August 7, 2010

A Potpourri of the Weird

We've had some unusual sightings on Uinta trails this summer.  Here is a naked broom-rape Orobanche uniflora.  It's a parasitic plant containing no leaves or chlorophyl.
It gets its nutrients from other plants such as lanceleaf stonecrop Sedum lanceolatum, which were plentiful in the area.
The stonecrop doesn't look that tasty to me, but Wikipedia says the leaves of all stonecrops store water and are edible.  Hmm, I learn something new every day.
 On the same hike, we ran across this carving on an aspen tree:
1844?  Is that possible?  A mountain man might have been here then.  That's about it.  The other question is whether an aspen tree could live that long.  I read that they can live about 150 years, so the date is a little bit of a stretch, tree-wise.
Assuming the carver wasn't being purposefully deceptive, maybe it's 1944, distorted by time.  Yes, that's more likely. But who the heck is K.B.? 
Now, consider this trough:
It seems to have been carved out of a tree trunk, a long, long time ago.  Someone put tar on the inside to make it waterproof.  Could this be the work of the mysterious K.B.?
We saw these fossils on a hike in Albion Basin near Alta Ski Resort, at 11,000 feet: 
They look like sea shells.  So, how did organisms from the sea get to the top of a mountain?  Seas dry up, mountains rise, and voila, we have fossils that seem incredibly out of place.
Sometimes the natural world is stranger than fiction, if we take the trouble to look closely and examine what we find.


  1. 'Sometimes the natural world is stranger than fiction, if we take the trouble to look closely and examine what we find.'
    How very true. There are deepnesses in the oceans that have not yet been explored - what might we find there?

  2. Lovely findings, you always have some special flowers to share.
    About the carving, I'm not so sure that in 1844 a mountain man could write but who knows?
    Those fossils could be from a cycle of glaciation with ice sheet advancing and retreating.
    Have a great weekend!

  3. What an interesting hike you took us on, Janie. We have stonecrop in South Africa but I never knew it was edible. As you say, we learn something new every day. I wonder who the wonder-mountain man, KB was? Have a wonderful weekend. Jo

  4. The arbor-glyph does seem a little old for an Aspen, but perhaps KB was a bit illiterate. I find ocean fossils all the time on our ancient sea floor. It is amazing to see at high elevation. But then things go up. Great hike.

  5. Old aspen tree carvings have always fascinated me. I think many of them are faked. NO!

    I've seen troughs like that in hikes when I was a kid. They usually had a spring seeping into them. Very cool and I always wondered who took the time to put them there.

    Sea fossils on top of mountains are also interesting.

  6. Hm, interesting carving by KB. It sure looks like an 8, so this KB might just be a liar. Nice collection of pictures. Oh yeah, that's what I was going to say about indian paintbrush, I think it's parasitic too.

  7. What marvelous pics & information, Janie. You are so interesting & I love what you share.

    Have a lovely PINK weekend.
    TTFN ~ Marydon

  8. What unusual finds Janie.
    They do make you wonder?

  9. Ah Janie, you live quite an enviable life. As you can see, I don't get much time for everything these days, but when I come to visit you... there's always some interesting surprises laid in the offing. Consider yourself blessed to be able to stumble on this excellent find.

    When you noted about the "sea shells on top of the mountain", the picture reminds me of one of the town in Central West Tableland on the western part outside Sydney.

    There is this place called Canowindra located in the middle of New South Wales. Here is a link of an interesting story that you may give light to your question how these sea shells get on top of that mountain of your personal discovery.

    Then please go to read the link Discovery you will find below the HOME next to the About Us Link. Very unusual!

    How time spans and evolved revealing us some wonders so incredible to see right in our own eyes just as what you have found over there.

    With your personal experience in your daily trail, you might end up sitting as a Board of Director in one of your Museums one day. We can never tell.

    Your passion for sharing us your experiences that none of us can compare is so beyond my grasp. The information you passed down to us is just overwhelming and breath-taking.

    Thank you for the honour of visiting my senseless rambling.

  10. You certainly have a collection of weird things! I guess if someone is going to mess up an aspen with graffiti, it might as well be calligraphy.

  11. You have so much to show and teach us as a result of your excursions into the mountains. I like being a student in your school.

  12. Maybe the 1844 refers to some sort of land parcel or land claim?

  13. It sounds like "X-file" adventure & the mysterious KB is interesting... :-)

  14. Whoa, that was an interesting trip. Good detective work on the aspen. I like your 1944 idea. Now you'll just have to check family trees in the neighborhood to see if you can match the initials. (Unfortunately, that's quite a lot of ground to cover.) Sometimes things like that just fall in your lap too, you never know.

  15. What an interesting post this is , Janie. I so want to believe KB carved that in 1844, and that he made the trough also. (maybe its 1.8.44)

  16. Hi Janie, Just checking in to make sure you are okay... Haven't heard from you in awhile.... Guess you are like us---busy traveling/hiking....

    You found some very interesting artifacts on this trip... Somehow---I doubt that those initials were 'really' done in 1844---but maybe I'm wrong.

    I do love the old trough... That does look fairly old. And those fossils are amazing...

    Thanks for sharing.... And keep on traveling and taking us with you.

  17. Janie what wonderful finds. That past is such a wonderful thing to uncover and try and figure out. It also makes me feel a little bit insignificant! Great photos and thanks for sharing.
    P.S. I don't know whether I have told you but I just love your header shot!

  18. i think it's possible he write it in 1844. Aspens can live 200 years in the wild. See

    Did you actually see tar in the trough? I don't see it in the pic.

    Did you use google translate on bokk's Chinese comment?

  19. Wonderful finds. (The Chinese comment is spam--you may want to delete it.)

  20. Great historical pics, from the "recent" (1844) to the ancient (hundreds of millions). Kind of puts a perspective on our brief time on this old planet.

  21. You two are keen observers to have found so many interesting things on this hike!



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