The Carnivorous Plant FAQ Field Trip Report -

Eastern Oregon carnivores in 2006

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Slippery river drainage:
In time, I reached the stream crossing that I had been told to look for by state botanists and other colleagues. Right at the stream crossing I saw a small waterfall, and there--sure enough--were a few Pinguicula rosettes, some of which were in flower. Excellent! However, the plants were in places that were almost impossible to get close to, so I decided to search the side canyon above the waterfall.

I immediately encountered a few tricky points with steep slopes, long drops, and crumbling rock faces that were conspiring to kill foolish climbers, but by ferrying my gear (backpack, tripod, water, etc) in loads, I was able to get past these adrenalin-juicing outcrops. Past these points I entered a beautiful and steep drainage of bare rock, apparently swept free of all loose material by high-water flows. The surface of the drainage was like polished marble. Indeed, since there were some limestone outcrops, this might actually be marble.

Oh, one more story about the Night of the Mormon Crickets. When I reached the interstate highway, the crosswinds had really picked up and my little rental car was being buffetted hard. Meanwhile, hundreds of tumbleweeds had been set into motion by the storm. Driving was amazing--imagine being on the highway at night with dust blowing and reducing visibility, and every ten seconds or so a rolling tumbleweed--ranging in size from that of a large TV to a small couch--would shamble into view and if you would hit it, it would disintegrate into a fury of tiny fragments. It was like a video game!

While the tumbleweeds were not dangerous, the reflexive avoidance reactions of other drivers was very hazardous. They'd weave in terror every time a tumbleweed would bound along. I learned to stay away from other drivers. Actually, I found it far more entertaining to crash my rental into every tumbleweed that came my way.

Barry Rice, tumbleweed bounty-hunter!

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Revised: October 2007
©Barry Rice, 2005