Adventures on Slate Mountain

On May 19th 2014 I checked out Slate Mountain, which is located within the Sequoia National Monument. The west side of Slate Mountain represents the upper boundary of my study area and has some really amazing plants. This was the earliest I have gone out there and I was pleasantly surprised to find snow on the ground in 80 degree weather! Even though  this was the only patch I found.

Small patches on snow on Slate Mountain

Because it was so early, many of the plants were just starting to grow, but I did manage to find some beauties like this Lupinus stiversii.

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The Harlequin Lupine (Lupinus stiversii)

And these cute itty bitty monkey flowers Mimulus  whitneyi. What’s really cool about this species is that it has this purple color morph.

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Dare to be different! This cool purple color morph of Mimulus whitneyi among all the yellows is trying to stand out in the crowd, along with the cute litte Collinsia parviflora supporting the cause.

Have I ever mentioned how amazing my study site is? Just in case you forgot, here is a picture:

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Canyon of the South Fork Tule River, View from Slate Mountain, Sequoia National Monument

And did I mention the Giant Sequoias?

DSCN2137Yeah, that’s right, Sequoiadendron giganteum. The Tule River Indian Reservation is the only reservation to have giant sequoia groves. There are 5 groves found within the South Fork Tule River watershed, four of the groves are on the boundary of the reservation and the sequoia national forest, and one is entirely within the reservation borders. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to do fieldwork out there, and in so many diverse habitats too!

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Mount Catilman, Tule River Indian Reservation

I love my study site, it’s like a second home to me, with it’s beautiful vistas and comforting canopy of trees, I am still amazed that I get to study in this environment! Whenever I feel down, or start to feel like life is rough and treating me unfair, I just remember my study site, and how fortunate I am to be living the Botanist life. Too often we get caught up thinking about all the negative things in our lives, we sometimes forget how lucky we are to experience life: the good, the bad, it’s all about the balance. You can’t have highs without lows, and you can’t feel happy, without ever experiencing sadness. Life is one crazy experience after the next, and I wouldn’t change a thing! Can’t wait to see where my next botanical adventure takes me, until then, stay green! 🙂

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