My daughter Vanessa and I and our friend Steph recently spent four days backpacking in the Sawtooth Wilderness area here in Idaho.
There was the usual gorgeous scenery;
But being a gardener I was equally impressed with all the beautiful wildflowers. We had timed our trip well for viewing the flora.
Look at this breathtaking Little Pipsissewa which was quietly posed beside our first campsite:
According to my wildflower guide book; "The genus name, from the Greek cheima ("winter") and philos ("loving"), refers to the evergreen nature of the plant. The common name Pipsissewa is believed to be derived from the Cree Indian word pipisisikweu, meaning "it breaks it into small pieces;" the plant was once used in preparations for breaking up kidney stones or gallstones."
A less friendly plant is the Elegant Camas;
Still lovely, but according to my guidebook; "Camases are among the most infamous western plants, poisoning many livestock, especially sheep. Indians and early settlers were also poisoned whenever they mistook the bulbs for those of edible species, such as the Camas Lily."
I didn't haul up my wildflower guidebook, I had enough to carry, but I was pretty sure this was heather when I saw it.
I believe it is Pink Mountain Heather which has a range from Alaska to northern California, Idaho and Colorado.
I just love what I've always referred to as "Indian Paintbrush." This one must be Giant Red Paintbrush as opposed to Desert Paintbrush. It was everywhere and so gorgeous.
In this field of flowers you can see Sulfur Paintbrush also. From the guidebook; "Most Indian Paintbrushes are bright red; this is one of the few yellow ones. The large genus is found primarily in western North America."
Sulphur Flower (Eriogonum umbellatum) from the Buckwheat Family.
Hooded Ladies' Tresses (Spiranthes romanzoffiana) from the Orchid Family.
Probably Sticky Aster (Machaeranthera bigelovii) from the Sunflower Family.
I was constantly tempted to stop, kneel down, and take wildflower photos which is really very difficult with a pack on your back. Luckily I only fell down once as I was attempting this maneuver. But really, how could I resist?
We did manage to see a bit of "fauna" but not much;
Vanessa and I, standing on top of a waterfall.
(Our packs are covered with ponchos because of the many thunderstorms we encountered.)
It was a good trip but it's always nice to be back home with toilets, electricity, running water and a real bed.