Fall Creek (lower end)

March 10, 1984

The group met at 9:00 a.m. under ominous skies and drove in three cars to Fall Creek. One car was left at the parking lot across from Dolly Varden Campground, and everybody crowded into the remaining cars for the 3+ mile trip to the next bridge over Fall Creek. We left the trailhead at 10:15 under light rain. It continued to drizzle for most of the next two hours. These were perfect conditions for the objective of the trip: studying mosses and liverworts. Every few hundred yards (more often at first, less often as we went along) we would stop to examine one of the common mosses or liverworts, devise a common name, and learn a bit about moss biology, ecology or geography. A surprising number of flowering plants were noted in bloom: grouse flower or snow queen, spring beauty, Indian plum, coltsfoot and evergreen violet. The prize of the day was discovered practically in the middle of the trail, the fetid adder’s-tongue or slink pod, an inconspicuous and rarely noticed member of the lily family. It was in full bloom. Shortly after lunch the sun began breaking through the clouds. We walked the last third of the trail in mutual delight as the sun dried out our soggy fringes. Anne Montgomery reminded us that we needed to put intense pressure on the U.S. Forest Service to keep this trail in the condition we now enjoy. For the benefit of participants, here is the list of mosses and liverworts, as promised, with the “proper” names: Oregon feather moss (Stokesiella oregana); stairstep moss (Hylocomium splendens); common dragon moss (Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus); slender dragon moss (Rhytidiadelphus loreus); palm tree moss (Leucolepis menziesii); rainforest moss (Isothecium stoloniferum); high-branch moss (Antitrichia curtipendula); big-leaf moss (Plagiomnium insigne); naked leaf log moss (Rhizomnium glabrescens); fairy cushion (Dicranum sp.); Menzies’ fan moss (Metaneckera menziesii); river moss (Scouleria aquatica); and fir tree moss (Dendroalsia abietina). Liverworts were: peppery scale-moss (Porella roellii); Bolander’s folded-leaf (Scapania bolanderi); american folded-leaf (Scpania americana) and alligator-skin liverwort (Conocephalum conicum). The reason for giving the name “peppery scale moss” was well appreciated by those willing to give it the taste test.

The lower end of the trail had a few muddy spots where the trail had been washed out. We found evidence of trail work, presumably by Obsidians. We reached the end of the trail at 2 p.m. and a shuttle of drivers (thanks to the car left previously at the lower end) retrieved the cars from the upper end. Folks were back in Eugene by 3.:30 p.m. Obsidian members on this mossy ramble were Ruth Coffman, Dallas Cole, Judy Hammitt, Elizabeth McMullin, Anne Montgomery, Kathy Ryan, Fred Schepman, Pat Shaw, Ted Stern and Paula Vehrs. Non-members were Hee-Jin Kim and Jenny Wagner. Leader and main mossmaniac was Dave Wagner.

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