17 June 2008

Craters of the Moon

Wow. Any place with enough dirt to support plants is blooming up a storm! From the sounds of things, this is one of the most spectacular blooms in nearly ten years. I'm too exhausted to post too much about it, but I would highly recommend going on one of the guided 9:00 am tours. I got a lot of good info there. Not so much in the 1:00 pm tour, as a lot of it was repeat, and there were more people in the group. Smaller groups are better for these things. Also, the first ranger had her master's in geology, so she was able to add more info to a lot of things. Anyway, two pictures below the fold.

These are monkey flowers. Purple dwarf monkey flower and, er, dwarf suk-something monkey flower. The purplish one is about the size of most snapdragon blooms, roughly the size of the tip of my index finger. The yellow one is almost impossible to see unless you kneel down in the lava. There were areas just carpeted with the purple ones. Possibly the yellow ones, too, but harder to tell if so.

Just to give you an idea how extensive the bloom is, see that yellow patch that seems to be at the base of the hill at the back there? Those are buckwheat, probably dwarf buckwheat going by the color. Gorgeous plant. I'll have to see if any of my close-ups turned out when I'm less exhausted.

At any rate, if you're in the area, this is a very good time to head up there.

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