I feel a little guilty talking about the mountains of Idaho and only mentioning the plants. While I saw no moose and heard no wolves, there was no shortage of deer and smaller fauna. Casual snapshots I took while in Idaho included the cool metallic wood boring beetle (probably Chalcophora angulicollis) shown above, as well as Columbian ground squirrels, least chipmunks, and spruce grouse (this one is a chick).
My hike back to the car was grueling. I was out of water for the last two hours of the hike--a dangerous situation resulting from excessive time spent scouring Tranquil Basin in full sun. While I had eight liters of water and sports-drink awaiting me in the front seat of my car, I had little margin for error. If I had snapped a leg on the return trip my lack of water would have made a bad situation much worse. When I finally saw my car waiting for me at the camp site I was greatly relieved!
Imagine my chagrin when I discovered that my car--sitting in full sun--was boiling hot, and my eight liters of liquid refreshments were hotter than fresh coffee! Have you ever tried hydrating on piping hot water? Not at all a pleasant process!
My explorations in Idaho at an end, I still had a few hours of sunlight. I decided to make some miles, so I jumped in the car and drove the long dusty road back to Warm Lake. There I cleaned and pressed my specimens from Tranquil Basin. That evening I camped on a Forest Service road near Warm Lake--an unfortunate choice because several inebriated dirtbikers set up camp in the area and whooped it up late into the night. (At dawn I took great satisfaction when a couple of pileated woodpeckers started sounding off with loud RAT-TA-TA-TA-TA-TA-TA-TA-TATs in the tree directly over their campsite. I can't imagine the hung-over bikers could have enjoyed that fabulous racket overhead!)
Ah, but this is not the end of my story. I left Warm Lake, the clattering woodpeckers, and the hung-over dirtbikers, and headed westward for Oregon. More carnivorous plant sites awaited! But to hear about that, you'll have to await completion of my next trip report...