NPSO 2012 Annual Meeting
Field Trip - Bigelow Lakes
Leaders: Kristi Mergenthaler (Botanist), Dennis Odion (Ecologist).
Difficulty: Moderate hiking.
Altitude: Starting altitude approximately 1200’.
Description: In the Spirit of the Siskiyous, Journals of a Mountain Naturalist, Mary Paetzel wrote, “Bigelow Lakes settle deep in the Siskiyous above Oregon Caves National Monument. At an elevation of 5,900 feet, they are considered “high country” in this area (and remind me of the “high country” of Southwest Colorado, my childhood home).”,
Floristic Highlights: Some rare and endemic plants we will see include: Gentiana plurisetosa, Iliamna latibracteata, Quercus sadleriana, and Quercus garryana var breweri. Other nifty plants include Botrichium multifidum, Castilleja arachnoidea, Kelloggia galioides and Isoetes occidentalis. If you like big, easy-to- identify sedges you can’t go wrong with Carex aquatilis, C. exsiccata, C. lenticularis, C. luzalina along with Scirpus congdonii and S. microcarpus. Lovely large wet meadows in a dramatic glacially-carved granitic cirque are jammed with Veratrum californicum, Helenium bigelovii and other flowering morsels. Marvel at three species of Potentilla growing together and one of the most-western populations of aspen.
General Driving Directions: From Selma continue south on Hwy 199. Turn left (east) in Cave Junction and travel 18 miles on Hwy 46. Drive into the parking lot at Oregon Caves, turn around, head back down hill and immediately turn right on gravel road FS-960 and head uphill (steep at first) 2.7 miles, then right on FS-074 0.5 mile, and right on FS-079 0.8 mile to the trailhead parking area. Two choices to reach the old trailhead 0.6 miles from the present trailhead: walk the old road, or take the new trail segment upslope from the old roadbed, under the forest canopy.
RT Mileage: 62 miles (drive time one way: 1 hr 15 minutes). 1 mile hike into the large lake, the last part off trail. 1.4 miles from the large lake to the top of Mt. Elijah
Bigelow Lakes Plant Lists
Two different plant lists were submitted for this field trip. Because both are rather long, they will not be reproduced on the web site, but you can download and print any or all of the description and lists. Just click the Download button below.
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