Walter and Sara Let the good times roll
In early June 2008, Walter and I set out to escape the rain by going camping east of the mountains. We'd had 5" of rain in 8 days at our house and were getting a little soggy. That along with the coolest June on record meant it was time to get away.

We drove the 2 hours to Leavenworth and camped along Icicle Creek. It was warm and sunny and wonderful. After we'd set up camp and had lunch we decided to go for a little drive up the canyon.

We'd read on the Forest Service website that there had been a landslide a couple of weeks ago that had blocked the creek and caused the road to be washed out. What we hadn't realized was that it was Icicle Creek, which is actually a pretty good sized river, that had been blocked and that it had taken the path of least resistance and rerouted itself along the road!

Here's Walter at the road closed signs with no water in sight.

Walter and Road Closed Sign on Icicle Creek Road

We decided to hike along the road and see what things looked like. And this is what we found about 1/2 mile away.

Icicle Creek over road

That's the road ahead full of water. Here's a couple of close ups of the water as it starts to return to it's normal course.

Icicle Creek over the road close up Icicle Creek over road closer

The road isn't paved so the amount of damage to it is considerable. You can't tell from these pictures but the creek has flooded a lot of the nearby woods too. This road is the only access to the trail heads that lead up into about 1/3 of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Having it washed out is going to make hiking up there that much more of a challenge. Ah well, Mother Nature rules here.

On the way back to the car a little bit of pink caught my eye and I went over to have a look. It was a little clump of Calypso Orchids--the first I'd ever seen.

Calypso Orchid Calypso Orchid Closeup
Calypso bulbosa

These guys put out one flower per plant so this is a cluster of 3 plants. And they are tiny! And really sweet.

There were lots of flowers along Icicle Creek Road--mostly lupine, balsamroot and penstemon. There was this lovely patch of penstemon in the campground itself.

Chelan Penstemon (penstemon pruinosus) Chelan Penstemon (penstemon pruinosus)
Chelan Penstemon (penstemon pruinosus)

The next day we went for a hike at Camas Meadows. It's located off of Hwy 97 east of Leavenworth about 5 miles south of SR2.

These meadows are a State Natural Area Preserve because they are home to two very endangered plants--neither of which were in bloom so we didn't get to see them. We stumbled across mention of the meadows on the internet and had too look hard to find directions to get there. It's another one of those places they really don't want folks to find!

There is a sign marking the place and a trail leads out to the edge of the meadow but from there you're on your own--no trails just meadow with a creek and little ponds here and there--so you need to watch your feet or you'll get wet and muddy.

Camas Meadows Sign

But who needs directions when you step out of the woods into this!
The camas were in bloom along with the arrowleaf balsam root and they put on a great show!

Walter at Camas Meadows

Here's Walter standing in the meadow. The swaths of blue are camas.

Camassia quamash
Camassia quamash

The little white puffs on a stick are mountain bistort (Polygonum bistortoides)

And the yellow is balsam root.

Arrowleaf balsamroot
Arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata)

The meadows go on and on. There are acres and acres of flowers.

Camas and Arrowleaf Balsamroot by the acre Swaths of Camas at Camas Meadows

Camas Meadows

In addition to the camas there are lots of other flowers.

Lupine at Camas Meadows
Silky Lupine (Lupinus sericeus)

Sticky Geranium
Sticky geranium (geranium viscosissimum)

Indian Paintbrush
Indian Paint Brush

Showy phlox (Phlox speciosa)
Showy phlox (Phlox speciosa)

Here's the view from the meadow looking west--not too shabby for a place where your focus is usually at ground level!

Mountain View from Camas Meadows

As always when there are tons of flowers, I was a very happy camper. Sunshine, flowers, clear mountain air, what more could you want?