Contributed by Alan Tracey & Don Martyn
Location: BC, Cascade Range
Round trip: 12km
Start elevation: 1,524m
Final Elevation: 2,252m
Maps: (Department of Energy Mines and Resources, Canada, topographical maps (1:50,000): 92 H/1 Ashnola River; 92 H/2 Manning Park. Backroad Mapbook, Kamloops/Okanagan.
From Highway 3, take a Forestry Service Road along the Pasayten River.
PARTIAL PLANT LIST
Ledum glandulosum var. glandulosum
Lupinus lepidus var.lobbii
This hike is an atypical one in the sense that it focuses predominantly on the high altitude grasslands of the eastern side of the Cascades in southern British Columbia. This region has reduced snow loads in the winter and much less rainfall than the western slopes of this mountain range. This hike starts from what was a log landing area beside a branch of Peeve Creek which is accessed from a Forestry Service Road that follows along the Pasayten River for about 30 km from Highway 3. The last few kilometers require a vehicle with good clearance but not necessarily 4-wheel drive. The area is well suited for camping.
The trail follows a skid road that departs from the opposite side of the camping area from the road leading in and the target is the Grassy Top at 2,352 m overlooking Border Lake. As an alternative to the skid road mentioned above, the creek can be crossed at the camp area and this second skid road followed. This traverses a somewhat boggy area but gives access to wetland plants that might not be seen otherwise.
In wet areas throughout this region will be found the ledums (now rhododendron), Ledum glandulosum var. glandulosum and L. groenlandicum. Near the camping area, quite spectacular displays of white flowers are produced during the flowering season. Rhododendron albiflorum is also found here but in somewhat better drained areas. The plants found in this area are particularly floriferous. Also, in the wetter areas will be found the rather rare, white-flowered shooting star, Dodecatheon dentatum.
It is not found here in abundance. Rather nice displays of Gentianella amarella are found here and there growing on small hillocks throughout the wet areas. A bit higher up, the lupines dominate the flora with spectacular drifts that perfume the air. Above treeline, the dwarf willows and arenarias, the penstemon, Penstemon davidsonii and the outstanding miniature lupine, Lupinus lepidus var.lobbii are found in abundance in the appropriate locations. Both Phyllodoce glanduliflora and P. empetriformis are common and the hybrid, X P. intermedia, will be found here and there, particularly near the peak. The flower of the cross typically is intermediate in structure between the two forms and light red in colour. Drabas, eriogonums, and numerous other plants are found throughout the higher regions.