The 2004 UW Herbarium Foray was held June 30th-July 4th in south-central Oregon's Fremont-Winema National Forest. The group was smaller than in years past, perhaps due to the 9-10 hour drive from Seattle to the Happy Camp Campground located 25 miles west of Paisley, OR. Nevertheless, we were rewarded for our traveling efforts in terms of floristic diversity, nice weather, and outstanding scenery. The only rain that fell came the first night, which made setting up tents a bit of a soggy chore for some in the group.
Our primary reason for collecting in Fremont-Winema was that it represents the southern edge of the area covered by Hitchcock et al.'s Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest. Floristically, the region contains a mixture of elements from the Cascades to the North, the California Sierras to the south, and the Great Basin to the east. The Forest experienced extensive burning during the wildfires of 2002, and in some areas this produced spectacular wildfower displays. Similarly, portions of the Forest remained denuded of vegetation due to the intense heat generated by the fires.
The timing of our trip enabled us to collect across large habitat and elevational gradients. The collecting sites ranged from sagebrush desert in the Black Hills near Christmas Valley (1300 meters), to high elevation shrub-steppe/subalpine meadows of Butte Peak (2300 meters). Between these extremes we collected in low-mid elevation riparian areas and vernally moist meadows.
As in year's past, the Spaghetti Dinner was held the second to last night. For the third year in a row, Cindy Spurgeon did an outstanding job of preparing the meal in advance and then pulling it together under "rustic" cooking conditions. Maria Gerace graciously provided sauce for the non-carnivorous members of the group. The dessert contest was as tight as ever, exemplified by Don Knoke bringing two home-made pies (huckleberry, cherry) and Richard Robohm providing chocolate mousse complete with hand-whipped cream.
Sarah Malaby of the Fremont-Winemea National Forest and Dr. Judith Harpel of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest provided invaluable assistance and support in arranging our collecting permits and camping accommodations. Sarah also joined us in the field for a day and recruited co-worker Jeanette Wilson to participate as well. Terry Spivey provided us with field guides to the Fremont-Winema flora, and spent a day photo-documenting our activities. We thank Lucille Housley from the Bureau of Land Management for suggesting that we collect at Black Hills, and for providing the directions to get there. We are grateful for all of this assistance in making this year's Foray such a success.
Participants in the 2004 Foray were Sharon Birks, Ken Davis, Sarah Gage, Maria Gerace, Wendy Gibble, David Giblin, Robert Goff, Lucille Housley, Jessie Johanson, Joe Johanson, Mary Johanson, Don Knoke, Ben Legler, Sarah Malaby, Richard Robohm, Terry Spivey, Cindy Spurgeon, and Jeanette Wilson. We were also joined by Chinook and Cinder, who seemed as happy as the rest of us to be out in the field.