The art of rot. I have no idea what kinds of diseases or creatures were responsible for these patterns of decay inside a trailside silver fir stump, but I thought they were both fascinating and beautiful. Photo: Stephen Braun

Hello Gentle Readers!  Another week of glimpses from west coast rambles, these all mountainous as we sought relief from lower-elevation warmth. Next week a proper New England column!  

Silver Lake, Olympic Peninsula.  Amazingly, we had this gem to ourselves the other day, after a long, sometimes buggy hike. Nestled in a cirque at 5400 ft. the lake was a clear moss-green mirror of the surrounding peaks, and so quiet the loudest sounds were the buzz of flies and the fluting song of a hermit thrush in the nearby trees.   Photo: Stephen Braun
The aptly-named orange peel fungus. This was a new one to me–a striking bit of color at a high elevation on Mt. Hood where I didn’t expect to find any conspicuous fungi.  Photo: Stephen Braun
Dwarf clover. This little ball of beauty was in full bloom high in the Olympic Mountains in Washington. Although only about a foot in diameter, this plant is probably 30-50 years old. Photo: Stephen Braun
Alpine meadow along the Pacific Crest Trail on western flank of Mt. Hood, Oregon. Spring was just getting underway here at about 6200 ft, the meadows a riot of fresh green growth and budding flowers. Photo: Stephen Braun
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