Drift Creek Wilderness

If you tried to check my blog last week, you probably saw an error message.  The site was down as I transferred luterra.com from Chris’s webhost to my own, replacing the now-defunct StoneConnection.net.

Last Sunday we set out to explore a wilderness area that isn’t too far away but that I had never been to.  Drift Creek Wilderness, small by wilderness standards, encloses a roadless, unlogged parcel of coastal rainforest.  It is split in two by Drift Creek – more of a river than a creek – which is impossible to cross except in late summer when it is low.  We hiked the southern (Harris Ranch) trail, and hope to return to the northern section sometime soon.

The trail was largely overgrown by salmonberry bushes, all in bloom and attracting the attention of hummingbirds.  The orange berries are not as delicious as some but are quite edible.  Wilson’s Warblers were the bird of the day, singing out over the bramble patches.  The forest is very old, but in this section the giant trees were few and far between – perhaps a testament to the winter storms and fires that keep the forest in succession.

We found four Torrent Salamanders along the creek, two of which were in the act of mating.  These critters are unique to fast-flowing streams in old-growth forests, and I had never seen them before.

All in all, a beautiful place to explore, and a spot to return to in salmonberry season…

I couldn't identify this plant.

Salmonberry, Rubus spectabilis

Chestnut-backed Chickadee

Skunk Cabbage, Lysichiton americanum

Torrent Salamander (Rhyacotriton sp.)

Drift Creek

Shoe butterflies (cerulean blue with their wings open)

Old-growth forest

We returned in time to pick up a package of bees from a local beekeeper.  We shook them into the hive that died out over winter.  With drawn comb and about 50 lbs of honey, they should get off to a good start!

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