A joint trip with Friends of Cypress Provincial Park – Aug 30, 2019
Trip Report by leader Lyn Grants
Twelve participants were not daunted by the mist and light rain and, of course, all made it to the peak-alas to curtains of mist which completely obscured the views.
Many whiskey jacks (Canada Jays) flew in immediately to join and entertain us. Entertained as we were, we were also alarmed to learn that their food caches are not “refrigerated” as they once were by cold winters. With global warming, and warmer and shorter winters, the food they depend on in the winter does not stay fresh. Less good food is brought to the the breeding female as she sits on the nest in the late winter months, and this will lead to an inevitable decline in population. Hard to think of that while the birds perched on our hands and heads and darted down for the nuts on offer, many of which would be taken back to the cache for cold, winter storage – but perhaps not cold enough.
While our pace was steady we did stop for plant queries and identification: Oval-leaved Blueberry (Vaccinium ovalifolium), Alaskan Blueberry (Vaccinium alaskaense), Black Huckleberry (Vaccinium membrabaceum) all beautiful with raindrops, (and all sampled with restraint), Copperbush (Cladothamnus pyroliflorus), seedheads curled tight, Deer-Cabbage (Fauria crista-galli) hiding under a bridge, Western Tea-Berry (Gaultheria ovatifolia) among others, but the greatest excitement was aroused by the proliferation of Blue Gentian (Gentiana sceptrum) at 4th Lake, beautiful in clusters, scattered, gleaming blue. The Blue Gentian are spreading. Gentian Lake may be outdone by other areas in the park that are becoming so unexpectedly gentian rich.