|Flat bug, genus Aradus.|
|Crackling forest grasshopper, Trimerotropis verruculata.|
|Zephyr anglewing, Polygonia gracilis ssp. zephyrus.|
|Map lichen, Rhizocarpon geographicum, in yellow.|
Jeff remarked on hearing Circotettix up on the cliff side, and as I fell behind I caught sight of the grasshopper in question, gliding high in the sky on dusky onyx wings. After seeing so many wing colour in grasshoppers there was something strangely attractive about the prospect of finding a species that has not clear, white, yellow, blue, orange, red or green wings, but purely dark. Little did I know that, of all the places I could be in the world right now, I was in the specific region where such a species, the aptly-named dancing grasshopper, occurred. Jeff came back, after managing to catch one with the net. The specimen was too valuable to show off and risk it escaping, so I had to manage with some brief views in the hand instead. Well worth it, though! With that we descended down to the shores of Lower Lamarck Lake itself, truly a marvel to behold. Brook trout were reasonably abundant along the shallow waters, but sadly no sign of the enigmatic golden trout. I wonder how the brook trout managed to establish in these waters. Did someone really climb up all this way, just to introduce them here?
|Dancing grasshopper, Circotettix maculatus.|
|Brook trout in Lower Lamarck Lake.|
|View over Lower Lamarck Lake.|
In a nearby trickling creek I spotted a Sierran treefrog, and, after trying not to slip on the makeshift pebble "raft" over the river, quickly entered interesting territory. This new habitat, with deep canyons and high rocky mountains and cliffs all around, with twisted and gnawed branches of whitebark pine scattered around, was the real epitome of a hinterland wilderness. From a place where some plants were familiar to me, I had now entered a world where everything was new and incredible. Purple mountainheath, stem raillardella, whitestem goldenbush, Arctic pearlwort, alpine sorrel, abrupt-beaked sedge, showy sedge, cushion buckwheat, pink alumroot, Watson's spikemoss, arrow-leaved groundsel, brown tile lichen, ranger's buttons, western Labrador tea, alpine gentian, small-leaf creambush, swamp laurel, and tundra aster were just a portion of what could have been possible in this staggeringly incredible habitat. A special mention to the American parsley fern. This unusual fern grows two different leaf types, such that I was sure there were two different fern species involved!
|The pine-dominated side of this habitat. Behind me the same habitat occurs, but minus the pines.|
|Watson's spikemoss, Selaginella bigelovii.|
|American parsley fern, Cryptogramma acrostichoides, with Arctic pearlwort lower right.|
|Alpine chipmunk, Tamias alpinus.|
|High-country ladybeetle, Coccinella alta.|
|Willow rust, Melampsora epitea.|
|These rosette galls, created by an undescribed Walshomyia midge, were not uncommon on juniper here.|
|A large katydid, Aglaothroax ovata ssp. armiger.|
The dry, cold weather, not being very fruitful elsewhere, was enough to consider heading home early. I waved farewell to a roadside darkling beetle, Eleodes hispilabris, before thanking Jeff sincerely for a chance to share this expedition, and heading back home.
|Eleodes hispilabris, the 57th life tick for the day, and the 81st life tick over the entire expedition!|