Friday, May 30, 2014

The Trail of Flowers and Folsom Farm

We were so excited to get the kayaks out and explore Hog Lake and that we stayed on the lake most of the first day.


Next we decided to hike the trail to the Hog Lake Waterfall.  The wind was back by mid morning so we decided it was a perfect day for a hike along the bluff edge overlooking the lake.

The Hog Lake waterfall is best seen during the spring run off when the most water is cascading over the terrace of basalt rocks.   We saw the falls from the end of the lake in the kayak but were curious if we could get a better view from the bluff.

The Fish Trap area is of mixed vegetation with some trees pine and aspen but is fairly arid so I wasn't expecting to see a lot of flowers.    Since we were here later in the Spring we were treated to a rainbow of spring flowers.  There is a trail from the south end of the lake starting at the kayak launch and following along the bluff.  It has some ups and downs but is a fairly easy trail.

But oh my the flowers were wonderful.


Some of the native plants were used by local Native American tribes of the area and the bulbs are still dug today. Camas and bitter root are two of plants dug and used in special dinners and medicines.

The prize for the most beautiful and unexpected flower of the day is the bitterroot.

It grows in the most arid soil, often in places that fire has cleared out other flowers.  The buds that you see surrounding the flowers push up through the crusty earth and burst into bloom without producing much in leaves or vegetation amid plenty of volcanic rock.  

A fire in 1998 burned though the area leaving downed trees that are providing natural habitat for the birds and insect and the area is once again coming alive.

Even though the area has heavy basalt formations, there is also soil layers deposited during the thousands of years of floods, over the layers of broken rock forming a base for the flowers to grow.

So there definitely was more flowers to be seen.


The wind was blowing off the lake making flower close ups challenging.

Along the trail on top of the bluff we found a camp site of folks who had hiked into make a camp.  Pretty rocky ground to sleep on but the view was beautiful.


And still more flowers.
Each flower is like discovering an unexpected gift on a scavenger hunt in a dry climate.

Later in the summer, fewer flowers will be found as the summer becomes much hotter and dry weather will prevail.  So I treasure each flower now.

 A bit more view of the Falls.

Back to camp and lunch before another hike at Folsom Farm. 
In the woods behind our campsite is a trail that follows the coulee to an old homestead known as the Folsom Farm. (it is also accessible by road during summer months and has picnic areas.)

It was originally homesteaded in 1902 by Frank and Alice Folsom was a Greek Revial farmhouse similar to this nearby farmhouse..

The west is full of abandoned homestead but most have NO TRESPASSING signs posted.  This homestead on BLM land welcomes visitors and have a parking lot and picnic tables to enjoy the sight.
  The house was burned in the Fire in 1998 but the other buildings were spared.

The barn was built later in the 1940's and is standing still. 

The view from the barns are of another pond below in the coulee that you hike past from our camp site.  The bird viewing platform  near the pond allows  a great place to blend in and observe the birds in their natural habitat.

Early farmers and ranchers dug trenches to drain the ponds to farm the rich soil.  Restoration efforts have returned the farmland to its natural state.

The wetland is reborn!

 The viewing platform hid other treasures as well.

 The barn sits high on the hill overlooking the pond.


Relics long ago left behind remain on the property.  It is not difficult to see yourself living in this wonderful place.  It was not an easy life, but it was a good life in a beautiful place.


I was rewarded with one more wild flower.  When I was here at Hog Lake scouting a place to camp I found an unusual flower that was not quite open.  I found one that this trip that opened.
Check out the fuzzy hair like follicle.... 

It was a good trip....

~ Happy Trails~

1 comment:

  1. I love exploring old properties they is always some hidden treasure to find but of course leave it where you found it. the flowers are so pretty.