…and then some!

I’ve been making trips up to Packer Meadows periodically for the last 4 weeks or so to check on the camas bloom.  When last I visited a week and half ago, only a handful of camas had bloomed.   When I arrived last night, I found that, as Captain Meriwether Lewis noted in his journal, “”the quawmash is now in blume.”

“the quawmash is now in blume
and from the colour of its bloom at
a short distance it resembles lakes
of fine clear water, so complete is
this deseption that on first sight I
could have swoarn it was water.”

So said Captain Meriwether Lewis on June 12, 1806. He also noted that “Musquetoes our old companions have become very troublesome.”

Note that the camas was in bloom on June 12 in 1806. This year it bloomed about 4 weeks behind that pace.

Camassia quamash

"the quawmash is now in blume" 2011

The mosquitoes remain very troublesome — that much hasn’t changed at all in 200 years. When I felt weak from blood loss there was enough daylight left that I decided to see if Elk Meadows Road was passable through. A week and a half ago it most definitely was not as you might recall if you read my “Suddenly Summer” blog post last week.

As I drove along, I seemed to be stopping about every 15 yards to enjoy the abundant beargrass, silvery lupine, rosy paintbrush, penstemon, American bistort, sitka valerian, bog orchid, and probably several other wildflowers that I am forgetting. There is truly a bumper crop of beargrass.

Abundant Beargrass


Silvery Lupine

I became optimistic that the I’d be able to make it through to Lily Lake, having encountered no major snow (just little patches) up to this point. I continued to amble along, and continued to “stop and smell the roses.”

I made so many stops that the sun had already set when I was still a mile or two away from Lily Lake. The alpenglow on the peaks made me stop again.


Just past that point I encountered snow. I crossed my fingers that I’d be able to make it to Lily Lake.  I made it, and while I had missed the setting of the sun, I was still in for a treat.

Lily Lake Twilight

I had left home with the hopes of finding good camas. I got that… and then some! What a wonderful evening drive it was!

I left Lily Lake with my fingers still crossed that I’d be able to continue eastbound — the shorter distance to home — instead of having to turn around and go back the long way. I did hit more snow as well as fallen trees but I was able to skirt around and make it through.

more photos from the evening here: http://www.bigskycountry.net/packermeadows_lilylake

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>