Strathcona Wilderness Institute

Hazy Days of Summer

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The views of the mountains of Strathcona Park are just a bit hazy these days due to the fires in the interior of BC. Temperatures down in the Comox Valley are over 30 C, but a few degrees cooler up on the mountain.

The mama bear & two clubs were reported today near Battleship Lake in the morning, then later near the end of the boardwalk loop. I guess they are feeling at home in the meadows! If you keep your distance from them, they will keep their distance from you. A reminder to keep your dogs on leash, in order to keep your pets safe and so that there is no bother to wildlife and other hikers.
Great burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis ssp. microcephala)

The pink mountain heather and shooting stars are mostly finished blooming in the meadows – cotton-grass and white flowers are now predominant. Recent new flowers of note include great burnet (which I always think should be named grape burnet), Sitka burnet, king gentian, foamflower, and ladies’ tresses (which may look at first glance like white bog-orchid, but the flowers grow in a spiral around the spike).
Sitka burnet (Sanguisorba canadensis ssp. latifolia)

King gentian (Gentiana sceptrum)

Foamflower (Tiarella trifoliata)

Ladies’ tresses (Spiranthes romanzoffiana)

Below is a photo of one of my favourites: sickletop lousewort, which in the meadows here is quite pink. In Plants of Coastal BC, the recommended reference book by Pojar & MacKinnon (available at the Wilderness Centre) the flower is shown as white. The upper petal or lip forms a sickle-shaped ‘beak’ which curls down to meet the lower lip.
Sickletop lousewort (Pedicularis racemosa)

Visitors today were from California, Washington, France, the UK, Switzerland … hikes to Croteau Lake & Cruickshank Canyon Lookout were recommended to several visitors, who were very happy to have seen these spectacular destinations.

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