There are many unique features of the Donner Summit area, but probably one of the most unique is the small plant that only grows here and a few other places in the Sierras, the Kellogg’s Lewisia. This hearty plant grows in the rocky glacial soil of the Palisade Creek area of the summit, down along Kidd Lakes Rd on the way out to Kidd Lakes. Luckily there is a marker that has been placed on the south side of the road that marks the area where these rare gems grow. If you keep and eye out right after you drive over Palisade Creek, you should be able to find the marker (also see map below).
These elusive plants only appear above ground for about a month and a half at the beginning of ever summer. The multi-lobed succulent leaves thrust up through the gritty soil and each plant usually has 2-3 beautiful pinkish white flowers. The flowering process only lasts about 2 weeks and for this year that period is going on right now. So if you haven’t seen these little beauties before, get out there and take a look, and while you’re out there take a walk over to the other side of the road to see the Emigrant Trail marker.
Camas Lilies at Tiny Tim meadow in June, 2013
It has become a yearly tradition for this site to let everyone know when the Camas Lilies are flowering. Camas Lilies have beautiful blue flowers and are truly a treat to see when they are flowering. This year everything is coming very early due to the extremely low snowfall we’ve had. We walked up to Bill and Flora’s lookout point today and sure enough we saw the first Camas Liliy flowers just popping up in Tiny Tim meadow. There are plenty of plants in the meadow so I would suspect that we will probably be seeing the best display over the next 3-4 weeks. I’ve included a map for all of you that don’t know where Tiny Tim meadow is.
Our annual first trip down to Palisade Falls came very early this year. This is the earliest we have ever been able to get down Kidd Lakes Rd which is usually choked with snow at this time. The really scary thing is this should be the maximum flow over the falls, but the flow right now looks more like the end of the melt. It looks like the Falls will probably be dry by the middle of May at the latest this year. If you want to get down and see them, you better hurry. If you don’t make it, here is what you will miss.