We found two versions of wicked botanical denizens of the Pacific Northwest when we walked the Old Snoqualmie Pass Wagon Road Trail (the trail is shorter than its name) on Saturday. That trail makes a nice loop out of the Franklin Falls hike: it doesn’t add much distance to your trip, and you get to see the forest. Which is full of fallen trees, and sliced up by streamlets, and makes you think that having to run a wagon trail through there must have been a ginormous pain in the arse.
I wouldn’t even have known about it if it wasn’t for Evelyn. She sent me 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Seattle for Christmas. B and I have been putting it to excellent use. The authors didn’t know rocks – they’re description of Franklin Falls is “gray and reddish rocks…” “black and reddish rocks…” and there they give up. I don’t blame them, necessarily. Those rocks are bloody hard to sort out if you’re not a professional: I’ve been at it all day, trying to figure out just what, precisely, we’re dealing with. I mean, it’s all well and good to know the black and reddish rocks are hornfels, but what kind? I know the gray rocks are Snoqualmie Batholith granodiorite, but what’s its story, morning glory? And now I’m getting punch-drunk from searching through dozens of sources. And – oh, my, where was I?
Oh. Right. Wandering through the woods with B and book.
That enormous rock ripped up with the root ball is hornfels, by the way. I found a smaller hand sample of the same stuff to bring home and break. I’ll show you it when I write up the geology of Franklin Falls.
As we were bopping through the forest like Little Bunny Foo Foo* (only we were bopping rocks, not mice), we came across a pretty wicked plant.
In Arizona, it wouldn’t have earned a second glance. Plants with billions of thorns on them are weeds there: you can’t go six inches without something trying to stab you. But an old-growth PNW forest doesn’t have much outside of berry brambles that has thorns. Our wild roses do, and I suppose this could be one, but it looks different from the roses I photographed budding out a few months ago. Then again, we’re at 2,600 feet. Maybe the roses are different.
You see here, it has impaled a cone of some sort. It’s the badass of the forest.
This botany is bothering B, so hopefully you’ll be able to identify it. I know it won’t be easy – all you’ve got is thorns and buds. But I have faith in you lot.
Further along the old wagon road, we came across two rocks that looked like the Wicked Witch of the West. Same vivid green:
Made me laugh, that did. I’m not sure what’s causing it – some sort of lichen, I suspect – but the effect is awesome. I’ll even forgive it for covering up the geology.
The moss makes it look like they’re morphing into Swamp Thing, doesn’t it? I love stuff like this. Mosses and lichens and fungi are interesting little things, and they make the world more colorful. And just think: you never would have seen this without Evelyn. Loving this book. I’m delighted she sent it, and trying to think of a suitably useful giftie for her, and hoping the summer stretches on so that we can cover as many of the hikes in here as possible. Get yourself a copy if you find yourself in Seattle with some hiking time to spare.
*My first encounter with the “Little Bunny Foo Foo” song was in Roman Dirge’s Lenore. I’m delighted to discover there’s an animation of it (caution – autoplays) that will allow you to share the very fucked-up experience.