Hike | Wonderland Trail, Mt. Rainer

Trail: Wonderland Trail, Mt. Rainer N’tl Park

Dates: 7/20 to 7/23 (3 days, 2 nights)

Mileage: 20 miles

Alpine glow

Day One: Box Canyon Trailhead to Indian Bar (7 miles)

Day Two: Indian Bar to White River Campground (10 miles)

Day Three: White River to Sunrise Visitor Center (3 miles)

This hike was beautiful and I cannot believe that it’s taken me this long to visit Mount Rainer. There’s definitely some elevation gain that was strenuous on this route, but overall so worth it!

Bugs were minimal – I made it thru with only 3 bug bites, which has to be a record! We ran into the most bugs as we were just starting to ascend out of the forest around Box Canyon trail. I did come prepared this trip with 30% DEET bug spray, that I only had to use once along that section of trail.

Indian Bar group campsite
Mt. Rainer cloaked in clouds.
Day 2 – view after climbing something like 1,500 ft in elevation
Mama + baby bear!!
Wahoo – we did it!
Stephen and Margo and my ice cream cone.

// Plant List //

Listing everything I remember seeing in bloom, since I didn’t have time to take a photo of everything, sadly. Also, Mt. Rainer has this awesome wildflower guide!

Subalpine

  • American Bistort – In my head, I always call it ‘buckwheat’ even though it’s not | Polygonum bistortoides
  • (pictured) Avalanche Lily – whole fields of it!! | Erythronium montanum (Liliaceae)
  • Bear Grass | Xerophyllum tenax
  • Bracted Lousewort, more commonly Wood Betony – really understated and beautiful green, tallest lousewort spp. at Rainer | Pedicularis bracteosa (Orobanchaceae)
  • Broadleaf Lupine | Lupinus latifolius
  • Elephant’s Head – only a couple in flower | Pedicularis groenlandica (Orobanchaceae)
  • Gray’s Lovage – kept seeing this one, but wasn’t sure which carrot fam. plant it was | Ligusticum grayi (Apiaceae)
  • Jeffrey’s Shooting Star | Dodecatheon jeffreyi
  • Orange Paintbrush – usually this is the one I see, but only saw a handful | Castilleja miniata
  • Pink Paintbrush – so much, esp. at Sunrise, but also Indian Bar | Castilleja parviflora
  • Sitka valerian | Valeriana sitchensis (Caprifoliaceae)
  • Thistle | Cirsium edule
  • White-flowered Sickletop Lousewort | Pedicularis racemosa, ssp. alba (Orobanchaceae)
  • (pictured) ‘Yeti’s Toe’ or common name, Pasqueflower or Western Anemone – saw this in flower & seed (looks fluffy like the toe of a yeti) | Anemone occidentalis

Trailside / Mid-lower elevation

  • Bunchberry | Cornus canadensis
  • Candystick | Allotropa virgata () – pasting this from Mt. Rainer’s guide because it’s so cool!

Completely lacking green leaves, this plant grows as a single stem marked with red and white stripes. Each flower has red-brown sepals but no petals, and underneath each flower is a small scale-like leaf. Candystick are mycotrophic, which means instead of using photosynthesis to get energy, they form a complicated three-way relationship with fungus and coniferous fir trees to survive. The candystick draws energy from the fungus associated with its roots. The fungus in turn derives energy from tapping into the roots of fir trees. With no need for the sun, candystick can be found in shady, deep woods.

  • Crimson Columbine | Aquilegia formosa
  • Devils Club | Oplopanax horridus (Araliaceae)
  • Foamflower | Tiarella trifoliata
  • Goat’s Beard | Aruncus dioicus
  • Kinnikinnick or Bearberry | Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
  • Pippsissewa | Chimaphila umbellata
  • Pinesap – also a mycotrophic plant | Monotropa hypopithys
  • Slender Bog Orchid | Platanthera stricta
  • Tiger Lily | Lilium columbianum (Liliaceae)
  • lots + lots of Vanilla Leaf lining the lower elev. trails | Achlys triphylla
  • Western Coralroot – a saprotroph plant, I’ll have to pay closer attention between Candystick, Pinesap, & this plant next time I’m out | Corallorhiza mertensiana
  • Wild Strawberry | Fragaria vesca (Rosaceae)

You can also check reported wildflower statuses at Rainer’s website too – the coolest!

Avalanche Lily in bloom and seed.
Western Anemone ‘Yeti’s Toe’ and Paintbrush

Hike | Santiam Lake

Trail: Santiam Lake

Dates: 6/23 to 6/24 (out & back, one night trip)

This was a really nice/approachable/easy one night backpacking trip. We drove down from Portland, leaving the city around 8A and arriving at the trailhead at 10:30A. We hiked in and set up camp by 2:30/3P. The start of the hike is through an old burn (see bear grass photo below) and with elevation, it transitions to open forest and sub-alpine meadows. The snow pack is almost completely melted out. There were only a handful of snow patches ‘obstructing’ the path, as we reached Santiam Lake. The lake is most likely a shallow one, as the water was warm by Oregonian standards (those of us use swimming in what feels like recent snow melt or the Pacific Ocean). I loved swimming in this lake. The only downside was the hordes of mosquitoes that follow you once you get out of the lake/set up camp/try to sit in camp and enjoy the view of Three Fingered Jack. So bring a swim suit, towel, and a bug net (seriously, or a bee keeper suit). Also, open to recommendations on how other hikers, dog owners, herbalists, anyone deals with the ever increasing presence of mosquitos on their camp trips.

The hike is dog friendly and we saw a lot of happy dogs hiking and enjoying the swimming, too. Once Tepals is ready for an overnight trip, this will be one of the first we get her acclimated on.

 

Featured photo credit: Reed Lehto

 

Xerophyllum tenax | Myself + Reed (photo credit: Margo)

A whole, glorious meadow of Dodecatheon alpium or what I call rocket ship flower | I think this is a baby Pediucularis groenlandica, but id help appreciated 😀

 

++ Plant List ++

  • Alpine shooting star | Dodecatheon alpium (Primulaceae)
  • Pedicularis spp. – most likely Pedicularis groenlandica + racemosa
  • Beargrass in bloom | Xerophyllum tenax (Melanthiaceae)
  • Pink mountain-heather | Phyllodoce empetriformis (Ericaceae)
    • Genus is named for a sea nymph, custom started by Carl Linnaeus, father of the binary naming system for plants
  • Hellebore | Veratrum viride (Liliaceae)
    • So many ethnobotanical uses but one to be very aware of as it is extremely poisonous. Ingesting a small amount of this plant can result in loosing conciousness followed by death – eek!
  • Sitka valerian | Valeriana sitchensis (Caprifoliaceae)
  • Lyall’s anemone | Anemone lyallii (Ranunuculaceae)
    • Not a 100% on this id, but seems likely based on visual id & sub-alpine ecology
  • not pictured & not in berry yet – Littleleaf huckleberry | Vaccinium scoparium (Ericaceae)

 

Also, not sure on this one, but I think it’s Anemone lyallii | Valeriana sitchensis

Veratrum viride | Phyllodoce empetriformis

 

Hike: Mt. Adams

ROUTE

North Ridge – North Cleaver, Mt. Adams, Washington

 

 

Karl at basecamp

ITINERARY

Night Before. Drive to Trout Lake, WA. Get permits ($15 ea. for the weekend) + poop bags. Camp off road for an early start.

Day 1. Drive to trailhead + park (Divide Camp). Hike to basecamp at 8,000 ft – it’s a long 4+ miles.

Day 2. Wake up at 4A. Summit to 12,000 ft. Pack up. Hike out. Drive home. Eat pizza.

 

 

Karl + Flint at Killen Meadow

PACK

Essential

  • Crampons
  • Ice axe
  • Stiff-soled hiking boots (I have Asolo Fissures)
  • Gators
  • Trekking poles
  • All means of sun protection (sunblock, sun or mountaineering glasses, brimmed hat, light weight long sleeve, buff/neck cover)
  • Chapstick (preferably with SPF)
  • Hydration pack or water bottle(s) – at least 2 liters, gotta stay hydrated!

 

Everything Else

  • Rock climbing helmet
  • All the Shot Bloks
  • Loads of trail bars, snacks, calorie-dense dinner
  • Sleeping bag + pad
  • Tent
  • Day pack
  • Hiking backpack
  • Stove, fuel, cook wear, spork
  • Head lamp
  • First aid kit (inc. moleskin, athletic tape, ibuprofen, hand sanitizer)
  • Clothing (2x wool t-shirts, light weight long sleeve to block sun, hiking pants, 2x wool socks, 2x underwear)
  • Shell jacket – preferably Gore-tex 3L to block harsh winds (loves my Marmot Spire)
  • Down puffy jacket
  • Gloves/mittens
  • Toothbrush + paste
  • Utility tool or knife
  • Toilet paper + priority mail envelope (pro-tip from Andrew. To keep shit from leaking on your other shit.)
  • Camera + extra battery

 

 

View of Mt. Adams glacier from 10,500 ft and Smelowskia ovalis at 8,000 ft.

CLIMB

Mt. Adams was an awesome and exciting, perhaps too exciting, first venture into mountaineering. I learned how to glissade, self-arrest, and use crampons. The diverse terrain of the summit route along the north ridge keeps it interesting. At points, I self-belayed with an ice axe on a steep snow field, bouldered and scrambled the higher rock ledges, and generally had a hard time keeping my breathe once we hit 10,500 ft elev. At this point, strapped for time and air, myself, Ray, & our guide-in-chief Andrew (who’d already summited this route a few years ago) decided to start our descent back to camp. Reed and Karl, fueled purely by shot bloks, pushed on to the summit & descended about 2 hours behind us.

There were definitely moments of extreme discomfort where the terrain pushed my comfort level to various degrees. Mainly, looking behind/below me and seeing only a steep drop. The idea of sliding off a mountain became a real possibility in my mind. Tongue in cheek, we kept saying “hashtag celebrate discomfort.” While I find this obnoxious, the point isn’t lost on me. I can’t think of another time or activity that has forced me to practice mindfulness, tested my physicality, and involved so much calculated risk, all simultaneously. While my internal mantra was, “You never have to do this again, so do it now” I realize now, at home, that I will do this again and again.

Lessons learned – I’m always grumpy on the hike out & questioning why I do this to myself. Also, I need to cut weight in my pack, which weighed about 32lbs. My Costco bargain (a High Sierra pack) has treated me well, but it’s time to shed a pound and get a pack that fits. Even more so for my current synthetic sleeping bag – which weights 4lbs, but could weight 1lb if I throw down $200 for a new down bag. And not least, everyone’s butt chaffs – so there’s a fun thing to trade stories about with your friends.

Andrew at golden hour

Rachael + the lavender mt. range

I only care about sunset photos

Reed

Bye sun!

Hike: Trapper Creek

The hike: Trapper Creek Wilderness Loop, 14.5 mi

This hike is from last weekend. We set out to “summit” Observation Peak, but found the loop snowed in at 6 miles. We could have opted for the straight shot up, but we wanted to do the loop which is longer. There was also a surprising amount of blow down in branches and trees that obstructed the trail at many points. Guess winter hit this area pretty hard. As the snow is still receding, I was able to see some early blooming wildflowers.

Trillium ovatum

Viola sempervirens

Calypso bulbosa

Anemone oregana

Achlys triphylla

// Plant List //

Anemone oregana. Ranunculaceae / Buttercup Family. Anemones can be good indicators of where we are in the season – in this case, early.

Trillium ovatum. Liliaceae / Lily Family. Lilies are a plant family of 3s – 3 leaves, 3 sepals, 3 petals, & 3 stigmas. Seeds are dispersed by ants – each seed has an oil appendage that is attractive to ants. The ants bring the seeds back to their nest & eat the oil appendage, throwing the seeds into their rubbish pile. (cite: Pojar, p.102)

Viola sempervirens. Violaceae / Violet Family – It could be Viola glabella, but based on the lower leaf placement and more rounded leaf shape (vs. a distinct point at the tip), probably v. sempervirens.

Calypso bulbosa. Orchidaceae / Orchid Family – Common name Fairyslipper. Orchids have delicate root systems and are best left untouched. Even a gentle tug can break the roots, causing the plant to die.

Achlys triphylla. Berberidaceae – Common name Vanilla leaf. Known for its vanilla scent when dried &/or crushed. These were babies, barely setting out their seeded spikes.

Marshmallow Root

Marshmallow root is great at producing mucilage! I learned that mucilage is a carbohydrate that the body has a hard time breaking down. Is this a benefit? Yes! It helps sooth inflamed & irritated skin via direct contact. This is the definition of a demulcent herb. Demulcent for internal use, emollient for external use.

Marshmallow has an affinity for digestion, respiratory, and urinary systems. Also, it can be used topically to aid wound healing or any hot/irritated/inflamed skin as a pollutice. It’s a great addition to Yarrow or Kinnickinck to fight a UTI, as it has no astringent properties and will help with inflammation. In the digestive system, because of its vulunary and demulcent properties, it can help with ulcers, indigestion, IBS, and maybe even leaky gut. The mucilage coats gut lining to help to stop leakage, same for the stomach with ulcers and indigestion to reduce irritation. For respiratory, when you have a sore throat, again Marshmallow will help to sooth inflamed tissues and bring moisture to mucous membranes 1.

“In France, the young tops and tender leaves of Marsh Mallow are eaten uncooked, in spring salads, for their property in stimulating the kidneys, a syrup being made from the roots for the same purpose.”

p. 507, A Modern Herbal by M. Grieves

Some other interesting uses from M. Grieves was to boil the root in milk or wine, make into syrup, or a part of a tea mix remedy for colds. It does sound kind of delicious as a syrup. Some classmates also noted that they’ve used marshmallow root to help with endometriosis and arthritis/joints. I haven’t had experience with either, but it makes sense that it could aid with those conditions.

In fact, I haven’t worked with marshmallow root before, but I am looking forward to adding it to my morning herbal teas. I will mix it with Tulsi or Peppermint, for an overall aid to digestion. As a yinny person, I am always trying to improve my digestion. I have a tea thermos with a strainer that I like to use for herbal teas only. In the morning, I put all my herbs in the strainer & pour boiling water atop. I then make my 2o minute bike commute to work. When I arrive, the tea has been sitting long enough to yield a fairly strong infusion. In general, it is recommended to make a decoction for roots. A decoction is simply making a tea, but instead of pouring hot water over the herb, you will simmer the herb in hot water for 15 minutes.

HOW TO MAKE A DECOCTION

  1. Add 1 heaping TBS of root to 1 cup water.
  2. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 to 25 minutes.
  3. Strain. Drink a cup several times daily.

 

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HOW TO DEHYDRATE FRESH MARSHMALLOW ROOT

  1. Clean root of dirt, if this hasn’t already been done.
  2. Cut into 2″ pieces, then cut each piece in half lengthwise.
  3. Place roots on dehydrator shelves. Set dehydrator to 135F. If you have a timer, I’d start with 4 hours and then check if a couple more hours are needed.
  4. With a cutting board & straight rolling pin, lovingly pound the crap out of your dried roots. This will result in powder and smaller pieces of material that lend to decoction/infusion. More surface area =  more contact with water to pull constituents out of the plant matter.
  5. Store in an airtight jar

 

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Dried & ready for pounding.

 

HOW TO TINCTURE FRESH MARSHMALLOW ROOT

  1. I also had enough fresh root to make a tincture. To tolerance, finely chop up root.
  2. Measure menstrum (ie. water & everclear mixture). I used a 40% alcohol to water ratio for my menstrum. This is because the muscilage is best extracted by water & 40% alc. is as low as we can go with fresh plants and still preserve a long shelf life.
  3. Pour menstrum over chopped roots, tighten lid on jar, & give it a shake. I always like to get a bit woo and thank the plant & think about all the healing it’s going to help with.

 

As I start to work with marshmallow, I’m sure I will become familiar with it’s specific effects on my body. For now, I’d have to say pounding the root is pretty fun and satisfying – the same reason that I enjoy making saurkraut. I also loved the smell as it dehydrated. It was both sweet and bitter in scent. I’d love to hear how you’ve worked with marshmallow and any recipes, tips, preparations you’d like to share!

 

Althaea officinalis L. | Marshmallow

Herbal Actions: Anti-inflammatory, Demulcent, Diuretic, Emollient, Expectorant, Vulenary

Chanterelles

It is early, here in the PNW, if you are looking for chanterelles. They are out and about, but I saw so many babies just beginning to emerge. It’s gonna be a great season – so treat yourself & get out to the woods in the next few weeks!

But right now, the woods are poppin’ with mushrooms of all sorts! As Reed pointed out, we make a good pair as he focuses in on finding the chanterelles, while I’m distracted/fascinated with every-single-mushroom-that-is-happening. Pre-chanterelles is a great time to find lobster mushrooms, boletes, shrimp mushrooms, cauliflower mushrooms, & many more that I don’t even know about yet.

Chantarellus formosus are mostly what grow in the PNW – they are a separate species from the golden chanterelle due to their mycorrhizal relationship with Doug Firs (hint hint for all you beginning mushroom hunters out there). It is also Oregon’s state mushroom, NBD.

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Chanterelle bounty at home. Chantarellus formosus.

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Sparassis crispa | Cauliflower mushroom

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Learned this one today – Suillus lakei | Lake’s Bolete

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Asarum caudatum | Wild ginger. A friend of chanterelles. Harvested a few leaves to make some herbal tea at home.

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Cute lil guys. Haven’t id yet – do you know who we are?

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Have yet to look these guys up.

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Lobster joy! Hypomyces lactifluorum | Lobster mushroom

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Perhaps my favorite mushroom, Pseudohydnum gelatinosum | Jelly tooth

++RESOURCES ++

If you are interested in going on a guided mushroom hunt (and why wound’t you be ?!), I recommend signing up for Arctos Schools’ upcoming mushroom class. I’ve gone mushrooming with them several times over the past couple of years and I always learn so much (new-to-me mushrooms, where they like to live/ecology, + more)! Also, check out your local mycological society. You will meet interesting, amazing people with a wealth of mushroom wisdom to share. Plus, they also typically offer guided walks, foraging forays, and classes.

Mushroom Expert is an excellent online database by Michael Kuo

All the Rain Promises & More by David Arora | perfect mushroom field guide for the PNW

Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora | the best reference for id-ing mushrooms / the expanded version of ARPM

Radical Mycology By Peter McCoy | I’ve worked with Peter & he knows what’s up. Fascinating & practical read on all things mycology.

Calendula: a champion for your skin

Last week, I picked up my monthly herb share and have spent the days since in a frenzy of medicine making; chopping, straining, washing jars, labeling, + so forth. The other day, I harvested the first eggplant from our summer garden. I find myself on the way to complete one task, only to get distracted and begin another. It’s a moment of abundance and it’s keeping me busy.

At the peak of summer, it’s the time to harvest so many things. One of those things is Calendula flowers. Medicinal resins will be most strongly concentrated in the flower heads if picked at the height of day (think water is evaporating in the heat, allowing those resins to be more potent) cite. While I didn’t grow any this season, I got a great big bag of flowers and a tin of calendula salve from my CSH share. Calendula salve has found its way to me right when I need it—I’ve been lazily batting away at eczema on my lips, elbows, & hands with coconut oil. It’s nice to have another ally to turn to.

I didn’t feel enthused about applying cortisone or any steroid to my lips. The salve works nicely, though needs super frequent application making your lips look like they’re shining with sweat. But, the pleasant flavor and knowing it’s made with olive oil & beeswax, I feel comfortable with the amount I probably end up ingesting. Speaking of which, calendula is great as a tea or tincture. It’s often used to boost the immune system by stimulating lymphatic drainage cite. So, you can double up on your calendula intake, as internal use is common for treating eczema, as well. Calendula isn’t the only part of an herbal protocol to heal eczema. Other things factor in, such as diet, vitamins, micro-nutrients, allergens, stress, genetics, and a a lack of understanding of the nature of eczema. But, that’s another post & I have yet to dive deeply into creating a protocol for my eczema.

In addition to eczema, calendula is the go to herb for many skin conditions; be it dryness, cuts & scraps, bug bites, and more. From what I’ve read, calendula helps skin cell regeneration via a high content of natural iodine, carotene, and manganese cite. I’d love to learn more about this aspect of the plant, but haven’t put the research time in yet. I did put some salve on a mysterious bug bite I got on my bike commute home. While I don’t know how long it would have taken to heal up on its own, the salve really helped reduce the inflammation that my skin is so prone to when irritated.

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“Calendula is one of my favored personal wintertime teas, as I find it so uplifting, especially when I am feeling the long-dark-night-blahs. Interestingly, a strong cup of calendula tea has a flavor reminiscent of unsweetened cacao. Most modern herbalists don’t typically use it as one of their primary anti-depressant herb, but it is mentioned for that specific use in multiple historical texts. Calendula may be called upon for grief and sadness along with other cheering flowers: rose, mimosa and lavender. In addition, consider other helpful herbal companions, such as lemonbalm and lemon verbena.”

– Chestnut School of Herbs

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In M. Grieve’s A Modern Herbal, I found it unique that the flowers were often dried and stored as one of many ingredient for making winter broths. I might try this, in addition to what I decided to do with a portion of my flowers—infusing them in Thayer’s witch hazel (pictured above). I’ll use this for many of the same uses as the salve; to reduce inflammation in bug bites, as well as, a facial toner.

Calendula officinalus | calendula, pot marigold (Asteraceae)

Herbal Actions: Anti-bacterial, Anti-fungal, Anti-inflammatory, Antiseptic, Astringent, Bitter, Cholagogue, Lymphagogue, Vulnerary

Hike: Bald Mountain

I had plans to go bike camping this weekend, but due to laziness and a grey + rainy forecast, I bailed. Instead, I spent my Saturday having an early breakfast at Zell’s (German pancake!), perusing the art supply store, drawing, eating burritos, and driving out to Bald Mt for a “sunset” hike. As you can see, it was overcast, but the wildflowers were still amazing in the waning light and the hike up through a fog-filled forest at dusk was eerie and peaceful.

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View of the trail at our “summit” stopping point for the evening. (left) Heart-left buckwheat (right)

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Magical mugwort

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Heart-leaf buckwheat | Eriogonum compositum

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++ Plant List ++

This is a pretty short plant list as we were hiking quickly to catch the sunset, but miss the rain.

  • Heart-leaf buckwheat | Eriogonum compositum (Buckwheat family / Polygonaceae)
  • Mugwort | Artemisia spp. (Asteraceae)
  • Common red paintbrush | Castilleja miniata (Orobanchaceae)
  • Yarrow  | Achillea millefolium (Asteraceae)

Hike: Canyon Creek Meadows

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View of Three Fingered Jack & glacial lake at the hike “summit.”

This past weekend, we wanted to get out of town for a day hike. But, it was a holiday weekend (4th of July), so we knew we’d have to get a bit further out of the city to avoid the crowds. Canyon Creek Meadows is about a 3 hour drive from Portland, loosely in Central Oregon. Neither of us had done this hike before & I was happily surprised by the many wildflowers in bloom – especially the abundant valerian. I just noticed the wildflower link on the OR Hike website – it’s a pretty stellar list of what’s currently in flower. The forest has burned in the last decade, making for a stark contrast of bone-white, standing dead trees. Overall, the terrain is easy with few steep descends/ascends. We did climb up to the edge/summit to get as close as we could to Three Fingered Jack and view the glacial lake. There was plenty of snow & wind at this short section of the hike.

Once you descend from the summit and thru the upper & lower meadows, you can follow the loop to the waterfalls, then back to the car lot. 7.5 miles for the whole hike & on our way back to Portland in 5 hours.

 

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Happy valerian!

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Larkspur

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Hellebore – extremely poisonous if even a little is ingested. A good plant to know.

++ Plant List ++

Liliaceae

Lily family identifiers: petals & leaves in multiples of three. Parallel venation on leaves.

  • Beargrass | Xerophyllum tenax
  • Subalpine Mariposa Lily | Calochortus subalpinus
  • Hellebore (not in flower) | Veratrum viride

Ranunculaceae

Buttercup family identifiers: Three pistils with hooked tips. I generally think buttercups have no patterns. Botany in a Day elegantly states “The Buttercups are considered very ‘simple’ because the floral parts [..] are all of an indefinite number and seperate from one another.”

  • Broad-leaved marsh marigold | Caltha biflora
  • Menzies’ Larkspur | Delphinium menziesii

Others

  • Valerian | Valerian sitchensis (Caprifoliaceae)
  • Common Red Paintbrush | Castillija miniata (Figwort)
  • Subalpine Daisy | Erigeron penegrinas (Asteraceae)
  • Stream Violet | Viola glabella  (Violet)
  • Rocketships | Primula jeffreyi (Primulaceae)

Two Weeks with Yarrow

Yarrow is a special plant. Universally loved by herbalists, and why not – it’s good for just about everything! Until recently, I hadn’t figured out how to use yarrow for myself. Without thought, I tend to brush off day-to-day discomforts. When everyday is a barrage of the media’s/politician’s dumb ass opinions on my body and rights as a woman and a person of color – you can spend a lot of time not listening. It’s hard not to feel like we are walking backwards a majority of the time for the sake of going slowly in the wrong direction. I recently read Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist. I loved how she brought light and validity to the very obvious flaws in our cultural way of thinking in media, policy, & life. But, I couldn’t help but feel angry and frustrated that we are still fighting the same fight – for self care, intuition, compassion, & community. This being the everyday, it is EASY to ignore and hard to listen to those same struggles within me. To give time and notice to my need for self care, trust my intuition, compassion for myself/everyone, and engage with my community.

In taking that moment to listen, my body was telling me I needed yarrow. Well, it was shouting it really. If you’re female bodied, likely you have experienced a UTI. They can occur for a multitude of reasons, namely paying no mind when your body told you to pee after you inhaled a large portion of nachos and wanted only to fall asleep. My general protocol for UTIs is cranberry juice/pills, drinking green tea, and kinnickinnick tincture. While I am a fan of kinnickinnick, I don’t love the flavor. And so, I set to looking for what else I had in my medicinary that I could use.

“The tea or tincture has one distinct & appropriate use—for […] urethritis that occur after food or alcohol binging, which result in alkaline urine. (p. 244)”

“Being both anti-inflammatory and astringent/hemostatic, it lends itself to low-level […] urethritis [..]; take two cups a day for a couple of weeks.(p. 275)”

– Michael Moore, Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West

With a quick reference of MPPW, The Herbal Handbook, and the untouched 8oz of tincture I had from a Mt. Hood harvest in 2013 , I decided on yarrow. Two droppers in a cup of hot water & I was convinced. The hot water brings out the scent of yarrow, which is amazing and just like the fresh flowers. I could probably start every morning with a cup of yarrow tincture tea.

Herbal Actions: Anti-inflammatory, Anti-spasmodic, Astringent, Bitter (mild), Carminative, Diaphoretic, Diuretic, Magic, Styptic