Heyburn State Park - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

May 22, 2020

Heyburn State Park

Yesterday was chilly and windy, and today is even colder.  Also wetter, with rain due to arrive around one this afternoon.  Biking doesn’t sound appealing, so we decide to take a hike.  We go out separately, exploring the state park that surrounds us at our own pace.  We both hike the short CCC Nature Trail, and the larger Indian Cliffs Trail that encircles it.  I hike something like 6 or 7 miles, but Rocky of course covers considerably more ground: 11.5 miles, and over 2,000’ of climbing.  She even walks most of the Indian Cliffs Trail twice, so she can enjoy the views from the top in both directions.

I won’t say anything else about the hike itself, other than through the photos.  I thought I’d say a bit about the park itself though, as well as the south end of the lake that we’ve been living by for the last two weeks.  It has a surprisingly interesting history.

The Coeur d’Alene Tribe are the native people of this region, having lived here for thousands of years before the arrival of fur traders, prospectors and settlers who overran their homeland.  Their name was given by the French fur traders: Coeur d’Alene in French means “Heart of the Awl”, referring to the sharpness of the trading skills exhibited by tribal members in their dealings with visitors. In their ancient tribal language, members call themselves, “Schitsu’umsh,” meaning “The Discovered People” or “Those Who Are Found Here.”

In 1873, President Grant established by decree the Coeur d’Alene Reservation, granting the tribe a greatly reduced homeland of roughly 600,000 acres.  Over the succeeding decades the boundaries were significantly reduced further through a series of acquisitions, reducing it to 345,000 acres.  One of the reductions was to establish Heyburn State Park.  The park was established in 1908 by President Taft and named for Weldon Heyburn, U.S. Senator from Idaho. Heyburn’s original aspiration was for the area to be established as a national park, a designation that was passed in the senate but failed in the house.  Interestingly, it is the oldest state park in the Pacific Northwest.

The history of this end of the lake is also interesting.  When we arrived, I puzzled at first over why the adjacent water is called Chatcolet Lake, since it’s just part of Coeur d’Alene Lake.  This is because it originally was a separate lake, one of a cluster around the mouth of the Saint Joe River that merged when the level of Coeur d’Alene Lake rose after its outlet was dammed At Post Falls.  

Also, I puzzled about the name Chatcolet at first, thinking it must be French.  Apparently not though.  It’s believed to come from the ancestral language of the Coeur d’Alenes: chatq’ele was their word for lake.

Enough background.  Let’s look at the park.

On researching the park, I came across this old photo of the Chatcolet Bridge. It confirms my theory that the pivot span originally sat at lake level.
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Any hummingbird experts out there? This guy practically lives on this snag outside our window, dashing off from time to time to raid the hummingbird feeder. I’m perplexed by him though, because he doesn’t quite look like any of the native hummingbirds here. He most looks like an Anna’s to me, but they’re only accidental in Idaho. Maybe a rufous, with an odd trick of the light?
Heart 4 Comment 1
Andrea BrownYes, he's a Rufous. Quite common up in those parts. He may be an adolescent, still kind of a fluffball. The chin feather refraction is, as you say, probably an odd trick of the light.
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2 months ago
The start of the CCC Nature Trail, built by the CCC in 1935, nearly a century ago. It’s interesting to think on this legacy from the last Great Depression, and wonder what ours will leave behind.
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Bruce LellmanI love trails like this.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanSo do I. It was really special to see it now, when it was deserted. I didn’t see another person on it for two hours. I’m sure it would normally get more traffic.
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2 months ago
Heyland Park has some very impressive old conifers soaring skyward. Ponderosa, Western White Pine, Western Red Cedar, Grand Fir, Western Hemlock are all common.
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So what’s this? I assume both instances are the same species, in different states of growth.
Heart 4 Comment 1
Andrea BrownCorallorhiza striata, or striped coralroot. There is a spotted one too, and a few other native orchids around there so keep your eyes peeled.
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2 months ago
Some sort of mold?
Heart 3 Comment 4
Andrea BrownThis I learned today, about velvet galls: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/velvet_galls_caused_by_tiny_eriophyid_mites
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownI’ve never heard of these. I’m glad I took a shot at it. If I go back I’ll take my electron microscope and check out the mites.
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2 months ago
Ron SuchanekThis is off topic a bit, but whenever I hear or read "some sort of...", it brings to mind this short clip:
https://youtu.be/1S2wjSvX2D8
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Ron SuchanekHow great! I’ve never seen this. I like everything about it, but especially the name Mimi de Jour.
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2 months ago
There aren’t many mushrooms out, and the few I see are all quite small. Maybe they’re just breaking out after the recent rains. On the right is a small fragment of ponderosa bark.
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Soaring snags. For all of the standing, heavily drilled deadwood here, I’m surprised to not hear any woodpeckers here today.
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This one looks tasty, and like it’s been sprinkled with nutmeg or cinnamon. I should have tested it out myself.
Heart 3 Comment 2
Andrea BrownOHSU is not taking liver transplant patients at this time. Please wait a few months.
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2 months ago
Ron SuchanekWhat's the worst that can happen, right?
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2 months ago
On the CCC trail, at the base of the cliffs.
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The rocks at the base of the cliff are blanketed with this thick, wooly moss or lichen. I realize that I’m not really that clear on the difference between them.
Heart 3 Comment 4
Andrea BrownIt's one of the reindeer lichens, which cladina I don't know. Moss is chlorophyllic, lichen is... complicated.
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2 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltAmazing diversity of lichens where it is cool and damp!

https://wildflowersearch.org/search?oldstate=gms%3A4%3Bgmc%3A46.387%2C-117.763%3Blocation%3A366+McGee+Rd%2C+Pomeroy%2C+WA+99347%2C+USA%3Belev%3A2780%3B%3Bcat%3AL&buttonName=none&hab=&Elev=&PlantName=
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2 months ago
Ron SuchanekI lichen that shot.
(sorry, the post needed a pun.)
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2 months ago
Rachael AndersonTo Ron SuchanekIts a relief to have a loessless pun. Thanks!
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2 months ago
On the Indian Cliffs Trail, climbing up above the cliffs. Toward the top the woods open up, and the meadows are dotted with flowers.
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Image not found :(
And the views open up as well. This is a panorama Rachael brought back from her walk, showing the broad view across the south end of Coeur d’Alene Lake.
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Here’s a closer look. The snowy peaks are the two Baldys: Reed and Mount St. Joe. The water is the more interesting though, as you can see the three lakes here that were merged into Coeur d’Alene Lake when it’s waters rose after the damming of its outlet a century ago. The closest is Chatolet Lake, at the far left is round Lake, and on the distant right is Benewah Lake. Running through the middle is the mouth of the Saint Joe River. With its mouth at an elevation of 2,219’, it is allegedly the highest navigable river in the world.
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So what’s this (the plant, not the borer grazing on it)? Grows almost like a grass, to a height of perhaps two feet.
Heart 3 Comment 2
Andrea BrownZigadenus elegans, or Mountain Death Camas. No nibbling allowed.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownOh, yes. Of course. I knew I’d seen this before. I was cautioned about it just last year.
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2 months ago
Got the blues.
Heart 4 Comment 2
Bill ShaneyfeltLower brilliant blue flowers might be larkspur.

http://biology.burke.washington.edu/herbarium/imagecollection/taxon.php?Taxon=Delphinium%20nuttallianum

Upper pale one might be Douglas’ Brodiaea.

http://wildflowersbydonna.com/?page_id=3113
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltYup. I’ve seen both of these earlier on this tour, and several places on this hike. I liked seeing the two together.
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2 months ago
Looking down at the mouth of Plummer Creek, flowing through Plummer Marsh.
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Pelicans swirling above Plummer Marsh.
Heart 3 Comment 2
Bruce LellmanI would have thought this was a logging truck photo.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanPerceptive! I’ll have to start an album of these. We’ve been seeing entirely too many white pelicans as it is.
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2 months ago
On the Indian Cliffs Trail.
Heart 2 Comment 0
I’d like to have a time lapse video of this as it breaks loose. I wonder if its cap will suddenly snap free of the earth and level out, flipping dirt into the air.
Heart 2 Comment 1
Bruce LellmanI would guess they emerge more streamlined, torpedo-like, and then slowly open once free of the ground. I think that's why there is more dirt right at the top. You know all of this already.
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2 months ago
This youngster and I, along with its mother, startled each other from a distance of about 50 feet. They crashed off immediately, but then it stopped to look back at me from a safe distance.
Heart 2 Comment 3
Ron SuchanekMmmmm, deer veal!
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2 months ago
Bruce LellmanTo Ron SuchanekDelicious!
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2 months ago
Ron SuchanekTo Bruce LellmanEspecially shredded and canned!
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2 months ago
Another tiny cluster. For scale, I think the cone is from a western hemlock, and about an inch long.
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Another mystery. Heavy stalk, grows to nearly 3 feet.
Heart 3 Comment 5
Andrea BrownWhat the...? Whatever that is, it's amazing.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Andrea BrownI’m surprised - I was sure you’d know this one. I have no idea either. Still, a pretty good haul today - coral root, reindeer lichen, velvet gall, death camas, slime mold! I should step off the bike more often.
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2 months ago
Bill ShaneyfeltAfter considerable internet searching, I think it might be Umpqua green-gentian.

http://biology.burke.washington.edu/herbarium/imagecollection/taxon.php?Taxon=Frasera%20fastigiata
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltGreat job! Quite a spectacular plant. I forwarded this on to Andrea in case she misses it.
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2 months ago
Bruce LellmanAnd here I was all excited that you might have discovered a new plant species, Scott! Too bad. You could have named it Spectabilis Scottii.
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2 months ago
Brownie? Chocolate mousse? Must be time to head back for lunch.
Heart 3 Comment 6
Andrea BrownA slime mold of some kind, I'm guessing.
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2 months ago
Jen GrumbySlime mold! Not sure I've ever seen one of these.

What a fascinatingly biodiverse outing!
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyI was really surprised by it myself when I looked back. For awhile I didn’t see much of interest, other than the great trees soaring skyward. Things just kept cropping up though.
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2 months ago
Ron SuchanekI learned about slime molds in microbiology a long time ago, but never have seen one that I can remember.
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2 months ago
Bruce LellmanI thought it was bear vomit at first. It reminds me of the movie I loved when I was a kid called The Blob. This could be an infant Blob and I would stay away from any in the future.
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2 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanWell, Bear vomit is still a possibility. We’re just basing all this on Andrea’s best guess from the photo. I really should have picked it up and fondled it a bit to get more information.
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2 months ago
Rate this entry's writing Heart 8
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Bruce LellmanGreat photos of strange things. Quite educational. Thank you.
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2 months ago