White Lake to Mahoney Lake

Photo: White Lake to Mahoney Lake (2017)
Photo by John Henry

A beautiful Spring day greeted us at White Lake as we started on our hike down to Mahoney Lake. This region is sagebrush and ponderosa pine, quite different ecology from Princeton. The White Lake formation is Eocene lava flows and fossiliferous shales from over 35 million years ago. This area is referred to as grasslands and is under the Nature Conservancy stewardship.

We saw many wildflowers, some of which we struggled to identify; some so small that a magnifying glass would have been helpful. The Sage Buttercups, Sage Bluebells (a new species for our group), and Spring Beauties were in great profusion. They provided a wonderful canvas of delicate colours amongst the sagebrush.

The birders recognized 38 species, including 12 white pelicans overhead and higher still a lone Sandhill Crane. We were delighted by the Audubon Warbler (butter butts, as the Lahaies call them), the Nashville Warbler, the Hairy Woodpecker, the Nuthatches, and others as they flickered in and out of trees. After our 6 kilometre stroll (I think that the hike will be classified as easy for next time) we reached Mahoney Lake with its deadly poisonous hydrogen sulphide layer, a very strange natural wonder. The wild asparagus, a few stems that were found, were later cooked and were declared absolutely delicious. We finished our outing with a trip to Tickleberry for ice cream to restore our strength.