So in June of this year Tim went to the States and Western Canada for fieldwork, and invited me to come along as a second driver. Having failed my first attempt at getting my license just one week previous, I was a bit worried about my driving skills... but not worried enough to pass up an offer of a free cross-continental road trip. Priorities, people.

I think Tim was collecting hawthorns with which to make some sort of tea. He was also doing some kind of research into how the trees have sex. It will be a revelation to few that my knowledge in this field is sadly lacking, but I did get a crash course of sorts in happy subjects like polyploidies, plant pressing, naturopathic medicine, and not driving the car off the road. That last one is still somewhat of a work in progress, though I did manage to get my driver's licence afterward, meaning that I'm less of a menace to the public than I once was.

The pictures below are thumbnails, so you can click on them to see a larger version. The use your browser's "back" button to return here for more. You can also have a look at Tim's take on the same trip by clicking HERE.


Missouri River

Missouri River just inside Wyoming Union Pacific freight
Somewhere in Wisconsin, packing up after eating lunch. About to cross the Missouri R. on I-90 in South Dakota. Looking north, up the Missouri. Somewhere in eastern Wyoming. Union Pacific freight, in Wyoming somewhere.
Wyoming I80 - Rawlins WY? I80, Echo Canyon, Utah I80, Echo Canyon, Utah Ruby Mountains, Elko Co., Nevada
Somewhere in Wyoming between Casper and Rawlins. Probably Rawlins WY, making espresso outside the motel. Echo Canyon UT, below I-80. Union Pacific freight in Echo Canyon. Collecting Crataegus rivularis in sight of the Ruby Mts., in northeastern Nevada.
Hat Creek, Shasta Co. CA Crataegus cf. castlegarensis, 
	Hat Creek, Shasta Co. CA Fay Lane, Siskiyou Co. CA Mt. Shasta lunch, L. Okanagan, BC
Hat Creek, Shasta Co. CA. The hillside across the creek is all volcanic ash. The volcanic landscape is very different from what an easterner is used to. Tetraploid Crataegus castlegarensis at Hat Creek, Shasta Co. CA. Fay Lane, Siskiyou Co. CA, where we collected diploid Crataegus suksdorfii. Mount Shasta, seen from the northwest. Note the low hills that resulted from a volcanic explosion 300,000 years ago. Two days later we were back in Canada, having lunch above Lake Okanagan, in British Columbia en route Edgewood.
Inonoaklin River. Frankenthorn farm. Ferry at Needles. Arrow Lake Lupines outside Nakusp.
Just outside Edgewood there's a hawthorn farm. Hawthorns have also been planted to stabilize this bank on the the Inonoaklin River. Jeanette Lee is the person responsible not only for the hawthorn farm, but also for a project aimed at exploiting native BC hawthorns as sources for herbal remedies. After a day being shown around by Jeanette Lee we needed to move on. The way north to the Trans-Canada involves crossing the Columbia R. twice; here, the Needles ferry. Looking down the Columbia R. (here called Lower Arrow Lake). The dams on the BC part of the Columbia changed land uses around here a lot, as they drowned many farms. After that first crossing, en route Nakusp, I took pictures of lupines growing by the side of the road.
Crossing the Rockies from west to east, on the Trans-Canada Highway, is more dramatic than my photos can describe. Some of the highway follows the route taken by the Hudson Bay Company brigades, up the Columbia River, and then across the continental divide and down the rivers on the other side. The fur trade route eventually reached Lake Winnipeg, the Churchill River, and then the ocean. We were less adventurous and made for Calgary, and then the Cypress Hills.
Columbia River outside Golden. Higher up in the mountains. Cypress Hills campsite. First stop. First stop, mid-August. Photo: Beth Dickson
Here is another reach of the Columbia River, seen on our way into Golden. I'm not sure what this river is, except that it's still higher up into the mountains. After getting to Calgary, and stopping with our friends Beth and Richard, we and Beth went along to the Cypress Hills to look for hawthorns. The Cypress Hills evidently were never glaciated, at least during the last glacial period. They're also just high enough to get sufficient rain to support forests. This is the same tree as in the preceding shot, but photographed in August by Beth Dickson. She collected leaves and fruits at that time which she sent us for flow cytometry. Photo © 2007 Beth Dickson.
The first black-fruited tree. Black fruit (almost). Photo: Beth Dickson Oenothera caespitosa Penstemon cf. nitida Geum triflorum
This is on the Saskatchewan side of the Cypress Hills, looking south toward Montana. In the thicket on the right we found the first hawthorns that I was confident would have black fruits... they did, in August, when photographed by Beth Dickson. Here too she collected leaves and fruits that she sent us for flow cytometry. Jim Phipps identified this tree as Crataegus castlegarensis. Photo © 2007 Beth Dickson. When we found this evening primrose we had just driven down a really wretched stretch of road... ...where we also found this penstemon (P. cf. nitida).
A little ways further along we came to a bigger road, had some lunch, and found out where we were from a rancher who drove by.
The next bit was the Gap Road, that leads into the main Saskatchewan park complex. It cuts across really nice prairie that was (a) in bloom, and (b) dry enough to drive across!
Antelope Corallorhiza cf. striata Funny little bog.    
Along the way we met an antelope, and by stopping and being very quiet we were able to let him satisfy his curiousity about us. Later, after getting some supper in Maple Creek, we drove back across the park to the motel where Beth was staying, and to our campsite. Along the way we stopped to collect, and to photograph this Corallorhiza cf. striata. Farther along, we passed this funny little bog that Beth explored briefly. The Cypress Hills have been important for First Nations because of the different plants and animals they support, compared to the surrounding prairie. The novel The Englishman's Boy is set here, in part, and interprets one particularly unhappy part of the history of this beautiful place.
I would have to say the best experience of the whole month was in the Cypress Hills, a geographical feature reknowned in Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan for being slightly less boring than the surrounding landscape (a lot less boring if you're into ecology). Our days there consisted of driving through dirt roads and ridiculous hairpin turns (SO FUN) and stopping every time our resident plant enthusiasts saw something that piqued their interest. Every so often, I would leave the car and take in the sublime majesty of an environment unlike anything I had seen, in which the changing elevation and climate led to an incredible diversity of plant and animal life. The rest of the time I sulked in the car and read Herodotus.


text and images on this site copyright © 2007 M. Shaik, T. A. Dickinson, A. K. Dickinson, and (or) J. S. Dickinson
posted by tim dot dickinson at utoronto dot ca on 31-Dec-2007