Darlingtonia californica – California pitcher plant and flower. Days Gulch Botanical area, 6.3.15. I did not find a single Howell’s mariposa lily at Days Gulch. I don’t know if I was too early or if there aren’t any this year. I only found a few along Illinois River Road and the one I photographed at Eight Dollar Mountain. The darlingtonia were thriving though!
Kerby Flat hiking trail, 6.3.15. Talk about a beautiful loop hike! There is very little tree canopy so this is not exactly an ideal summer hike unless you fair well in extreme heat. You can always take a dip in the Illinois River. Watch out for rattlesnakes – they are usually sunning on a log or rocks and will give you a rattle warning, then slither away. I also encountered a pile of black bear droppings but they haven’t given me any reason to be afraid of them – yet. We encountered two last year and they both ran away at light speed.
Umbellularia californica – Oregon myrtle (or California bay laurel). Kerby Flat trail, 6.3.15. Bay leaves! They smell wonderful and are much more fragrant when you use them in a recipe than the bay leaves you buy at the store.
Epipactis gigantea – Stream orchid. Mouth of Deek Creek & Illinois River, 6.3.15. These pictures don’t do the stream orchids justice, I’m sorry. I love them. They are common along the Illinois River and nearby creeks.
Cypripedium californicum – California lady’s slipper orchid. Star Flat fen, 6.3.15. I was about ready to give up finding these. I missed them last year and tried a couple spots this year with no luck. Just as I was hanging my head down in shame – after adding nearly a mile to the hike to find them – there they were, looking right at me. That sort of moment tends to happen to me a lot when I’m searching for a particular flower!
And that wraps up my hiking adventure!