Unexpected Abundance

I love it when a place surprises you.

A few weekends ago, our plan was to hike Dock Butte, but the cloudy weather made us re-think our plans to tackle a view hike. On the road in, we stopped at a random little spur to let the dogs run while we pondered the next move.

And then we saw the blueberries and wandered up a bit further. And a bit more, lured by foxgloves and bunchberries and currants. So we decided to leave Dock Butte for a clearer day and explore the spur.

From the signage, I’m guessing it’s part of the Mt. Baker National Recreation Area that is used in winter by snowmobilers, but we didn’t see another soul the day we went. It also looks like it would be popular with hunters in the fall.

This walk was all about the berries: red huckleberries, gooseberries, stink currants, several kinds of blueberries, five-leaved bramble, bunch berries, and even a few thimbleberries and salmonberries hanging on. We weren’t prepared for full-on collecting (silly us!), but we did manage to snack our way to the top.

The road itself went up steeply at first, with lovely examples of giant hemlocks. It was never fully forested, though, and instead wound through a mix of open woods and shadowy, mossy pockets. The range of plants was extraordinary, and I’m still working my way through the photos I took, attempting to identify them all.

All in all, a lovely day in the woods, made all the more productive by the fact that a visit to Plantas Nativa in Bellingham means that several of these species have now made their way into my garden.

Close-up of five-leaved bramble, Rubus pedatus.
Five-leaved bramble, Rubus pedatus.


Image of fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium)
Fireweed, Epilobium angustifolium.


Close-up of twinflower (Linnaea borealis)
Twinflower, Linnaea borealis. Pojar and Mackinnon note that this was reputedly the favorite flower of Carl Linnaeus. I can see why.


Close-up of black gooseberry, Ribes lacustre.
Black gooseberry, Ribes lacustre.

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