In Norden, CA for a Few Days

I was in Norden, California, in Nevada County (sort of around where the Sugarbowl Ski Resort is) for a Tuleyome staff strategic planning meeting, but I also had some time to get out into the forest and get some photos.  The pine forest — at almost 7000 feet — is a very different kind of terrain than I’m used to (I’m a riparian habitat kind of person), so the nature sounds were unfamiliar as were a lot of the plants and trees I saw.  It gave my new “naturalist” brain a real work out.

I got to see a lot of little Dark-Eyed Juncos, a Steller’s Jay and a Hairy Woodpecker, and was able to catch glimpses of some Phainopeplas (both males and females), but the Phainopeplas didn’t sit still long enough for me to get any photos of them.  Soooo frustrating.  Because of the higher elevation, the wildflowers there were at their peak and I was able to get a lot of photos of those — including the new-to-me Pussy Paws which I just fell in love with.

Here are photos I took on the first day:

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As an aside, I learned that the colorful Wolf Lichen, which can be used to make dyes, is also toxic.  It contains vulpinic acid, a toxin that attacks the respiratory system.  It used to be used to kill wolves and foxes.  (The toxin would be delivered into the carcass of a dead prey animal, and when the wolves ate the prey, they were poisoned by it.)  So it’s beautiful but deadly stuff.

On the last day of the meetings, my coworkers and I also did some sightseeing of other creeks and lakes in the surrounding area, including a stop at the Cisco Grove Gould Park along the South Yuba River (which in this drought year was looking more like a creek). Got even more wildflower photos that day.  It was a very busy, productive, and interesting few days… but, as always, it was nice to get back home.

Here are some photos I took that day:

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