Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring Blooms East of the Cascades

Update: Thanks for the assistance
I find the plant diversity in the scrub steep landscapes a bit humbling. Some of the blooms I once knew, but the identification has leaked out of my head. I did catch a timely break on a few as Meandering Washington documented some spring flowers in similar terrain south of where I was. Otherwise I just enjoyed the small diverse treasures of Spring in the scrub lands.

 A variety of bluebells? 
Mertensia longiflora, Long flowered bluebells

Mertensia longiflora, Long flowered bluebells

Prairie Star, Lithophragma bulbifera

Shooting star of some sort
Dodecatheon pulchellum , Shooting Star

Shooting star plant - very small

Yellow bell

This one is an ID that has leaked out of my head - should be easy
Hooker’s balsamroot, Balsamorhiza hookeri

Cushion phlox

Cushion phlox is one I remember as it forms wonderful clumps of flowers on otherwise harsh rocky ground.
Cushion phlox

Daggerpod, Phoenicaulis cheiranthoides

Daggerpod, Phoenicaulis cheiranthoides

Sagebrush violet

Sagebrush violet
  I will say I did recognize this as some sort of violet.
Sagebrush violet

Monday, March 23, 2015

Road Trip on the High Plains of Eastern Washington

Navigating across the high plains of eastern Washington provides a sense of adventure and exploration while in the comfort of the cushioned seat of the car. While taking a short cut from one place to the next, one needs to stay alert to precise location and the fact that roads on a map may no longer exist and new roads may have been cut. Google maps is only of marginal help in this landscape. 
The paved routes are the easy part, but if there is a shorter route to my destination I will take it.

On graveled roads, I start calculating the cost of lining the road with crushed rock gravel and just what the area and who might be served by this expense. It sure does improve the ability to get heavy trucks in and out of the wheat fields and with a lot less dust.
The last links of any short cut can be iffy. Despite the switch to dirt I felt confident this road would be a go as it was dry and there were relatively fresh tire tracks.

Local road signs were not much use.
This road was relatively newly graded as can be seen by the blocks of dirt on the sides. The water rills down the track got a bit deep further on but with the new grading were avoidable.
This bit of road was one section I knew would be bad ahead so I stopped here and proceeded to my destination on foot.
The high plains comes to an abrupt end with 1,500-foot canyon. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Montgomery and Wartman: Invest in Landslide Mapping

How to Make Landslides Less Deadly (Montgomery and Wartman in NY Times)

Alas they were word limited - but point out the need for a modest investment in developing landslide maps.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Lava Poured on Ice

I have been a bit heavy on field work and other obligations so a bit short on brilliant content: but this video is way cool. If anything it shows the remarkable insulation ability of basalt. I would note further that the experiment was by Syracuse University - a school I have always been fond of. Syracuse made a nice offer to me to for graduate school. I instead decided to head back to the Washington State landscapes and went to Western Washington University.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Nick and Tom: Geology of Seattle and the Puget Sound

Nick Zentner and Tom Foster have been putting together some great videos explaining Washington landscapes. They are working on an I-90 series and start off in Seattle.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Political Sunday: Bloody Sunday and The Battle of Bogside

A combination of last week's celebration of "Bloody Sunday", Saint Patrick's Day, and my tribal homeland inspires this non Washington Landscape post.
Last weekend there were remarkable remembrances of the march across the bridge in Selma, Alabama. And for good reason - the event, now referred to as "Bloody Sunday", brought about a significant change in civil rights. Besides being the 50th anniversary, this years remembrance of that day had added meaning given the events in Ferguson, New York as well as other communities.
The term Bloody Sunday calls up in my mind another protest march that turned much more violent and had very long lasting consequences and lead to many more deaths and acts of violence for decades afterward. A civil rights march in Derry, Northern Ireland ended with dozens of people shot including 14 killed. Bloody Sunday was recalled by the band U2. The band would often introduce the song as not a "rebel song", as there was in Ireland a genre of rebel music glorifying the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
A bit of footage of the Bloody Sunday event. And for those that want to dig deeper into the Troubles, a documentary on the Battle of Bogside which took place three years earlier and resulted in the British Army taking over policing in the Bogside which eventually led to the Bloody Sunday Disaster. The Battle of Bogside was truly a remarkable event that should have led to rapid political change. The lack of substantive action by the United Kingdom was the real tragedy.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Brief Winter of 2014-2015

For most of western Washington lowlands this has been a snow free winter. At this late stage the odds of a snow storm are getting very low. Other than a few flakes during the November cold spell - the only winter-like weather all winter, this has been a rather remarkable winter for warmth. That brief period of cold brought 12 degree temperatures to my home with hard winds out of the Fraser Canyon. The outflow of cold air rapidly dried the air and just a few flakes fell. At the time winter seemed to be starting; turned out to be that was the only winter weather all winter.

The cold air crossed over the Strait of Juan de Fuca and as it rose up the slopes on the north side of the Olympic Peninsula and hence the Port Angeles area did get a bit of snow cover. This event was captured on the Google Earth image I cam across while doing some review of a site.   

Google earth (11/29/14)