Smoke did not deter 6 determined naturalists to hike up Stemwinder Mountain, Saturday, August 5th. Actually, the higher we went the less smoke we encountered. The smoke was almost negligible by the time we got to the top.

Nature is a real marvel. Every few weeks “out goes the old and in comes the new!” I was not expecting any flowers, but I was wrong. What’s in bloom? FIREWEED or ROSEBAY WILLOW HERB (Epilobium angustifoluim) with its bright, brilliant pink fuchsia coloured flowers was in bloom everywhere. We stumbled across the YELLOW TOADFLAX (Linaria vulgaris). It was a stumper until Stella later identified it. It is a far daintier than its cousin, DALMATIAN TOADFLAX, but still considered an invasive weed. We vied for position to photograph bees feasting on CANADA THISTLE (Cirsiym arvense). Clear area were festooned with GIANT MULLEIN (Verbascum thapsus). Further along we saw a rabbit that froze, pretending that we couldn’t see it, amongst white daisies, OXEYE DAISIES, (Leucanthemum vulgare). Up on the top, we came across the SULPHUR BUCKWHEAT (Eriogonum umbellatum). Remnants of SHOWY DAISIES (Erigeron speciosus) and YARROW (Achillea miffefolium) were still evident. I managed to identify yet another lichen, HORN CLADONIA (Cladonia cornuta).

Other features were pointed out by John. On our way up John pointed out “muck piles” indicating small mine exploration, and we explored a small meadow where a corroding woodstove and bits and odds scattered about gave evidence of an existing camp in the distance past. As the path started to climb, John noticed a mine adit which had been overlooked in past hikes, and everyone had a quick look inside.

Reaching the top, our view of the area was obstructed by smoke in the distance, but we experienced a wonderful cooling breeze. We congratulated ourselves, being on top, instead of down in the “pea soup” condition that existed in the valley. It was a satisfy walk more so as we headed down to the Hitching Post for lunch.