Sunrise Out My Front Door

Sunrise Out My Front Door
Sunrise Out My Front Door

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Exploring Price Peet Road

June 23, 2018

 During the four years I've lived and worked at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, I've passed Price Peet Road many times, but never got around to making it a destination until today.  My impetus was to go look for a rare primrose, gumbo evening primrose (Oenothera cespitosa). This dirt road gets very little grooming, so I wasn't sure how far I would get on it. Bill said the flowers were not far up the road and I could always just walk to them. 

The road starts about 15 miles from my trailer

I was happy to find a whole little community of the flowers, growing just in the sandy clay road, and just in front of the grasses growing along the edge. This plant was first collected by Merriwether Lewis, July 17 1806, near Great Falls, Montana.  I found it growing in the same type of soils he described - sandy clay, gumbo soil. But all the flowers looked tired, so I continued on up the climbing road, hoping newer flowers would be blooming higher up.

I finally found a single plant and worked to get decent pictures in the bright light and wind. Finally a cloud came by and helped me out, but the wind blew a leaf across one of the blooms. I didn't notice that until I got back home. The best thing about this primrose is that the blooms open white, then gradually change to darker and darker pink as the blooms age.

Gumbo evening primrose (Oenothera cespitosa

The primrose was growing where I could look way out across the landscape.  I spent the rest of the trip looking for landscape views and more wildflowers. A few butterflies also tempted me to capture their pictures. The road had only a few series of little washed out gullies and I made it all the way to the end.

Rocky Mountain Iris ( Iris missouriensis)

I think this is long-leaf phlox ( Phlox longiflolia)

Arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata)

Need help with this one - it grew as a series of this tiny flowers
 up the stem - each flower was less than a half inch tall - please leave a comment if you know it-
growing in a meadow, near the red elderberry

Crimson columbine ( Aquilegia formosa)

Red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa)

I think this is one of the painted lady butterflies

I stopped here to wander the hill above the car, then walk on up the road. 

A lot of blue skippers were stocking up on minerals

One of the larkspurs - pre-flowering plants are poisonous to cows

A little road led off into Targhee National Forest

White mule's ears (Wyethia helianthoides)

Parry's Townsend Daisy (Townsendia parryi)

Silky phacelia (Phacelia sericea)

The end of the road

Sticky geranium (Geranium viscosissimum)

Familiar view but always different - this on South Valley Road

One of the ranches 

I meant to hike more but my hips and back are sore from helping Jim cut willows out from under the fence he is putting up. We spent about four hours on that job yesterday. It required squatting, sitting, kneeling, and crawling.

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