Although visitors to Paradise Valley at this time will miss seeing the beauty of the avalanche lily and other early blooming species, a number of later varieties are doing their part to supply the grassy slopes with rich tints. Among these the attractive blue gentian draws its full share of admiring exclamations.
The deep tints of this modest Gentiana Galyvosa are especially striking. Its clumps of stems, each with a single funnel-shaped flower and opposite sessile ovate leaves are found in abundance, usually near a little stream or other moist spot. Dr. Tolmie, the first botanist to visit the mountain collected specimens of the plant near Puyallup Glacier in 1837 and it was named from these.
This gentian grows as far up as timberline, and even after the snows of October have mantled the slopes with a twelve inch blanket the attractive blue flowers will still be seen protruding through the glittering surface in jealous protest against this invasion of their right to live and thrive.
Visitors in Paradise Valley often hear of an evening a distant booming call repeated at intervals of a minute or so which is difficult to locate. It is the hoot of the sooty grouse, one of the three members of the family found in the Park.
Both the Oregon Ruffled Grouse of the woods below and the white-tailed Ptarmigan of timberline are occasionally found in the high Alpine meadows but the sooty grouse with his characteristic hoot is the typical grouse of the meadows. At present the mothers may be found with covies of half grown young which they bring right down to the door of the camp in search of food.
On the last Nature Guide trip another grouse with several young the size of quails were observed for several minutes at close range while they took a dust bath in the trail.
The Male Grouse does the hooting usually from the top of a tall tree. He may be found concealed in the branches at the tip of the tree and watched through glasses as he sits with spread tail and hanging wings, filling his yellow pouches till his neck looks as big as his body, when with primping notion of the head he gives his hollow muffled hoot.
Like the Ptarmigan the Sooty Grouse is a bird of distinction and peculiar interest wherever met. In the valley he is particularly tame and fearless often disputing the trail with hikers.
|<<< Previous||> Cover <||Next >>>|