Walter and Sara On the road to who knows where
On Sunday June 5th, Walter made yam waffles for Sunday breakfast. He is a master of both pancake and waffle making. These waffles turned out especially great so I thought I’d share Walter’s Wonderful Waffles with you. I eat them with just butter but Walter puts maple syrup on his. A bit of almond butter is a nice addition too.

Yam Waffles Walters Wonderful Waffles

It was HOT on Sunday. It got up to 90 and the trailer was well up into the mid 90’s by late afternoon. The campground pretty much emptied out but we had 5 campsites still occupied for Sunday night—a bit more than usual. There were lots of people out on the water in kayaks, stand ups, canoes, ski boats and fishing boats. Clearly the lake is starting to warm up too.

Late in the afternoon there were dark ominous clouds to the south but it was still pretty clear overhead. As the clouds began to roll northward, the sky began to do things I’d never seen before.

To the south the clouds put on an incredibly dramatic show. This is just a slice of what was spread across the sky.  

Stormy sky Lake Cascade

To the north the lake was golden and some of the clouds were pink along with the gold.

Lake Cascade sunset

It didn’t take long for the pink to take over the sky but the lake was still gold.  

Lake Cascade sunset

To the west we had thunderheads that were boiling up over the ridge of the mountains.

Thunderheads West Mountain

And then to the southeast the lake turned deep rose and orange.

Lake Cascade sunset

What a show! And we only got a couple of rain drops out of the deal.

It didn’t cool down as much as usual that night (it only got down to 58 the next morning) but we had clouds in the morning. The rest of our campers packed up and went home and we began the process of figuring out how to water our acres of grass. I was glad for the cloud cover as I wrestled with the hoses and swore at the ones that leaked when you connected them up. We managed to get most of the main gassy area watered that afternoon even though we took a break in the middle of the day to do the laundry. I really don’t think that watering here will be half as much work as it was at Buttercup last year. It certainly helps that we have 4 working Rainbirds and enough hoses to run them all at once. You can cover a lot of territory that way.

They tell us that spring was late this year and we do know that just 2 weeks ago it was still cold and sleeting. With the rapid change to hot weather the pines have gone nuts in terms of producing pollen. Everything is yellow with it. On Sunday you could sit and watch the trees let loose great yellow poofs of the stuff in the breeze. On Monday, I saw whole branches release clouds of it and in the afternoon we had a bit of a squall (no rain just wind) come through and the wind was yellow with the stuff. Here’s just a week’s accumulation on our truck hood.

Pollen coated truck hood

Monday night, we had another great sunset.

Lake Cascade Sunset

And on the way back from taking that photo, I stopped to take a photo of my new flower pot—my garden for the summer.

Flower basket

I’ve got a couple of pots of basil and a few bunches of chives too.

Tuesday June 7th, we drove up towards McCall and then drove east out Elo Road to the Boulder Lake Trailhead at Boulder Meadow Reservoir. There were lots of cars parked all over the place but we managed to find a spot to stick the truck okay. We put on our boots and headed out the spur road to the reservoir. Along the way, I noticed some Utah Honeysuckle (Lonicera utahensis) in bloom.

Utah Honeysuckle (Lonicera utahensis)

We visited this reservoir last summer when we made our first attempt at finding the trail to Louie Lake so it may look a bit familiar to you.

Boulder Meadow Reservoir ID

There was a lot of Mountain Meadow Cinquefoil (Potentilla diversifolia) in bloom along this end of the reservoir.  

Mountain Meadow Cinquefoil (Potentilla diversifolia)

This area is one of the places where ranchers bring their sheep for the summer and so there are signs about sharing the trail with the sheep. They don’t bring them up here until early July so we didn’t see any.

Boulder Lake Trail sign

This trail is 4 miles round trip with an 800 foot elevation gain—both a bit out of our usual range but we figured we’d have fun hiking even if we didn’t make it all the way to the lake.

There were tons of Star-flowered False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum stellatum) in full bloom down along the shores of the reservoir.

Star-flowered False Solomon's Seal (Maianthemum stellatum)

There was also a lot of regular False Solomon’s Seal but it was only just starting to come into bloom. There were masses of Sitka Valerian (Valeriana sitchensis) in bloom.

Sitka Valerian (Valeriana sitchensis)

And in the shade there were more Piper’s Anemones (Anemone piperi) like those we saw up at Farragut and Winchester State Parks back in early May.

Piper’s Anemones (Anemone piperi)

All along the trail there were patches of this interesting plant that looked to me like Meadow Rue. Some of them had regular meadow rue flowers like this

Female Western Meadow Rue (Thalictrum occindentale)

And like this (early buds)

Female Western Meadow Rue (Thalictrum occindentale)

But some of them looked like this.

Male Western Meadow Rue (Thalictrum occindentale)

When I got home I learned that they are all Western Meadow Rue (Thalictrum occindentale) but that the first ones are female plants and that the ones with the funny dangling fibers are male plants. Mother Nature just insists on making some plants fancier than others.

Every now and then we got a view of the reservoir and the snowy mountains beyond.

Boulder Meadow Reservoir

There were big patches of Ciliate bluebells (Mertensia ciliata) growing in the shade. My new camera recognizes blue flowers better than my old one but it still makes me work at it.

Ciliate bluebells (Mertensia ciliata)

And here and there we saw these strange yellow flowers that turned out to be Twinberries (Lonicera involucrata).

Twinberries (Lonicera involucrata)

There was tons of Showy Polemonium (Polemonium pulcherrimum) growing at this altitude too.

 Showy Polemonium (Polemonium pulcherrimum)

Down near the reservoir the western trilliums (Trillium ovatum) were pretty much done. But as the trail began to climb we began to see them at their pink stage.

western trillium (Trillium ovatum)

The trail was more than muddy in some place and pretty wet in others. People had put down pieces of bark to give you a way to wade your way through this patch of mud.

Muddy Boulder Lake trail

There were lots of Hooked Violets (Viola adunca) in bloom in the wet spots.  

Hooked Violets (Viola adunca)

And there were patches of this odd white puffy stuff here and there.

Red Baneberry (Actaea rubra)

This turned out to be Red Baneberry (Actaea rubra).

Next to all the little streamlets we had to cross there was Ballhead Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum capitatum) in bloom. These aren’t very big plants but it always pleases me when I see their little balls of flowers.

Ballhead Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum capitatum)

There were also big collections of Swamp Black Gooseberry (Ribes lacustre), some with pink flowers like this.

Swamp Black Gooseberry (Ribes lacustre)

And some with yellow flowers like this.

Swamp Black Gooseberry (Ribes lacustre)

The trail kept going steadily up hill and the Western Trilliums (Trillium ovatum) began to have only a bit of a pink blush.

Western Trilliums (Trillium ovatum)

A bit further along there were huge drifts of them that were pure white having just come into bloom. They were a bit smaller than usual—but look at those leaves. I think we saw more trilliums on this hike than I’ve seen anywhere.

Western Trilliums (Trillium ovatum)

This area is full of huckleberries and we saw some in bloom already—proof there will be plenty of berries come July.

Huckleberry flower

And nearby there were Sticky Currants (Ribes viscosissimum) in bloom. Last July when we hiked a trail on the south side of Boulder Meadow Reservoir there were lots of different kinds of berries—you can certainly see why from all these different berry flowers.  

Sticky Currants (Ribes viscosissimum)

Things got wetter as we gained elevation and we came to an open area that was pretty wet and was filled with what looked like really tall forget-me-nots. They turned out to be Meadow forget-me-nots (Hackelia micrantha).

Meadow forget-me-nots (Hackelia micrantha)

The streamlets were no longer little trickles and now they were lined with Siberian Springbeauty (Claytonia sibirica).

Siberian Springbeauty (Claytonia sibirica)

We even passed a small waterfall---something that’s pretty unusual in these parts.

waterfall Boulder Lake Trail

The temperatures were in the mid 70’s and by this point we were both pretty warm. We began stopping to rest now and then which always gives me time to spy the littlest of flowers. In among the grasses I found some tiny Pioneer violets (Viola glabella).

Pioneer violets (Viola glabella)

Heading up a switchback we both noticed this odd clump of coral fungus.

coral fungus Boulder Lake trail

When we got to the end of this switchback, Walter announced that he’d had it but he thought I should keep going since he was pretty sure it wasn’t that much further to the lake. Ha! I agreed to go up a ways and scout things out and at least see the waterfall that some folks along the trail had mentioned. It wasn’t a BIG waterfall but it was the biggest one we’ve seen in this part of Idaho.

waterfall Boulder Lake Trail

I kept going and arrived in the bare rock area that gives both the lake and the mountain here it’s name: Boulder.

Boulders on Boulder Lake trail

I climbed far enough to get a nice shot of the snow on the mountain.

Snowy mountain Boulder Lake Trail

And I followed the trail until it seemed to disappear into the rocks. At this point, I wasn’t thrilled about rock climbing alone so I decided it was as far as I’d go. But of course I had to stop and take pictures of the strange flowers growing up on a rocky ledge.

Mountain Pennycress (Noccaea montana)

They turned out to be Mountain Pennycress (Noccaea montana), I think.

Mountain Pennycress (Noccaea montana)

There were also a bunch of Glacier Lilies (Erythronium grandiflorum) in bloom here—witness to the fact that there was snow here not so very long ago.

Glacier Lilies (Erythronium grandiflorum)

I suspect I was still another 100 to 150 feet shy in elevation gain and probably another 1/2 mile or so in distance from Boulder Lake but I was plenty ready to turn around and rejoin Walter.

Going back went WAY faster than going up. It wasn’t so much a steep hike as a very steady climb and when we headed back to down it was an easy fast walk. I grabbed this shot of the reservoir from the eastern end as we went by.

Boulder Meadow Reservoir

And just before we got back to the dam we both noticed these little tiny fungus growing next to a boulder.

Small fungus Boulder Lake trail

The hike took us over 2 1/2 hours which is more than we usually do and we both enjoyed it—and neither of us were sore the next day. It was just a little warm for us yet. On the drive back along Elo Road we saw several large patches of what I think of as domesticated lupine along the road. I suspect this large patch next to an old abandoned house was the original planting of them.

Lupine Elo Rd Idaho

On Wednesday we did some watering and then got ready for a trip to McCall to do our grocery shopping. But half way through the morning we heard that the Roseberry Road bridge over to Donnelly was closed and the only way we could get out was to go south around the lake—11 miles of gravel road, ugh. So we bagged that and focused on the watering for a while. Slowly cars started to show up again on West Mountain Road but most of them were muddy. Hmmm. West Mountain turns to gravel just north of us and you can take it all the way to McCall with over 10 miles of dirt road. That didn’t sound very attractive either. But at last a little Prius drove through and we asked them which way they’d come. They’ve come in from Donnelly and there was now a short detour around the closed bridge.

In time we got a bit more information and decided we’d go ahead and do our shopping. The detour took us up about 3 miles of gravel road (that was being watered to keep the dust down, thus the mud on folk’s cars) and then out onto Hwy 55 north of Donnelly so it wasn’t even out of our way. We did our shopping, had lunch overlooking Payette Lake and were back in time to greet our first wave of campers for the weekend. Yes, already on Wednesday we had folks who had reservations Wednesday through Saturday. The party was on!

By Thursday afternoon we were over 3/4 full and had two parties going—one on the south end of the campground (with lots of kids) and one on the north. The northern neighbors were not pleased since they ended up partying until 3 am. Lucky for us, we couldn’t hear them and no one came and asked us to get them to quiet down. I just got to listen to the neighbors complain about it the next morning after the noisy folks had packed up and left of course...Funny how folks don’t want to bother the host to solve the problem but once the people who were the source of their problem have left they nearly always want someone to listen to their woes.
v We did our rounds on Thursday and found yet another large strange moth sleeping attached to the wall of the main restroom. This one wasn’t as big as last week’s cecropia moth but he was still pretty big and he was still both Friday and Saturday mornings.   

Large moth Huckleberry campground

Over at Curlew I spied some Rosy Pussytoes (Antennaria rosea) and since I didn’t have my camera, I went back to the trailer and to get it and hiked back to capture them. Pink flowers with a fun name, what more could you want?

Rosy Pussytoes (Antennaria rosea)

There were regular white pussytoes (Antennaria) too with just a tinge of pink on them. I think they are so much better in the pinky rose form.

pussytoes (Antennaria)

Over on the edge of Curlew in the high wet grasses there were some Biennial Cinquefoil (Potentilla biennis).

 Biennial Cinquefoil (Potentilla biennis)

The Mountain Thermopolis has just about finished along the slough between Huckleberry and Curlew but it’s now been replaced by Taper-leaf Penstemon (Penstemon attenuatus). It’s a lovely blue and about 2 1/2 feet tall.

Taper-leaf Penstemon (Penstemon attenuatus)

Thursday evening while doing rounds a camper complained that her neighbor was throwing gasoline on his campfire. I took this with a grain of salt until I got to watch him take a 2 gallon gas can and swing it over the fire splashing gas into the fire and out onto the ground outside of the fire circle! This idiot was in his fifties so you can’t even claim he was an ignorant youngster. He was just having fun showing off. I got to tell him that his fire needed to stay in the fire circle and to not throw any more gasoline on his fire now that he had it going. I was still shaking my head at his level of idiocy by the end of the weekend. He is so lucky he didn’t splash the people (including the kids) around the fire or have the fire jump back up into the can. Please, please, please do not use gasoline on your campfire.

Friday night we filled up so that even our little bit of overflow parking was full. We had a couple of no-shows, thank goodness which at least gave some folks a bit of breathing space, but we had lots of visitors there for a couple of parties so it was a pretty wild evening. Saturday morning everyone seemed to be happy.

The weather had been steadily cooling off so by Saturday it was only in the low 60’s. The kids were still in their swim suits but the boat activity was down some. By late afternoon 4 of our campsites emptied out as folks went home rather than deal with a night with lows near freezing. The campground would have been full (all our reservations showed up) but for these early departures. Because it was already down to 48 by 11 pm, folks went to be fairly early and it was a quiet night. By the time we got up on Sunday morning some folks had already packed up and gone home and the rest followed quickly.