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 wildflower
Wildflowers of the Sierra Nevada

All wildflower pictures on this page are courtesy of the
University of California at Berkley digital library project.


See USE NOTICE on Home Page

 Sky Pilot
Flower 1I must admit, I am a wildflower lover! When I was packing for Mt. Whitney Pack Trains in the High Sierra I was always fascinated by the incredible array of wildflowers. It seemed as though every color and shape was either splashed amongst the rocks or growing in the meadows. From flowers as small as an eraser on the end of a pencil on the Owens Valley desert floor to those which were larger than a saucer in some of the Sierra alpine meadows, there was never a lack of wildflowers. No matter where you looked, there was an abundance of color. From the carpeted sandy flats of Monache and Mulkey Meadows to the knee deep Larkspur and Shooting Stars of Crabtree and Kerrick Meadows, there was always enough color to keep you coming back for more. Though I love them all, perhaps my favorite is the Sky Pilot, or Polemonium Californicum as some may call it. This hearty little flower can only really be appreciated by those who have made it higher than 10,000' in the Sierra, for it's in the rocky crags in the narrow little region between 10,000' - 13,000' that this jewel grows. I would often see the Sky Pilot while going from Whitney Portal to Crabtree Meadows on the John Muir Trail over the 13,777' Trail Crest Pass. This truly is the "High Sierra" flower!

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Flower 2
Anderson's Thistle


shooting star
Shooting Star


Flower 3
 Lewis' Monkey Flower


Flower 6
Sierra Blue Cup

 Flower 7
Apricot Mallow


Flower 8
Sierra Tiger Lily


Flower 9
Brittle Bush

 Flower 10
Mariposa Lily


Flower 11
Monks Hood


Flower 12
Sierra Penstemon


Flower 13 
Sierra Primrose


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"Seen From a Saddle"[pdf]
by Ardath Dietrich


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 wildflower
Wildflowers of the Sierra Nevada - 2
(Terry Bishop photo)

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Sage Brush
Sage Brush is more than a anthem of the west, it might well be a scourgeSage Brush of the west to cowboy or packer who has to loose herd stock through it. Whatever it is, there is more than enough of it to go around. From the high desert floor of Owens Valley well up the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada Sage Brush seems to know no bounds. I still recall the time five packers, including myself, pushed stock from the Elder Ranch near Diaz Lake, just south of Lone Pine, some thirty miles south to Sage Flat. (Sage Flat, and Olancha Pass, was to be the trailhead for the Trail Riders of the Wilderness this particular summer because the snow was still so deep on the trail going over Mt. Whitney, we're talking about in late August, that it was impassible to stock.) As we headed out of the Elder Ranch down Lubken Canyon Road towards the Owen's Valley Aqueduct, three things became apparently clear: 1. It was going to be one long dust eatin' ride for whoever brought up the rear (and sometimes that was me), 2. No amount of singin' in the saddle was going to make this a pleasant trip, 3. We were all about to gain a new appreciation for this plant called the Sage Brush. Sage Brush We had never seen so much Sage Brush in all of our lives, up close and personal. Over that thirty miles of dry dusty trail, there must have been 100 varieties of Sage Brush, or so it seemed. Having on chaps took on a whole new level of appreciation too! For those of us who had them, they were "leg savers." I was so thankful that Tommy and Barbara Jefferson had given me a wonderful pair of rust colored deer chaps on my fifth anniversary of packing for the outfit. I cherish them still to this day. Why Tommy never trucked the stock to Sage Flat for this trip I'll never know. When we all finally reached Sage Flat you'd have thought we were related to coal miners. Only the whites of our eyes were showing through all of the dust. But what a trip! Without that trail drive there would be nothing to share with you.

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 "Sierra Sounds"[pdf]
by Blanch Stallings


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Flower 1
Mule Ears

Flower 2
Corn Lily


Flower 3
Hooker's Evening Primrose


Flower 4
Pinedrops


Flower 5
Pinedrops


Flower 6
 Western Peony

 
Flower 7
Sierra Plum


Flower 8
Manzanita

Flower 9
Sierra Larkspur

Flower 10
Alpine Mountain Sorrel

Flower 11
Sierra Gentian

Flower 12
Elephant Heads

 
Flower 13
Sierra Columbine

 
Flower 14
Lone Pine Beardtongue


Flower 15
Brittle Bush


Flower 16
 Snow Plant


Flower 17
Corn Lily


Flower 18
Western Columbine


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Sierra Bleeding Heart


Flower 20
Sierra Evening Primrose

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sky pilot
Wildflowers of the Sierra Nevada
(Photo of Sky Pilots near Mt. Whitney by Laszio Hulicsko)

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"The Range of Light from Mt. Whitney"[pdf]
by Blanch Stallings


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flower1
Yellow Yarrow

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White Evening Shinleaf

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Skyrocket

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 Sierra Wallflower

 
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Wolly Sunflower


flower6
Western Blue Flag


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 Pink Pussypaws

 
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Rockcress


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Marsh Marigold

 
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Owens Valley Checker Bloom


flower11
Sierra Tiger Lily


flower12
Sierra Onion


flower13
Sulfur Flower


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Checker

 
flower15
Stickseed

flower16
 
Steers Head


flower17
Sierra Penstemon


flower18
Sandwort


flower19
Spreading Flox


flower20
Spotted Coral Root

flower21
Heartleaf Arnica

flower22
Elephant Head

 flower23
Death Carnas

flower24 
Congdons Bitteroot

   
flower25
Indian Paintbrush

   
flower26
California Fuchsia

   
flower27
Fremont's Tidytips

 
flower28
 Brewers Miterwort

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Sierra Nevada Wildflowers by Mark Johnson
(Courtesy of and copyright Mark Johnson)

wildflowers
Eastern Sierra Wildflowers

high sierra paintbrush
High Sierra Indian Paintbrush
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Wildflower Links
Sierra Nevada Wildflowers
Desert Wildflower Report

Flower 14
Desert Indian Paintbrush

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Packing & High Sierra Stories  

Mt. Whitney Packers of the 1940s - 1970s  

Early Lone Pine  
 

One Packers High Sierra Experience

 

 Brochures of the Eastern High Sierra

 
Cerro Gordo
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This page was last updated on 14 July 2019