Southern Siskiyous or the Annularity of Rarity
Lewisia kelloggii in the SiskiyousIn the southern Siskiyou Mountains, around the headwaters of Bluff Creek, a discovery was made a few years ago that I was intrigued to see for myself. Kirk Terrill, a Forest Service Botanist, found an unusual flower on an isolated ridgeline of serpentine. In 2010 these plants were determined to be Lewisia kelloggii and, thus far, this is the only documented population in the Klamath Mountains. Elsewhere it grows sparsely in the high country of the Sierra Nevada. In the Siskiyous it grows under and among another regional rarity—lodgepole pine. Driving up the forest service road from Highway 96 toward Cedar Camp I knew these trees would be the key to finding the rare lewisia, which only blooms for a short time in early June. Upon finding the lodgepoles and the serpentine, I unsaddled and walked the stark ridgeline. Within half and hour I had succeeded in my own rare-plant treasure hunt. Read about the one that inspired my journey, written by Carol Ralph of the North Coast Chapter, Califiorina Native Plant Society, HERE.
Blue Creek Trail - A view of the Siskiyou/Blue 2 fire of 2008
I also took a day hike along the Blue Creek Trail and though the trail was in rough shape and hard to follow at times, I had a wonderful adventure. I ran out of time and energy to make it all the way into the depths of the canyon where, on a future visit, I hope to re-explore some of the most beautiful old-growth forest I have ever seen. Forests of Blue Creek are also home to one of California's rarest mammals—the Humboldt marten (you didn't think I was going to say Bigfoot did you?).