August 9, 2008

Pigeon Water Spring

NOAA predicted a 60% chance of rain up high today, so Steve planned a ride between 8000 and 9000 feet to try to avoid the showers.
From Roosevelt, we went through Bluebell, turned northwest at Mountain Home toward Granddaddy Lake, then turned north off of that road toward Pigeon Water Spring. We crossed tribal lands and parked right after passing over a cattle gap at the Forest Service boundary. The total drive was about 45 minutes.
A few clouds were building over the mountains, but nothing impressive. We rode a few hundred yards to Pigeon Water Spring, marked by a tractor tire filled with water and a hose coming out of the ground running water.
The spring is pictured above. Note the storm-free sky in the background.
The area was marshy, with lush grass, ripe serviceberries, which Steve could not resist tasting. They're pretty bland in flavor, he reports.

Birch-leaf mountain mahogany was awash in silvery plumes.
Wildflowers included lupine, yarrow, red rocket flowers, and wooly mullein, n tall-stalked invasive with yellow blossoms:

Romans and Greeks dipped these stalks in tallow and used them for funeral torches. Medieval Europe called the plant the Hag Taper because witches were believed to use them for light.
We also saw lavender thistle blooms. Mischief ate a few. Steve took a photo of a colorful bumblebee on one of the blooms:
Traveling east, sans trail, over a rocky hill for a mile or so, we reached a two track we hoped to follow up to Dry Ridge.

We came to Gooseberry Spring, again with a tractor tire trough. The spring’s vicinity was lush with ripe serviceberries and gooseberries, shown here. Gooseberries taste much better than serviceberry. These were very tart, almost like a lemon, very flavorful. When we returned home, we tried to use the picture to figure out the genus species, but found that without the flower and more careful observation, we couldn't distinguish among the types of currant and gooseberry that have black berries. Our Uinta Basin Flora book shows about 10 different species in Utah. So, it's complicated. We'll have to look more carefully next time.
While savoring the berry flavors, we heard thunder in the distance and noticed that the sky had grown quite dark. We decided to go up into the nearest aspen grove,where we took a break and watched the storm clouds. We ate granola bars. Daisy made herself comfortable resting against one of Boss's rear legs. Talk about Hi-Lee trusting!
At first, the time lapse between lightning and associated thunder indicated about a 5 mile distance. A few minutes later, the distance was only about a mile up the mountain. We considered staying in the trees and riding on, but we thought we might end up in a bad storm and unable to come down through the open areas. Not worth the risk of coming in close personal contact with a lightning strike, we decided. On down we went.
Daisy found a special treat as we neared the trailer. She dragged her delish deer leg into the truck.
Here’s a picture of how the sky looked by the time we reached the trailer. Turning back was a good decision, eh?

Our ride ended up being 3.5 miles and 850 feet elevation gain. Not a bad workout for a stormy day.


  1. Ewww!! You let her take the deer leg into the truck? Or, was that an accident and she jumped in before you could stop her? I like the picture of the bumble bee.

  2. I was wondering the same thing about that deer leg. Ewww is right!

    The sky picture is impressive. I'm actually enjoying the stormy weather.



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