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Hayward Hill — May 2008

There are many choices for plant walks east of the Cascades, but you need to get out there before all the flowers are baked into oblivion which often occurs in the drier areas by June. So here is a Hayward Hill description which represents a small window into a field trip that Don Knoke leads. Our area of interest is along the Hayward and Bettas roads and extends about 4 miles. The drive is about 220 miles round trip from Seattle.

Proceeding up the Hayward road, watch for places that you wish to stop to check out the flora along road cuts and ditches. Some areas are posted, so think twice before entering an area where you are not invited. The first area that I will describe is about 1.3 miles up the road and is the second area of scrubby trees encountered. If you’ve crossed a bridge over the irrigation ditch, you’ve gone too far. The stop has a rough pull-out on the right side of the road by a sharp curve and will accommodate about three cars. Uphill, both to the left and right of the scrubby trees are good places to find flowers.

One showy little yellow flower is Crocidium multicaule (Gold Star) and it begins to cover large areas in early April. Look for small succulent spatulate basal leaves and linear leaves on the stem. Also present early is Phoenicaulis cheiranthoides (Dagger pod). Look for basal clusters of upright turquoise to gray wooly leaves. The purple flowers are on very tiny umbels. Check also for the purplish red stems and deeply dissected pinkish white petals of Lithophragma parviflorum (Prairie Star). Another flower growing low to the ground is the bluish Hydrophylum capitatum (Ballhead Waterleaf). Look for a leaf pattern similar to our local waterleaf. Bone up on the lomatiums; I saw three species just at this site alone. There were also bits of Collinsia parviflora, and the big showy yellow flowers of the Balsamroots are under construction as I write this column.

Drive on up the road. The Stuart Range will come into view. Watch for color along the intermittent stream just beyond the power lines. When you reach Bettas road, turn right. At the end of this road just before the stop sign and US 97, pull off on the right and explore the stream area. Lomatium and Delphinium may be there to greet you. This is the end of the trip. The Hayward Hill native plant list is strongly recommended. For a helpful field guide, try Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest by Mark Turner and Phyllis Gustafson.

To reach Hayward Hill, take the first exit to Cle Elum and South Cle Elum. Drive through the town. At the other end, you will be on road SR 970. Take SR 970 a couple miles and turn right onto SR 10. Stay on SR 10 about 9 miles until reaching the Thorp Road junction where you make a sharp left onto Hayward Road.

Updated: July 3, 2016
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