July 24, 2010

Coyote Ridge

On Coyote Ridge, our horses graze with a view of a vast valley and the Uinta Mountains in the background:
(The large pile of stones on the right is a cairn, marking the trail.  I suspect it was erected by boy scouts - can't imagine anyone else spending that much time on such a project!) 
Meanwhile, humans find a cute ground squirrel:
And enjoy the rest of the 360 degree scenery:
We look down on Currant Creek Reservoir.  Our trailer is parked somewhere in that vicinity:
On the ride to and from the ridge, we see mountain globemallows (mountain hollyhock):
lanceleaved stonecrop:
Indian paintbrush:
and sulphur paintbrush:
(Did you know most paintbrushes are partial parasites on other plants' roots?  This makes them difficult to transplant or grow from seed.)
This is a California Corn Lily, which grows in moist meadows:
Up close, the flowers are unusual and pretty:
but the plant is extremely poisonous and causes birth defects in sheep.  The flowers are also poisonous to insects.
We find the remains of old beaver ponds that have filled in with silt and formed meadows:
This blue dragonfly hovers over a pond:
A shy deer observes us from the forest:
and a hawk surveys his territory from his perch:
A herd of elk start running before we even notice them and vanish before we can whip out a camera.


  1. Breathtaking views, Janie. I felt as though I was there with you. I love the "wildlife" photos as well. Is Daisy on this trail with you? Have a wonderful weekend. (Thanks for your kind comments over at my posts) Jo

  2. Looks like a great ride! I love the scenery and wildlife.

  3. The scenery is off the charts. What a feeling you must get when you ride there.

  4. Lovely series of photos, the landscape, the wildflowers and wildlife, everything is so beautiful in your world.
    Wonderful photos!
    Have a beautiful weekend!

  5. That was a fantastic journey with so many pretty plants, flowers and wildlife to enjoy along the trails. The views from the peak are breathtaking, Janie

  6. So much beauty...love all the photos. My new goal is to catch a shot of a dragonfly. :)

  7. The views from Coyote Ridge are absolutely spectacular. I can't begin to tell you how glad I am that you are resuming your rides and taking us along.

  8. what a exciting trail!! always glad to see your photos.Seems comfortable with fresh air!!

  9. What a truly glorious day! I sure do enjoy your outings and sightings in this expansive countryside.

  10. How gorgeous! I feel like I've been on a vacation just stopping by here!

  11. Oh Wow---I LOVED seeing that ride... What fabulous views you had from there.... And getting to see the critters and all of the wildflowers made that trip extra special.... Thanks for taking me along!!!!!

    That Corn Lily is so pretty... Too bad it is poisonous.


  12. Gorgeous pics! I loved Loved LOVED the first one, most!

  13. wow. How just awesomely perfect. Perfectly awesome?!

  14. Janey...you have such beautiful scenery...great photos....

  15. Gorgeous scenery and the wild flowers are beautiful. It's kinda scary that there's such a poisonous one out there. But that's Mother Nature's way and we can't question Mother Nature, can we?

    I gotta tell you...these posts are making me want to move to Utah!

  16. Very nice photos of some BEEEYOOOTIFUL country. Summer has finally reached the high country. What a display of flowers and critters.

    Jealous as always of your opportunities to visit there.

  17. Stunning scenery! I'm surprised by the California Corn Lily being poisonous to insects. How does it reproduce - or does it spread through underground runners?

  18. Thanks for your comment, Jabblog.
    Good question. Steve brought this up, too. My National Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers says the California corn lilies' "flowers are even poisonous to insects and may cause serious losses among honeybees." But this morning I tried looking for more info online and couldn't find any other source that mentions it being poisonous to insects. All sources agree that it's very poisonous to livestock. The poisonous element contains cyclopamine, which has been used in cancer research in recent years.
    As far as reproduction, most lilies have rhizomes, so perhaps this is the method. Still doesn't explain how the plant moves to new areas, though. Maybe it's not poisonous to all insects? :)

  19. The Corn Lilly looks like what we call False Hellebore (Veratrum viride)--Indians here used it to poison arrows. It even makes the water it grows in toxic. It's primarily wind pollinated, but sometimes you'll see flies or beetles on the flowers. Ants do a lot of seed dispersal, and I have seen ants tending aphids on V. viride. I wonder, too, if Indians planted it--we often find seemingly improbable associations of edibles around archeological sites.

  20. Ecorover, thanks for the additional information. My flower book gives False hellebore and skunk cabbage as alternate names. I wondered if it could possibly kill all insects. Apparently not. I'll have to pay more attention next time we come across this plant (it's in lots of mountain marshy areas) and see what insect action I can find.
    Maybe the Indians planted it for a close source of poison for their arrows? I guess we'll never know.

  21. I've lived in Utah my entire life and everyone I know calls it skunk cabbage. It was interesting to learn a little bit more about the plant.



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