Mount Hood Greenery (and Red-ery and Blue-ery)

The forests of the Cascades are pretty different from ours out here in the arid east – I saw lots of hemlocks and cedars while at Mount Hood, which was a nice change of pace. I also made the acquaintance of some interesting understory plants. First, Pacific Rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum):

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Earlier in the season these shiny green leaves would have been complemented by clusters of big, showy pink flowers, but by this time of year all that remained of those was the developing fruits.

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Second, ripe huckleberries of both the blue and red varieties – yum! These are two different species in the genus Vaccinium, which also includes blueberries and cranberries.

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Nothing beats being able to stuff your face as you walk down a trail, amiright?

I Live in a State with Volcanoes

I spent Monday through Wednesday this week at a training that was being held at a camp in another part of the state. Here’s a satellite image of the area, courtesy of Google Maps:

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Green and forested, pretty standard… wait, what’s that gray and white thing to the northeast? Better zoom out a bit.

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OH DANG. Yep, I spent the first half of this week near the base of Mount Hood, one of the Pacific Northwest’s many volcanoes, another thing my hold home in the Midwest didn’t have. Mount Hood has been quiet for a long time now, but the USGS website about it doesn’t talk about “if” it will erupt again, but “when.”

The evidence of past volcanic activity is all over the place, even well east of the Cascades where I live, if you know what to look for. Driving around out here you often see outcroppings of odd white soil, which are in fact “Mazama Ash,” deposited by the eruption of Mount Mazama that formed Crater Lake. I don’t have a good photo of one of these ash deposits but you can see what I’m talking about here.

I really enjoyed getting to see another part of the state, and a forest with different vegetation than the pine, fir, and larch that are dominant out here. More to come.