Tadpole Haven on Mountain time

Every summer, the mountains call me; I have to get in some “mountain time” to make my summer complete.  So – hooray! – I just spent three days and two nights backpacking in the Goat Rocks Wilderness near White Pass.  A refreshing swim in clear, cold Surprise Lake and staring into the oh-so-starry heavens at night were the crowning experiences.  The sweat and slog have their payoffs!

And of course I enjoyed the mountain plants.  Most of the flowers are done for the season, but there was one in particular that caught my eye that is still happily blooming away: Foamflower (Tiarella trifoliata).  It is still in bloom here in the lowlands at Tadpole Haven as well.  The leaves of the lowland western Washington plant have three separate leaflets while the high-elevation form of Foamflower (var.unifoliata) simply has a single leaf with three lobes.

This shade-loving perennial wildflower looks especially nice when you’ve got a whole patch of them. Their small plumes lift up to two feet tall above the low-growing foliage and look like sea-foam (especially if you get on your knees, squint, and think about the Little Mermaid).  But if you have just returned from star-gazing in the mountains, their delicate star-like white flowers remind you of the night sky’s beauty.  They will still be blooming into fall, though less profusely.