Bear Mountain 16-18 August 2017

Was it Bald Mountain or Bear Mountain?

Three years ago, I wrote in my journal on iNaturalist about a trip up Bald Mountain.1 I was inspired to go up Bald Mountain by an observation of Lewisia leeana made by Hall and Chandler in 1900.2 I found no L. leeana up there and the environment did not look suitable for it. The summit of Bald Mountain (7,826) is almost 1,000 feet lower than than the lowest known elevation for L. leeana anywhere else in Fresno County (8,713'GPS, 8,720'map).3 It is more than eight miles west of Dinkey Lakes, where the nearest other observations of L. leeana have been made. In her comment to that journal post, Belinda Lo, aka belinda on iNaturalist, noticed that Hall and Chandler recorded an elevation of 9,000 feet for their observation and she wondered if it was possible they could have recorded the wrong name. She pointed out that the nearest peak with close to that elevation was Bear Peak [actually Bear Mountain]. I thought, Bear is similar to Bare, could be possible.

In 2016, I headed into new territory. I had never used the Cliff Lake Trailhead and I was going to try to get to Bear Mountain from there. I went to Nelson Lakes and crossed the divide to their west, and stayed at Chinquapin Lakes. Despite decent snow fall the previous winter and spring, the Chinquapin Lake area was extremely dry. There was no hint of L. leeana in the area and nothing else was blooming. I was so discouraged, I turned around and came home the next day without even attempting to continue to Bear Mountain.

On 16 August 2017, I decide to try for Bear Mountain again. The way was familiar to Chinquapin Lakes but became more difficult to follow after that. Finally, I made it to Sportsman Lake where I set up camp. There was plenty of light left after finishing dinner, so I went up the slope north of camp where there were plenty of plants in view. I made several observations on the way to the top of the ridge and crossed over to the other side. To my delight, I spotted L. leeana and recorded three observations of it.5

The next day, I headed for Bear Mountain. I stayed near the top of the ridge west of Sportsman Lake and managed to make several more observations on the ridge's north flank before reaching the Swamp Lake four wheel drive trail. I continued westward and saw many more L. leeana plants until I stopping halfway up Bear Mountain.6 Without seeing Hall and Chandler's field notes, I'm convinced that this is where they found L. leeana, not Bald Mountain.

Since then lowered to 8,640 feet, see:

Posted on Οκτώβριος 28, 2017 0302 ΠΜ by sekihiker sekihiker


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