Monday, July 2, 2012
Mountain Lady's Slippers in Derby Canyon
After spending a day in the Columbia River Gorge and climbing Dog Mountain on June 12th, we spent the following day further north in the Leavenworth area. The weather was much better and we checked several sites for native orchids. Near Plain we found the Brownie Lady's Slippers (Cypripedium fasciculatum) nearly finished and did not even bother to take photos. We also found a lot of Spotted Coralroots blooming there, but I had seen enough of them and did not take pictures, though my wife got some very good shots. We found a few Fairy Slippers (Calypso bulbosa) still blooming at Chiwaukum Creek, but the high point of the day was finding (refinding) some Mountain Lady's Slippers (Cypripedium montanum) in Derby Canyon. We spent quite a bit of time there, driving further up the canyon than we had ever driven before and take a lot of pictures of the Mountain Roses (Lewisia tweedyi) which were at the peak of their glorious blooms.
The Mountain Lady's Slippers we found in the same place as last year but there were fewer of them, perhaps due to the weather or to other reasons unknown. In spite of the fact that their pouches are bone white they are very difficult to spot, especially on a sunny day, since their pouches at a casual glance simply look like patches of sunlight. The same sunny weather, and we haven't had much of it this year, made photography very difficult also, since the rest of the flower is a very dark brown color. It seems that either the white pouches are overexposed or the rest of the flower underexposed, and we had to contend with a breeze as well, but with some patience we managed. It is also very difficult to photograph the whole plant since they tend to be rather tall and spindly, especially in darker areas. These are not the showiest of the Lady's Slippers but my favorite for their very elegant beauty, and so I ended up with a lot of photos.