Page 3 of Wawawai
Snake River Canyons

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The all-night rain left the hillside wet and slippery. There'll be no climbing this morning.

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The sun came out at noon and all the clouds slipped over the horizon. A light breeze dried out the pasture, making conditions perfect for a hike.

Reaching the top, I took my usual rest break before heading down, again. The sun shone clear and bright through the rain-washed clear air.

A dark shadow suddenly robbed the bright sunshine. Looking over the canyon rim behind me I saw the reason why: Storm clouds. The frightening prospect of lightning urged me to race back down the hill before the bolts caught up with me.

I'd been waiting for this bull thistle's buds to open and today one finally did. Look at those clouds! No time for pictures, today. Goodbye.

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The next day another bull thistle along the route obligingly put on a show for the camera. The thistle blossom is lovely and has great curves; but, just like the gorgeous neighbor next door, look but don't touch.

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St. Johnswort ranges far and wide, but how many of us ever stop to take a look. Cultivated for medicinal use, it is the most prescribed anti-depressant in Germany.

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Nature tends to favor yellow, in Wawawai Canyon, at least. The lay person would probably call this yellow flax. Its ball-shaped seed pod bears a close resemblance to the flax pod. The flowers start blossoming midway up its stem, then work their way upward as it grows. This poor specimen, however, has no place to grow. A hungry deer ate its top for breakfast.

In autumn the seed stalks ripen and make showy additions to dried plant boquets.

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As the summer wears on the sun bakes the hills to a crisp brown; but, a surprising variety of plants manage to fight back and put on a modest show.

Emerging from the ripened cheat grass, this Scotch thistle tries to entice bees with its lovely flower. It need not worry about decapitation by hungry deer. It's nasty stickers discourage even the hungriest critter searching for a salad.

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When summer days get long and hot the teasel starts growing its unusual seed head. This one is far from blossoming, but it puts on quite a show, anyway.

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Just beginning to bloom, the teasel offers the bumblebee a tasty snack.

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Then, the tiny flowrets continue opening, working their way toward each end of the seed head. It's not a pineapple, but the bees don't care.

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A pleasant overnight rain freshened the air, keeping me off the hill once, again. Just after dawn the following morning, this lovely sego lily greeted me at the beginning of my climb. It's much too early and cool for bees, so it's taking its sweet time to open its lovely petals.

We've lived in canyon for twenty-two years, and had never seen these gorgeous members of the lily family growing here. You can imagine my surprise when I looked out and saw them blossoming everywhere. Did the rain coax them into blooming?

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Returning from my climb, I find the petals almost open. In a rush to start its day's work, a small bee gets down to business.

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I returned, later, to admire the delicate beauty after it fully opened.

Three days later not a one was to be in sight. Their fifteen minutes of fame was much too short to be noticed through all these years.

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Don't sneeze or else these fragile balls of yellow goatsbeard fluff won't wait around for a second picture.

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While I fiddle with the camera, our bassett hound cools off at the top of our climb. He likes the shade and protection of this spot and uses it as his own little nest.

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Click here to see Wawawai Canyon early wildflowers
Click here to return to Wawawai Canyon page 2

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Revised -- 1/18/07