Thursday, August 13, 2009

a big rock

I've been meaning to complete two more posts from my Steens trip, but the weather has been so wonderful that I've been spending much time outdoors bicycling and gardening. (OK, and playing the Vampire computer game I found on Facebook.) But, I do intend to finish my story about the Steens Mountains campout. This post is all about a big rock I spotted near our campsite. See it, up there on the ridge? It was a big boulder, out of place in a location where there were no big boulders. I wondered if it might have been placed there by glaciers (and there were many signs of glaciation), or did erosion just leave this massive rock?

On the way to the rock, there were many wildflowers! Here is a mix of Lupine and Paintbrush.

And, nearby, some Stonecrop growing out of the sparse, rocky soil.

The boulder was perched with only one point touching the earth ... two other smaller rocks provided support for it. How amazing is that?

The color and variety of lichens suggested it had resided there undisturbed for a very long time.

Birds like this rock wren (which was actually photographed elsewhere ... but there were rock wrens and other birds on this boulder as I approached) used the boulder as a vantage point. You can see the signs of their visitation in the image below the wren.

The Sulphur Buckwheat grows nearby.

And, watching over it all, from the highest point, a Prairie Falcon (and Violet-green Swallow in the background). The swallows had plenty to eat as the mosquitoes and other insects were abundant.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That boulder is awesome. I love the different lichens on it, they're so pretty and I just want to reach out and feel the different textures....