Tag Archives: larkspur

Deadfall Meadows

I’m currently staying at my daughter Pippin’s place in far-northern California. Her family lives at about 4,000 ft., but my first day here we took a drive and then a hike that brought us near Mt. Eddy and to an elevation over 7,000 ft., at Deadfall Meadows.

The meadows stretch up the mountain around Deadfall Creek, which fills Upper, Middle and Lower Deadfall Lakes. Thousands of butterflies seemed to be accompanying us through those meadows; we especially were taken with the small pale lavender-blue ones that gave the impression of flower petals fluttering in the breeze.

Actual wildflowers were even more abundant. I am sharing here fewer than half of the ones that we admired and usually tried to identify, or confirm the identity of.

Larkspur
Scarlet Gilia
Blue-eyed Grass
Bigelow’s Sneezeweed

As we hiked I was only using my phone to take pictures or use the Seek app, and I never checked the time. We had left the house before 9:00 and when we got back to the car with our hiking all done, it was after 4:00, which was to me completely shocking.

Jamie in particular felt the length of the day; he always says that he doesn’t mind hiking, it’s his legs that do not like it. He’s seven years old and is amazingly chipper even when droopy, or lying down on the trail.

Our goal was the largest Deadfall Lake, the Middle one. We sat on the shore for an hour eating our snacky lunch and cooling our feet.

A water snake streaked out from the rocks in the direction of my feet, but when he got a few inches away and had a good look, it took him a split second to shift into reverse and swim back into his hiding place. After poking his head out and looking at the more beautiful members of the family, he posed briefly for Pippin and eventually left the area altogether for deeper waters.

White Marsh Marigold

Some people ride horseback on this trail, and muck it up into mudholes in the many places where the path crosses the creek. On our way back down scores of little butterflies were drinking at the mud.

The pale lavender-blue ones are likely blues, coppers or hairstreaks. There are more than six dozen species in those three categories in California, so Pippin read to me when we later tried to narrow down the identity of the particular ones that day. We had to wait until the end of the trail to get a good view, when Ivy was given permission to catch a butterfly while it was focused on its refreshment.

Not long after our encounter with the drinking butteries, we were back at the parking lot and driving home. We had only hiked about three miles, but at our mostly meandering rate necessitated by those with cameras and short legs, and much trekking uphill, it had taken most of the day — a beautifully satisfying day.

Seep Monkeyflower