Piper’s Bellflower (Campanula piperi)
A long car ride followed by a steep and crowded trail were suddenly made worthwhile when we spotted these endemic bellflowers growing in-between the rocks very near the top of Mt. Ellinor. Our photo frenzy of these crevice-loving plants was cut short by a family of fearless goats that got close enough to send rocks tumbling over our heads.
The term endemic refers to native plants that are only found in one specific area. The Olympic Mountain Range is home to several such plants. The peninsula acts like an island refuge, producing unique flora adapted only to those conditions.
The goats we encountered, on the other hand, are not endemic; in fact they are not native to the Olympics. They are native to the nearby Cascade range, however, and were the focus of a multi-year relocation project that began in 2018 and finished up last month. Apparently the group we encountered managed to stay behind. As in other mountain goat encounters we’ve had, these goats were not at all afraid of us or other hikers, which, considering their size and horns, was a bit disconcerting.
On a side note: When encountering groups of goats (which seems to happen to us much more frequently in the past few years), it’s tempting to think of them as a family, but in fact we’ve learned that goats generally travel in same-sex groupings.
- The entire sky
- Leans in all directions
- Trying to match your blue.
- Edward L. Tisch, Olympic Flora