Friday, June 5, 2020

Road trip to 3-Creeks Natural Area

Okay, it's probably a stretch to call a 13 mile drive a road trip, but with our current "stay at home" situation it certainly felt like an adventure.

The reason for the outing was so Andrew could do a little fishing. I went along to soak up a different scene than the one I'm living in, day in and day out. There was a lot of fabulous moss...

And plants I was unfamiliar with, I've learned this one is Tellima grandiflora, aka called fringe cup.

From the 3-Creeks website: "The '3-Creeks' is approximately 89 acres of streams, wetlands and upland habitat consisting of Mt. Scott Creek, Phillips Creek and Deer (Dean) Creek. The streams provide habitat to a resident Cutthroat Trout population, and a very small number of still returning Coho Salmon and Steelhead. On the banks live otter, mink, deer, coyote, long tailed weasel, beaver and a host of bird species. The site is wedged in between industrial and commercial properties, a set of active railroad tracks, roads, college campuses and private homes. In the late 90's the land and water were found to have significant pollution. The site is also home to a flood control facility which stores water during the heaviest rains each year to protect businesses, railroad tracks and homes downstream."

The yellow flowers were sweet...

...but the seed heads were better...

I believe this is some sort of vetch.. maybe Vicia americana.

The ivy here was very well behaved, no trees being taken over. I wonder if they've had ivy pulls?

One of the creeks, we didn't see a single fish... I did come away with a couple mosquito bites.

Did I mention the moss watching opportunities really were spectacular?

Not all color came from flowers.

There were huge majestic oaks, and several small seedlings. Also from their website: "The 3-Creeks is prone to floods yearly as the heavy rains overload the stream system, jumping the banks and flowing through the large grassland/wetland complex. This provides an essential 'sponge' effect, soaking the water and delaying or avoiding flooding downstream. Protecting these wetlands is a long upland forested section dominated by the Oregon White Oak, also known as Garry Oak (Quercus Garryana). These trees have been estimated to be anywhere between 200-500 years old; they are truly the giants of the tree community! Some of the biggest oaks are right behind the N. Clackamas Aquatic Park. This is rare habitat and has specific bird and animal species that depend on it for survival. This rare oak forest is under threat of the chainsaw and asphalt from Clackamas County."

Any teasel I spotted seemed to be growing in really small clumps or swaths like this.

I went closer to look at the fallen tree held by its neighbors...

... and was rewarded with these galls. They looked a lot like small green tomatoes.

Veratrum living a rough life.

Was the bark stripped to be used?

Or simply to provide a surface for notes and drawings?

There had been drinking involved.

Whomever did the drawing and drinking also left behind an interesting structure.

I thought the orange peel was a bizarre flower, until I got closer.

Smilacina racemosa, I believe.

These big leaves...

Belong to this white umbel. I believe its Heracleum maximum, aka Cow Parsnip.

Another section of creek...

This moss!

I've got a patch of this kind of moss in our back garden. I wish I could make a rug of it.

There were a few wild apple trees.

Now we're heading back to the car. I almost didn't go with Andrew, but I'm glad I did. It was a beautiful area to explore.

One of the towering oaks...

From underneath...

And that's where I spotted this little cutie. I turned to Tiffany at Quick and Dirty Gardens for ID, she knew it was a Coprinopsis and said as they age the caps turn upwards, hence the black patterning. If you enjoy seeing crazy cool fungus you should definitely follow her on Instagram, she finds the coolest things!

Weather Diary, June 4: Hi 73, Low 54/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2020 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. So its a "fringe cup"... I didn't know. A bunch came up in my garden years ago, reminded me of Heuchera and got to stay. I love picture 13 that shows the oak forrest, the grasses bellow and the 'in-between'. There is nothing like a walk in nature to elevate your spirit and put you in a good place, too bad the fish didn't bite.

    1. It was a lovely afternoon and a great area to explore, fish or no fish.

  2. An island jewel in a sea of man-made ugliness. Are there measures being taken to clean the streams of pollutants?

    1. I'm sure there are, a quick scan of the website didn't turn up anything but I bet it's in there somewhere.

  3. Glad you got out to explore the local flora. 'Forest bathing' is all the rage, right? Good for the soul!

  4. It's a beautiful natural space to have so relatively close. I'm sorry to see the graffiti and other damage but we get some of that even in our botanic gardens. I regularly do "ivy pulls" in my own garden (I didn't know this was a thing) - it threatens to cover the trunk of my beleaguered Albizia.

    1. There are areas in our Forest Park where they ivy is so thick it's all you can see. Poor trees.

  5. I am surprised that Tellima is a new one to you. I have grown them over the years and I find they do well in my Scottish climate.

    I feel so sorry for that Veratrum :eek:!

    It needs to be put out of its misery...

    1. I've probably seen it (the Tellima) before but just not really seen it, if you know what I mean.

  6. The yellow number with the seed heads looks a lot like our 'wood avens' Geum urbanum. The seeds often come in attached to the cat.


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