Submitted by Margaret Graham. Photos by Adele Stapleton
More than 20 people showed up for our field trip to Greenstone Mountain on Sunday, July 8. This trip has been taken during the Sunday closest to July 1 for about 25 years and it is a favourite of club members. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect.
Our first stop was at Roberts Lake where we saw a few birds – ruddy ducks, green winged teal, coots, marsh wrens, cedar waxwings, and tree swallows. At the far end of the lake we were captivated by a marmot which had managed to climb into a dead tree that was surrounded by water. It had obviously swum out there as its fur was wet but we couldn’t figure out why it was there. Perhaps it was scared by a coyote or some other predator but it was gone when we came down the mountain later in the day.
As we drove up the winding road, we were treated to a variety of colorful flowers begging to have their pictures taken. We finally stopped just before the 19 km mark where we were able to identify an assortment of different flowers with the help of the guide prepared by Rick Howie several years ago – common red paint brush, yellow monkey-flower, sticky geranium, northern bedstraw, upland larkspur, red columbine, small-flowered penstemon, stonecrop, Jacob’s ladder, to name a few. As it was getting close to lunch, we headed for the top of the mountain, which at nearly 6,000 feet (1829 m) above sea level afforded us a panoramic view of the surrounding countryside. We ate our lunches, perched atop the rocks and surrounded by more flowers – round-leaved alumroot, old man’s whiskers, and thread-leaved sandwort.
Almost everyone made the trek after lunch to the old forestry lookout tower where we had a 360° view of the forests, lakes, and distant mountains. Some people signed the guest book before heading back down to the parking lot. Many people stopped on the way back down the mountain to take pictures of some of the spectacular displays of flowers we had passed on the way up. For anyone interested in taking the trip on their own, the Greenstone Mountain Road is about 10 km west of Kamloops on Highway 1. Turn left off the highway and follow the road for 21 km to the top of the mountain. It is easily accessible by ordinary passenger cars.