Penstemon davidsonii

Davidson’s Penstemon
SCROPHULARIACEAE, The Snapdragon family

Today M. and I hiked Sleeping beauty in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. From the top there were snow-capped mountains in every direction. Mt. Adams loomed large, and there was a fine view of Mt. St. Helens to the southeast, sexy, sublime Hood to the south and Rainier as well. An amazing view for just 1 1/4 miles of steep hike through nice forest. (Which after Dog Mountain, seemed veeery reasonable.) And there were alpine plants at the top, like this shrubby Penstemon. And evidence of mountain goats!

The land between the mountains was covered in dark green hills, Looking at the harvested patches of forest was not as upsetting as being a teenager in the old growth rainforest in Washington and seeing the slash and burn logging. Jesus. However, I do wonder about the use of public resources by private companies, because you know they pay 2 cents per log or something, and get subsidies on top of that. Grazing cows on national land still costs, thanks to some savvy lobbyists and not-paying-attention public, the same as it has for decades: $1.73 per day per cow and calf pair. When you think of the impact that cattle have on riparian areas and the make-up of the vegetation you’d think the land, our land, was worth more than that.

The way to the trailhead was longer that expected, and after hiking up and down Sleeping beauty there were still over 5 miles to go and we’d run out of water. We hesitantly drew water out of a stream, jittery with visions of unfriendly microbes. But it was cold and good and we didn’t die or even get sick, which I would have been if I had hiked a few more hours.

It’s 102° F in the city today but it is cool in the forest.

About Mulysa

I love my work as a landscape designer and artist. When I'm not planning homesteads or working in the studio, you'll find me hiking, photographing, gardening, baking, cooking vegetarian meals with friends, reading and working on sustainability issues...with my baby on my hip in Portland, Oregon.
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