Wednesday, October 11, 2023


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I'll begin this Chapter 2 featuring my 2nd effort to climb to the VALLEY VIEW SPOT as depicted above, with details that follow, also including some documentation of the area on shorter hikes made every other day between the first two major hikes for me this season.

I came up the hill from the Grove Creek Trailhead you see in the distance right center. Then over into an area east of the Pleasant Grove water reservoir tank, an area of sagebrush, and lush grasses of several types coming up, as well as berry bushes of a number of  varieties  on the right as well as Wood's Rose.

  We see feeding on the green vegetation our first

....... a camoflauged  green
Later with hot dry weather, and vegetation through its growing season and dry, I photographed another PRAYING MANTIS adeptly camolauged again to blend in with the background.  This is one of the wonders of our natural world, and certainly an

As I passed near the berry bushes there was a rustling 
 movement going on....

......and with my very slow STALKING PACE I was able to get two good shots of 
one of the most common mammals of the foothills, a

Squirrels and other small mammals have to always be on 
the alert for predators in the area, such as the..... 
RED FOX'll see  if you look carefully in an area near my route 
as you see below.

Below we see a footprint of a fox, or a dog, recognizable by seeing the claw marks of the canine family.  I show this with a purpose, as along the very route I was taking, near the grassy area after a rainfall....

.... I noticed below a foot print of a different mammal.  The animal track or print is different.  It is wider than canine footprints, and importantly shows no claw marks.....meaning we are seeing a feline foot print.  Feline meaning of the cat family:  Cat, bobcat, cougar, etc. They retract their claws when walking.

The width of this print, about 2.5 inches, indicate it was likely a BOBCAT 
like the one inserted in the picture below. 
A cougar footprint would be 4 inches wide or more.  I haven't seen one of them....yet. 

BOBCATS weight between 25-35 pounds, and are not known to attack humans....unless cornered when they will defend themselves. They are highly adaptable and are curious, usually extremely cautious about humans, but sometimes their curiousity has them carefully watching humans who don't seem to be a danger to them.

 Usually they are only dangerous for dogs,  cats, chickens, and such.  They are carniverous, their food generally mice, rats, squirrels, rabbits, etc.  Mule deer are generally much too large for a bobcat to attack, except for young fawns in their early stages of life. 

On another occasion I was coming back through the same area and felt strange like something was watching me and it could have been a BOBCAT, although I never saw anything!
The truth is that  BOBCATS, we see one of above, sometimes are  curious and it could have been one but from a very concealed position much more distant, observing a human. This picture was obviously put together on Photoshop hoping it would be a good opener on FACEBOOK to announce Chapter 2 is done, and I thought I might as well share that  effort  with all of you, so here it is. 
But there is more on BOBCATS that, by the way are beautiful animals!

On another occasion I photographed in about the same location another footprint of a BOBCAT, and if you will look closely next to the edge of the photo directly above....another partial footprint much smaller but enough of it to identify it as a young we are likely seeing a small  one accompanying its mother.

I have seen bobcats in the High Uintas, and in the Uintah Basin, both of them running across the road in front of my car.  In the Uintah Basin, on the south side driving down a dry wash one ran in front of us and into a thicket.  I stalked it and got a shot with my .22 rifle....back at a time when it was legal to do so...I found a blood trail and carefully followed it through the thicket of reeds, the trail finally ending.  
When I was a hunter and trapper on a wildlife project at Dugway Proving Grounds in 1954 I got a bobcat on one of my assignments off of the Proving Grounds and since it wasn't my assignment, was permitted to keep it. On skinning it I noticed the meat looked real good and   I recalled a book about 40 mammals  that I was required to study and know about those of our interest, but each mammal section ended commenting on what the Indians and the mountainmen thought about the edibility of each.  I recalled bobcat was considered one of the best.  
So I saved the hind quarters and one day prepared them with condiments and cooked them in an autoclave (like a pressure cooker), and served them on paper plates to all the guys in the lab.
They all thanked me and raved about how delicious it was, but then one of the G.I.'s from Brooklyn who was Jewish asked me what kind of meat it was.
I WAS IN DEEP TROUBLE as such meat is prohibited under Jewish law!  There was almost another crucifixtion! 

In the sagebrush and grassy area I was hiking through I always saw 

.....and fortunate to have among my photos a pair...the MALE of course being the handsomer of the two!  That's nature's way of providing for the safety of mothers....dull and unattrative!
Cottontail rabbits were also glimpsed, but usually gone so quickly photographs were nearly impossible....

Continuing the hike up the face of the hills....
I went through the grassy area and to a ravine sort of hidden by the vegetation and pinpointed by the arrow.  As I was climbing up the ravine I wandered off the beaten track as I usually do to find things others miss, and noticed ahead some

It was on a bush, about the same size as most of the scrub oak.

I was more than happy to discover a wildflower
 that I'd never seen before, and never seen again, except  an offspring or two nearby.

  And, for full disclosure I'll confess to have gone through all my reference books, page by page and I can't find it pictured or identified anywhere.  Hopefully before publishing time in a day or so I will have identified it, but here it is below. I will call it....

We begin seeing its reproductive system  beginning with that large
 sort of tongue as the lower part of the flower.... will develop eventually into the seed pod 
as seen in the pictures below. 

Below we see it later with the seed pods dried up
 and releasing their seeds for the future generations.


From the ravine we continue climbing and get to the top
of the hill we could see to the north from the grassy area, 
and it was here 
where on June 1st  I found the first blossoming of the

As it worked out, due to the increased rainful, 2023 saw more SEGO LILLIES blossom than during any of the previous summers of my experience.  
I recall from my Pioneer heritage that the Mormon pioneers at times had to rely on the bulb of the Sego Lily to survive, as did the Native Americans before and after them.    I have resisted the temptation to dig one up as they don't seem to be all that plentiful, and have recently learned that it is actually against the law to do so.

Above we see  the reproductive system, actually seeing 
 the seeds down inside the pod.  
Might as well also insert a large photo of the insect....
..... that coincidentally seemed to be camofloged with the same colors as the pod.
So we bid farewell to our beautiful 
until 2024, as its blossoming period was quite short.

Among the sagebrush and our Sego Lily  we
 see another beautiful wildflower which is

It is a perrenial plant commonly called   Skeletonplant, which isn't a very pretty name, so I prefer 
Showy Rushpink
Googling uses by Native Americans I found in
USES: From the website Native American Ethnobotany are the following uses by Native American tribes: Gosiute - plant used as horse medicine. Navajo, Kayenta - Plant milk applied to sores caused by sunburn. Used for greens in foods. Hopi - Leaves chewed to increase mother's milk supply. Boiled with a certain kind of mush for flavor. Leaves boiled with meat..

Seeing  upclose the flower above, then below with insects very busy...
apparently eating the interior parts of the flower......

....but some survive and proceeds with it's own unique reproduction and distribution system, 
apparently with most of the seeds on their way....maybe to your backyard!

From up here where I  found the SEGO LILY I have to continue climbing.....

.....up to that upper level.

As you can see this hike was made before the scrub oak came alive.....

As I climb I get an increasingly better view of UTAH VALLEY.

I finally make it up to that upper level and can see far to the south the 
on the edge of Grove Canyon. 

And, 10 or 15 miniutes later....I see all of 
spread out before me.

Up at the VALLEY VIEW SPOT where I was resting and having a bit of lunch,
 I spotted right at my feet for the first time this season the
also called LOCOWEED as it is harmful to cattle

It is a legume that injects nitgrogent into the soil. 
 Native Americans used it to treat mentrual pains, and for purification rituals.
Native Americans used it to improve hunting luck!

The reproductive system was producing 
wooley covered seed pod  we see  below.


Also up high in the foothills, near the VALLEY VIEW SPOT, I saw there  the first of the season

or Cryptantha Utahensis, Scented Cats-Eye

NOTE:  Previously I was mistaken calling this flower the WESTERN SMELOWSKIA, which I have learned rather is found high in the mountains usually above timberline. 
More information follows from Wikipedia.

Cryptantha is a genus of flowering plants in the borage family, Boraginaceae. They are known commonly as cat's eyes and popcorn flowers (the latter name is also used to refer to the closely related genus Plagiobothrys,[1] and members of the subtribe of Amsinckiinae).[2] 

They are distributed throughout western North America and western South America, but they are absent from the regions in between.[1]

These are annual or perennial herbs usually coated in rough hairs and bearing rounded flower corollas that are almost always white, but are yellow in a few species.[1]

Above information from Wikipedia


Cryptantha has been used medicinally by the Hopi, Navajo Nation in Kayenta, and Zuni Pueblo according to documents in the Native American Ethnobotany Database. The plant could be used to relieve swelling, stimulate fatigued limbs, and to help with itching.

The crushed leaves are used as a hot infusion or lotion that is placed on the affected area. The Western Keres Nation viewed Cryptantha as a poisonous weed. (Note: Ethnobotanical reports often lack important contextual information and relevant traditional ecological knowledge.) The tiny hairs on this plant can be irritating to the touch.

This is just one of many plants I hope to be able to follow, observe and learn more about during the 2024 growing season, from germination early in the season, to blossoming and the reproduction. 


At the Valley View Spot you can choose to follow the main trail that continues up the canyon....but it goes way up high above the creek, and contiues to climb until you get to the bench, the water falls, then the bridge.....I'll show you to that point in just a minute.....the trail continuing up to where it meets a road, or swinging around and down Battle Creek Canyon.  
I'm  now heading down the switchbacks into Grove Canyon....the safest route down, and as we get closer to the creek  we'll begin seeing plants more adaptable to shade and moisture. 

We're now down below the long switchback and getting a wonderful view of a portion of Utah Valley that in my youth the upper half was all agricultural land, but now being replaced by industry, business buildings and housing developments in one of the fastest growing areas of the country.  

On the way down I  meet up with 
(some experts call it SHOWY FLEABANE)  
one of the prettiest of the fleabane family not usually found in the desert-like foothills, rather up the canyon at moderate elevations in shaddier areas near the creek that we come to as we go down the mountain. I have a list of 18 different Fleabanes, but apparently one characteristic is from where the name comes, flea bane, or flea banisment or repellant, as it has a smell fleas don't like.  

MEDICINAL USES:  A tea can be made that was used to break fevers. The plant was boiled and mixed with tallow to make a balm that could be spread upon sores on the skin. It was used for as an eye medicine to treat “dimness of sight.” It was used as an astringent, a diuretic, and as an aid for kidneys or the gout.

Then this pretty plant below that has a sort of strange name, which is
also known as
the one below among the first spotted early in the season.... is a young Hound's Tongue growing up.

This is a plant that is not native to America, rather for some reason introduced from Europe and has spread across North America.  In addition to photographing it up Grove Canyon, I have photographed it also near Defa's Dude Ranch on the North Fork of the Duchesne River in the High Uintas....but at low elevations very close to the ranch. 

Teas made from the roots and leaves have been used to treat coughs, colds, hemorroids,  diarrhea and dystentery, but these plants with some cause skin reaction, so do your research and be is the case with many of our wild plants.


The rough surface of the nutlets, seen here, or possibly the leaves of some species, was thought to resemble the surface of a dog's tongue, thus the name HOUND'S TONGUE.
Below we see  
the  PENSTEMON family
 with at least 14 different varieties that I have found from the deserts and foothills to the High Uinta Mountains.  It is the largest genus of flowering plants in North America, and is a common name for Penstemon species also called  Beardtongues.  

They are not poisonous.  A tea can be made by boiling the dried leaves and stems. Native Americans used the plant as a medicinal remedy to alleviate toothache, and poultices of the leaves treated cuts and burnes.  The pioneers learned these uses from the Native Americans. 

The upper plant in the panel...I have reproduced directly above... is of the 
Carrot Family (Apeaceae) Genera its name:
As you can guess looking at the leaves like those of the carrot 
we grow in our vegetable gardens,

The University of Illinois Extension Division


Although weedy in habit, this plant is actually kind of alluring, with abundant yellow blooms that often attract a variety of pollinators. However, humans need to exercise extreme caution in the presence of this plant as it has an insidious side that is little known.  

When the sap of this plant contacts your skin and is exposed to sunlight, a reaction occurs that can result in painful burns and blisters. Since burns don’t appear for 24 hours and often don’t reach peak effects until 72 hours later, the source of this reaction can often be a puzzle to figure out.

In the lower row of the panel, and below, we see the

Note carefully the stems and leaves that are totally different 
from the carrot-like leaves of the poisonous WILD PARSNIP

GOOGLING it we learn: 
The roots of this plant are used to make medicine. Desert parsley is used for asthma, flu, other lung problems, wound healing, and other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support its use for any condition. Some types of desert parsley are eaten as food.
The roots were cooked or dried and  ground into flour, which could be shaped into cakes and stored for later use.  Nineleaf biscuitroot flowers and leaves were used to flavor meats and stews by the Okanagan-Colville.  Plants were used as food by the Yakama, and spring roots were earten by tribes in Montana.
And, below it's reproductive system.

The Blackfeet used the roots to make a medicinal tea for treating coughs and sore throats.  Their long distance runners chewed on the seeds to prevent side aches.

Now we come to a shrub or a small tree that produces....

....are edible but when not fully ripe will pucker the mouth.  Some gather then to make jellies or wine.  Indians ate them fresh and also dried them in cakes for winter.  The Lewis and Clark Expedition ate them when other food was hard to come by, as did the mountainmen and fur trappers.  Birds eat them as do some mammals as seen two pictures down....

 Apparently  a lot of them go into the stomach of a mammal the size of a coyote and out the other end as we see above.

Just before getting to the "SQUARE RESTING ROCK" mentioned in Chapter 1....the section about Poison Ivy, along the creek  edge of the trail...but high above the creek.... is a beautiful leafed plant with clusters of tiny flowers. It is
also called

You should remember the beautiful leaf and photos of this plant from Chapter 1 when we were focusing on Poison Ivy.  I'll insert a few of them below.

Let's get real close to appreciate the beauty of these 
very tiny flowers.....

The name is derived from the Greek  meaning "noxious to dogs." Dog's usually avoid this plant as it is poisonous to them.  In fact, from ancient times this plant was used to poison dogs.

GOOGLING it we get:
All parts of the plant are said to be poisonous to dogs, humans, livestock, and other mammals. The sap that emerges when you break a stem or leaf of Spreading Dogbane contains cardiac glycosides that are toxic to humans. 
Apocynum cannabinum is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows throughout much of North America—in the southern half of Canada and throughout the United States. It is poisonous to humans, dogs, cats, and horses. All parts of the plant are toxic and can cause cardiac arrest if ingested. Wikipedia 

But, getting close to SPREADING DOGBANE, there is little
doubt that it is a beautiful wildflower.  

More beautiful leaves.


After such beautiful and unique leaves above, we come to the common...

A quite common plant that goes unnoticed....

....but as almost always, zooming in we see a tiny beautiful flower....

GOOGLING it you come up with all kinds of suggested uses:

A few species are edible and may either be eaten as a vegetable or be ground into a seasoning.The leaves, stems, and flowers are used to make medicine. Despite serious safety concerns, people take hedge mustard to treat urinary tract diseases, coughs, chronic bronchitis, and swelling (inflammation) of the gallbladder. Hedge mustard is also used as a gargle or mouthwash.

What are the side effects of hedge mustard?
Hedge mustard contains chemicals called cardiac glycosides that can cause serious side effects, including vomiting, diarrhea, and heart rhythm disorders. sUPPOSEDLY THESE WOULD BE RARE, but best DO YOUR RESEARCH.....and doing so I come up with a list of benefits:
The edible parts in a mustard plant are mustard seeds and leaves. The seeds are used to make mustard oil and are used as spices. The leaves of the mustard plant are eaten as mustard green. Many vegetables are known to be cultivated varieties of mustard.

As well as:
In the kitchen the leaves can be used in a sauce for fish, in soups, stews, and omelettes, you could also try a few of the young tender leaves in a salad. Medicinally, hedge mustard is good for the treatment of sore throats, coughs, voice loss, laryngitis and inflammation of the airways.


Now we come to a portion of the trail, just before the road that some have had trouble with, and so it is called....
 I always do it with caution, and doing it again safely....manuevering the ROCKS and avoiding a ROLL...or fall, I began imagining myself even..... 

But a few minutes later down on the road I saw 
a wonderful mother with 
and had to laugh at myself as that was maybe more my speed!

I decided I couldn't let these cute little BACKPACKERS outdo me so on smooth and safe stretches I began working more on improving and started swinging my trekking poles up behind me....which helped me  to straighten my back, and not become totally dependant on the poles....hoping for a day when once again I could say, 

At that place in the canyon, where the trail heads up the mountain...the road going to the diversion dam, is where I first found also in May this wonderful flower called

Most Primeroses are yellow like the one below I photographed in the foothills of the Uinta Mountain's South Slope....

.......where I also found a desert variety seen below. 

There are world-wide 675 species and I'm not sure which of the many is the one I photographed in our foothills.......

....but it is a beautiful variety in our area with both 
red and white flowers. 

Seeing all the leaves of the Evening Primrose as late as September and even October, I wondered how it would be for an afternoon on to my trusty reference books and learned the plant is popular with foragers, since the roots, leaves, flowers, and seeds of evening primrose are all edible, but only the roots are really worth harvesting.  Google it for details, but I did learn that one with bleeding disorders should not eat it, and if you're going for surgery stop eating it several weeks before.  
Native Americans made poultices from the evening primrose plant for bruises and wounds and used its stem and leaf juices as topical remedies for skin inflammations. The leaves were taken orally for gastrointestinal complaints and sore throats.

Then late in the season...NOVEMBER....I photographed Evening Primrose coming alive again.

Now to ANOTHER BEAUTY we enjoy amidst the sagebrush, 
and scrub oak for at least the first half of each summer.... is  is the 

the PHLOX is also beneficial....GOOGLING it we learn:  
Wild Blue Phlox had a few medicinal uses. A tea made from the entire plant was used for treating stomach and intestinal disorders. A leaf tea was used as either a blood purifier or for treating boils and eczema. The roots were steeped and were used as eyewash.
The leaves can be cooked as a green, and the water used as a tea that controls blood glucose. The bitter fruit is edible cooked and red arils around the seed –the arils not the seed — are edible and nearly all lycopene. And the fragrant blossoms can be used for flavoring.

Then  back down again  TO THE TRAILHEAD....and SURPRISE, 
SURPRISE finding again this great woman warming up for her hike way up the mountain.....

NOTE:  I took the following pictures in the Fall of 2016  (Nov. 13th) before my hiking got complicated, and insert them here representing the hike of the special woman who was heading up the mountain.......  

....far past the VALLEY VIEW SPOT,  and to the waterfalls..... where there is a bench with a plaque remembering a 48 year old hiker who lost his life up here in 2002,

.......then a bridge crossing the creek and working up into the conifers and the Quaking Aspens our Utah State Tree the ones in the picture had lost their leaves already as 
I took  these pictures on  November 13th!


Now back to 2023 at the Trailhead, there was an 
early blossoming of the 
on May 5th.

If I recall this is the only one of its kind I've seen and
 photographed near Grove Canyon.

GOOGLE tells us: 
Medicinally, Native Americans used the large coarse balsamroot leaves as a poultice for burns. Some tribes boiled the roots for a medicinal tea for tuberculosis and whooping cough, rheumatism, headaches, insect bites. Other tribes made an infusion to use as a poultice for wounds, cuts and bruises.

The roots may be baked or steamed and eaten, as well as the young shoots. The immature flower stems could be peeled and eaten; the flowers themselves are good browse for wildlife. Balsamroot seeds are nutritious and oil-rich, another good source of food. The root could be used as a coffee substitute.
The roots are tough and woody and taste like balsam. To make them more palatable, the Indians would bake them several days in a fire pit.

Now up the trail to the foothills I've tread too many times to count in my at least every other day hike and see what kind of treasures I find  I can share with you. 

We go from the yellow GIANT Arrow-leafed Balsomroot  above to a very tiny yellow one to the right of the trail.

I should have included this tiny flowering plant 
in Chapter 1 as it was blossoming in April.  It is the 


This beautiful very common flower is called 
often thought to be Morning Glory.  It is one of the early bloomers, and lasts all summer and into the Fall, with numbers that place it pretty well at the top of the numbers list in all of the Foothills.

 GOOGLE says:  Meadow Bindweed is a member of the Morning Glory or Convolvulaceae family and contains poisonous alkaloids including pseudotropine.Despite safety concerns, people take greater bindweed for treating fever, urinary tract problems, and constipation; and for increasing bile production.   Flower tea used to reduce fever and heal wounds. Flowers are also laxatives. Roots have strong emetic effects. Root tea is a laxative.

.....and BINDWEED's uniquely pretty seed producing stage.


In May also springs into life the 
 with it's wonderfully beautiful flowers.

How could any flower be prettier?

And, its reproductive system.

Plant Vetch as a Cover Crop and Reap the Benefits

If you are looking for a workhorse cover crop, look no further than vetch. Few legumes contribute as much nitrogen or biomass to the garden. Vetch produces an abundance of vining stems and fine foliage that help protect soils from wind and rain, while improving structure and adding nutrients. Plant vetch as a cover crop or green manure and reap the rewards of healthy, thriving soil.

Plant Vetch to Fix Nitrogen in the Soil

All plants need nitrogen to grow. Nitrogen is an essential component of proteins, DNA, and chlorophyll, the compound used to power photosynthesis. Without nitrogen plants could not produce or use energy and life as we know it would not exist. Luckily, our atmosphere is composed of 78% nitrogen. But plants can’t use nitrogen from the air. That’s where legumes come in.

Legumes are plants belonging to the bean and pea family. These plants contain beneficial bacteria called Rhizobia within nodules on their roots. With the help of Rhizobia, legumes fix nitrogen, converting atmospheric nitrogen from the soil into organic compounds that the plants use to grow. When the legumes die, the ‘fixed’ nitrogen is then released into the soil where it can be used by other plants. This is a natural source of fertilizer often called green manure.


The edible plarts of American Vetch are the young shoots of the plant when cooked and the seeds from the pods.  There are other types of pea-like plants that are not considered edible so it is essential that you are careful in identifying the plant before foraging!  Since it has obvious pea pods, vetch can be a commonly misidentified plant, and people might eat non edible varieties. So be careful when foraging for peas!
Vetch can also be used for medicinal purposes. It has antiseptic properties when mashed up into a paste and rubbed onto the body, or brewed into tea.

Below appears a stunning flower
   that blossomed high on the hills in June, appropiately named 

Up high on the way to the VALLEY VIEW SPOT on a later hike there was one plant along the trail and I noticed it's leaves were apparently liked by one of our friends from the insect world as seen below.

It decorated the very steepest slopes all summer and finally called it quits in late September 

The long, narrow seed pods carry the seeds which 
I have collected, and explain in Chapter 3 why I went back 
on a cold November day to get more seeds, and show 
a picture of what I came back with.  

...see Chapter 3 for 
edible and medicinal uses of this plant.


......then zoomed in.

.....and I pleasantly welcomed the blossoming of the 

Below we see the plant in the seed production stage with seeds inside the round seed pods.  Each plant usually produces about 1,800 seeds each year.  

I somehow failed this year (2023) getting photographs of the dried seed pods, as well as not gathering any for my collection of seeds of important plants of the foothills, but I'll remedy that next year and insert photographs

In an interesting article in the
Santa Fe Botanical Garden
 Article by Susan Bruneni

I got the following information on Scarlet Globemallow

Native Americans subsisted on the roots when other food was scarce.

The Northern Cheyenne and Dakota tribes used scarlet globemallow in their ceremonies. It was also used to rub hands to prevent scalds when removing meat from boiling water. (Please do not try this at home!)

The Dakota and Blackfoot Indians used a paste made from scarlet globemallow as a cooling agent for burns, scalds, and sores.  A tea  was used as a lotion for skin diseases, and a tonic to improve appetite.  The Navajo used a tea for improving the taste of bitter medicinal herbs. Crushed leaves were used as a poultice for skin irritations and a shoe liner for blistered feet.  Leonora Curtin wrote about similar uses of globemallows in New Mexico.

Late in the season..October 18th  there are signs of this beautiful wildflower plant still trying to seen below with a new plant sprouting....


Early on I photographed the plant below all too familiar for most of us, in fact I've got one right outside my backdoor, but I followed it's development and.....

......wasn't surprised at all to find it had many tiny beautiful flowers,
 as well as an interesting decoration on the edge of its leaves....all worth focusing on.  Because of its leaves it is named 
I'll insert below the flowers a picture of its leaves.

We can see that often there are clusters of this tiny flower. 

Lastly comes the reproductive phase which we see below. 


Also just outside my back door I couldn't resist taking a portrait of this cute little bunny rabbit that is a cross least its tail saying it's part Cottontail, crossed with who knows what.  We are developing some new breeds in American Fork.

During the month of May this plant we see below, 
with a fascinating leaf, began developing.  
It shows what I hope I've convinced you off that 

See what I'm saying?

Of course by early June the plant blossomed and continued blossoming 
for more than a month decorating  our hills with wonderful color from the wonderful wildflower called....

You will see how important and wonderful this wildflower is 
when you
 see it used on the title page for CHAPTER 3, so let's learn about it to make 
understandable why I used it in such an important part of this book.  

we learn:  

Utah Sweetvetch, also known as Northern Sweetvetch, is a native perennial, cool season, herbaceous legume with deep taproots and several lateral roots. It blooms bright white, pinkish, purplish flowers and can grow to be 2 feet tall. This forb is adaptable to most anywhere in the US as is can grow in elevations of 3,000 to 5,000 feet. Grows best on soils ranging from sandy to clay. Utah Sweetvetch provides good palatability for wildlife and livestock and is valuable for range and wildlife habitat improvement. It is a legume capable of fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere.

It can be used as a complimentary species in rangeland seedings. It is considered succulent and its foliage is highly palatable to livestock and big game. Utah Sweetvetch also provides important habitat attributes for sage grouse. It has been rated as medium for cover value and excellent for food value.

 We  see that they are about as beautiful 
as anything could be!

After about a month of blossoming, the plant enters 
the reproduction phase with unique seeds as seen below.

FACT SHEET: Utah Sweetvetch

 Instead of the usual pea pod, its seeds are borne in flattened, one-seeded segments called "loments", that are strung together like beads. The seeds are harvested by stripping the loments when they turn straw-colored. It can be quite a job to extract the seeds from these loments. For field seeding, they can be sown loment and all.

The Utah Sweet Vetch is an important component of sage grouse habitat. The roots were used as food by northern tribes and also as a substitute for licorice. It has the ability to fix nitrogen and improve the quality of the soil.

Wikipedia says:
The wild plant was considered poisonous by some Native American groups, but it was utilized as a food source, particularly the roots,[8] which taste like licorice.[6]

We learn from:

Edible, sort of

Bears aren’t the only ones who like Sweet-Vetch roots. The Indigenous peoples of North America ate Hedysarum. Sweet-Vetch can be eaten raw (they have a bit of a sweet, liquorice like flavour), or boiled, or baked, or fried — and then they taste like carrots. The Yellow variety is not nearly as tasty to us, so look for the Northern or Alpine species (but no picking plants in the Parks).

I have already scattered some of these seeds, 
as well as others from most of the magnificent Wildflowers 
and wild shrubs 
I have featured around my Cabin A, and look forward to 2024 
with my kind of rustic landscaping decorating my home site. Since this is originally 
an online BOOK, I'll add pictures of some of the results of my efforts.  

On my way up to the VALLEY VIEW SPOT, after discovering the bush 
with the impressive yellow flowers, and thereafter the Utah Sweetvetch, 
I also found this small tree, maybe classified as a bush,  but it is

The end to an amazing season for the CRAB APPLE comes in October.

When going up there again to get the pictures of the fruit, 
I noticed a BRILLIANT FLASH OF RED and found the first 
to blossom.

This one is a different variety with a slightly different red color 
both incredibly wonderful.

What I call INDIAN PAINTBRUSH is an example of some confusion I find in my three reference books, and not just for this wildflower.  There are apparently 200 varieties of Paintbrush, one of them the Wyoming Paintbrush which is the Wyoming State Flower.   
However, the NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY  Field Guide to Wildflowers, doesn't mention that nor does it have in its index "Indian Paintbrush,"  just Paintbrush, but my other two reference books do.

But one interesting fact mentioned is that it is a semi-parasite the roots growing until they touch the roots of other plants, such as sagebrush, and pentrate the roots and acquire some of their nourishment from their neighbor(s).  
Later I returned to get a picture of the 
with the seeds seen below

Now we come to a small tree or bush 
that will be the featured vegetation of the foothills for this Chapter 2
We begin early when almost all of the vegetation is still dormant from the long Winter..
..our CLIFF ROSE in the dead cenrter.   Two months later the scene has drastically changed.

It is the lone tree on the cliffs high above as we see in the 
picture below, 
but of course, lucky for me, it is found 
scattered all around in the 
desert-like environment where I could get to it easily 
and follow its amazing development.

So, the Cliff Rose shown in the opening panel will be followed throughout the season,  
it blossoming with a flower I'll enlarge below that someone imagined looking like a rose.

It's wood is twisted and'll see below why that is important for my use of it..
.. covered by stringy bark that the Native Americans used for various purposes......
we get the following information:

Latin Name: Cowania stansburiana or mexicana    Common names: Quinine bush


Cliffrose has been useful for many purposes since the time of the Maya, and is still being used today by contemporary Native American tribes. Cliffrose bark shreds easily and has traditionally been used for cradleboard stuffing by both the Navajo and Hopi. It is also one of the important dye plants for making a tan colored dye for rug weaving. Cliffrose is a medium to tall bush that grows frequently on hillsides, rocky slopes and cliffs- that's why it has the name "Cliffrose"! The leaves are small, crinkly and leathery, and the bark of older bushes is “shreddy” and grayish. It blooms profusely in May, with cream colored flowers that produce an intoxicating orange blossom-like scent. It produces long, showy seed plumes in the fall, shading from white to rosy pink.


The chopped and boiled stems and leaves make a somewhat bitter cough suppressant, and can be used to wash wounds and treat various skin problems. Gather the leaves and small stems early in the spring if possible, before the strength of the plant goes to flowers and seeds. Dry before using- the old "Brown Bag It and Forget It" method works fine. A tea may be made, but if you use the flowers, be sure to remove the bitter green calyx .


Another fairly benign plant. Native Americans chew and swallow the bitter leaves to induce vomiting in case of stomach ache or nausea, so it seems sensible to brew a weak tea until individual tolerance is determined.


Be sure of the identity of the plant before you use it. If a preparation makes you sick or gives you a rash, don't use it, and throw it away! If your condition does not improve, see your doctor. Be sure to let your physician know EVERYTHING that you are taking! 

My use of Cliff Rose is because of its beautiful wood you see above in this case  used as legs for a coffee table.  In a few years when the hiking gets a bit too difficult I might just do this again, along with using Gambles Oak to make the most marvelously rustic picture frames.

begins this way, after blossoming,  the flowers send out feathery plumes 
each of which will be attached to a seed that as the flower dries will be 
carried all over by the wind.

It gets beautifully extreme and then begins tappering off.

With my zoom lens we focus way up high in the cliffs and high ridges 
and get a picture of  Cliff Rose totally loaded by the feathery plumes.

As the flowers dry the wind carries away plumes, a process that goes on for a month 
or more until their purpose has been fulfilled.

October sees all the surrounding vegetation turning into Autumn colors, including in the forfront RABBIT BRUSH with  its flash of awakening color

October 20th 
sees even more change, some ending their stunning moment of Rabbit Brush in the foreground...

November 8
....while others go from yellow to red, and from green to yellow. 
heading to Halloween, and then Thansgiving when this book will end, with the oncoming Winter.  


Backing up to early summer and my hikes to discover new plants to begin following them as well as do follow-up on all the previous ones found, the next one photographed and seen below, in previous years in the foothills of Springville and Provo was  declared by me at that time as 
It is the
In another reference book & on Google, this wildflower is called
always from the Pea family. The Google info goes on to say:
Sainfoin is a legume, with a bright pink flower (although they can also be white or purple), and leaves with 11-21 leaflets. It may grow a little taller than alfalfa in certain environments, but a lot of times we are seeing similar production results.

Sainfoin or Steppe sweetpea is today planted and 
harvested much the same as alfalfa.

It doesn't last too long, and eventually follows 
the law of nature on to the 
with interesting seeds that I saved a bunch of to see if 
I can replace the disliked weeds I have around my tiny house.

Health benefitsSupport diabetes, neurotic disorders, hypochondriacal conditions, sleep disorders, impotence, constipation, colitis and menopause
You'll notice in the picture below, and others of the actual climb up to this SPOT were early in the season (May) before the scrub oak had come to life, as well as many other plants.

WOW!  I limped up here again to end this Chapter 2....
.....but it won't be the last time  as I've learned 

So, Chapter 3 will show my attempt to go the short way....
....but of course it's the most dangerous.  I will be frank about how it went and sometimes 
had me at a dead end with no safe way out....and how it turned out.

From high above Pleasant Grove and the Grove Creek Trailhead in late summer
we get a "fish eye lens" glimpse of pretty near the entire 
Utah Valley,
 on the far left the foothills of Timpanogos, next Provo Peak in the clouds and Y Mountain, then in the far distance Mt. Nebo, and on  across the Valley north to West Mountain on whose slopes is found Saratoga Springs, then the Oquirrh Mountains at the foot of which is the city of Eagle Mountain.
So, in this picture we are seeing Pleasant Grove, Lindon, Orem, Provo, Springville, Mapleton,  Spanish Fork, Salem, Woodland Hills, Payson, Santaquin, and coming back to the north, Saratoga Springs, and behind West Mountain,  Eagle Mountain, Cedar Fort, then Lehi, and back to American Fork.

Likely, with Mike Packard as our pilot, we will glide a bit south to 

So, with Chapter 3.....  
....I will take you on a quick hike up 
and tell the history of  this memorable location as the city of
PLEASANT GROVE was originally named 
 location of the  1st fight between the 
Native Americans and the Mormon pioneers. 

Then, back to the Grove Creek Trailhead and begin my attempt to go straight up 
the ridge to the VALLEY VIEW SPOT, with unique 
along the way, and then on with some of the most rarely seen creations of nature.

WOW!  I LIMPED MY WAY THROUGH ANOTHER CHAPTER...with CHAPTER 3 coming up in a week or so and hoping and praying that you will enjoy  the wonderful 
..that will feature my most difficult and dangerous climb to the


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