Over the weekend I was hiking trails by Mount Pilchuck in the Northern Cascade Mountain Range, near Seattle. It is one of the wettest places in the area, receiving 100-180 inches of precipitation per year – Manchester UK averages 32 inches, so I am sure you get the idea! 🙂
The wet conditions coupled with deep winter snows results in plant communities and ecological zones occurring at lower elevations here than in surrounding areas. My main hike was to experience the Ashland Lakes, where I hoped to come across some of the local amphibians and reptiles of the area.
It was an amazing hike through pacific silver fir trees covered in moss and western red cedar trees that were more than 300 years old. The trail also took me through carpets of bright green sphagnum moss, where I saw carnivorous plants and orchids, it was wonderful.
Arriving at the first beautiful lake, I was lucky enough to come across some highly camouflaged young Pacific Tree Frogs, Hyla regilla, that had just fully metamorphosed – perfect timing! To my delight, I also found a beautiful Western Toad, Bufo boreas, one of the few toads I’ve come across active during the day. Arriving at the 3rd lake, I had a further surprise in store….
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