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.