frasera speciosa is a tall imposing species that cannot be missed in the field. It is a member of the Gentianaceae family. The flowers are Gentian-like, white with a yellow central band and maroon spotting on the petals.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2021, 06:09:31 PM by Robert »
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #116 on: November 01, 2021, 06:02:56 PM »


Artemisia tridentata is likely the most common species throughout the Great Basin. Variety vaseyana is found in the higher elevation regions of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is generally very compact, and a smaller plant than Artemisia tridentata var. tridentata.



One knows autumn has arrived when the leaves of Wyethia mollis, Woolly Mule’s Ear have dried completely. The large dry leaves make a distinctive rattling sound in the wind that is very pleasant. The large yellow daisy-like flowers are enjoyable in the spring.



After a long and satisfying day we finally arrived back at the trailhead at Sonora Pass. We spent another night in the Kennedy Meadows area; we had one more farewell view of Sonora Pass on our way back to Placerville.

This is a typical scene at or near the tree line in the Central Sierra Nevada Mountains.



This is another view to the north toward the pass we crossed the previous day.



This is a view east toward the state of Nevada from the summit of Sonora Pass.
« Last Edit: November 01, 2021, 06:10:54 PM by Robert »
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #117 on: November 01, 2021, 06:05:24 PM »


We had a long drive ahead: Soon we took off, driving down the winding road into the Walker River Basin.



We stopped again on Monitor Pass to eat a snack and enjoy the Aspen trees.



The terrain is generally extremely dry on the east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Aspen groves are a sign that abundant moisture is near the surface of the soil.



As much as it would have been nice to loiter we needed to get home.

We had a very enjoyable and successful trip despite the unsettled weather.


Until next time……
« Last Edit: November 01, 2021, 06:13:58 PM by Robert »
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
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Hoy

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #118 on: November 28, 2021, 10:17:27 AM »
Very interesting trip you and your brother had, Robert. Are you allowed to camp where ever you want or are you obliged to use camping sites?

I wonder how this area looks in spring and early summer when the snow melts and everything is green! Only one of the species you showed is native here in Norway, Oxyria digyna. Here it is frequent on cool, moist sites high in the mountains. Some other species like Chaenactus douglasii, looked similar to species (Leucheria and Perezia) I observed in Patagonia.

Here everything is soaked after a record breaking wet October and November. several days I got >50mm/2'' in my garden and only a couple days have been without precipitation. Yesterday the temperature dropped 10C/18F and we got 1'' of snow.

Oxyria digyna

697250-0


Leucheria sp

697252-1


Perezia cartamoides

697254-2


First snow of the season.

697256-3
« Last Edit: November 28, 2021, 10:18:59 AM by Hoy »
Trond Hoy, gardening on the rainy west coast of Norway.

Robert

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Re: Robert's Crystal Range Project - Year 3, 2021
« Reply #119 on: December 01, 2021, 10:45:28 PM »
Trond,

If one is hiking in the wilderness, in most instances, it is okay to camp for the night almost anywhere. In other parts of the Sierra Nevada Mountains there are designated camping sites and these must be used. In a few instances it is okay to camp anywhere, but fortunately this is rare: In the USA automobile campers are very hard on the natural environment. It is best that USA automobile campers must use designated camping sites.
Robert Barnard
Sacramento & Placerville, Northern California, U.S.A.
All text and photos © Robert Barnard

 


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