Friday, March 29, 2013

3/29/13 Elk Viewing Very Good, Wildflowers Rebound & Resume the 2013 Bloom

Rue Anemone, Lost Valley, 2012
Rue Anemones Are Blooming
Elk viewing is very good now. This morning, in spite of morning thunderstorms, elk were out grazing. Elk love rain, so viewing should be good all weekend.

April 1 is the rough date of the annual antler drop.  I did not see any bulls without antlers, but the "drop" will happen any time now. It is illegal to collect sheds on the NPS park lands.

The wildflowers have rebounded from a second bout of winter weather. Last week I made no entry because I could not get off the mountain -- we had nearly an inch of ice on the ground. The following days were bitter cold, perhaps colder than any time in the winter with windchills as low as 8 degrees.

Twice this year wildflowers blossomed in warm weather, and were hammered by cold weather. So far as I can tell, this double reset has had little effect. The one species that is at the end of its bloom cycle is the white trout lily.  There are still small pockets of them here and there, and I am sure other wildflower venues might be at peak for this species.

Today a few species were added to the first bloom dates. Rue anemone, blood root and pale corydalis are now blooming. This is early for blood root and there are few plants. I expect a longer than usual bloom for this species because of the oddball weather patterns.  One the way now are trillium sessile. Lots baby wildflowers are evident.  The cut leaf toothworts appear to be in peak bloom.

If foliage is any indicator, this will be the best year for wildflowers in recent memory. I know the species locations of many varieties, and the footprint for them has expanded greatly. I am sure this is attributable to the rain patterns.

Friday, March 15, 2013

3/15/13 Great Elk Viewing, Wildflowers Started

White Trout Lilies
Elk viewing is very good. There were 4 herds in Boxley Valley today and two were close to the road. Big bulls tend to hang back except in early morning.  The warm weather this weekend should reduce viewing hours a bit.

The antler drop for big bulls is just about 2 weeks off now. Big bull fans have until around April 1 to see the big racks and then will have to wait until the next cycle.

The biggest news in Boxley Valley is the wildflower bloom. The wildflower bloom will heavy this year because of the moisture. Today it was clear that the early bloom pattern would continue. This week Ozark wake robins, cut leaf toothwort, and sharp lobed hepaticas joined the white trout lilies in the first wave of the spring wildflower season.  Trillium sessile are budded and will bloom in the next few days. All of this is very early. The good news is that visitors this weekend can enjoy elk and early wildflowers in beautiful spring weather.

Floating season has started. It is a great time to be at the Buffalo National River.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

3/2/13 Elk Viewing Great, Wildflowers Waiting for Warm Weather

Elk viewing is very good with 4 herds in Boxley Valley. Finally tomorrow the cold breaks. It should be an excellent day to visit, watch a few elk and take a hike. Finally out of the winter jail. 

Elk are all over the valley from Ponca to down by Smith Creek at the south end. 

Friday, March 1, 2013 Petition to Save the Buffalo National River

Buffalo National River is now threatened by the creation of an industrial hog farm in the middle river area. 

One spill could destroy the river for tourism and kill all the fish all the way to the White River. The proposed 5,000 hog capacity farm is the equivalent of adding 20,000 people to the watershed because each hog produces 4 times as much waste as a human. The worst part is that the sewage treatment is minimal.

The hog waste is to be stored in open lagoons designed to withstand a 25 year rain storm, but these storms are much more frequent now due to climate change. This is a very serious threat. 

The future of the buffalo national river is at stake.  Sign this petition and be a part of the Fight for the Buffalo V2.