Wednesday, September 14, 2016

LepSoc 2016 - Days 10 & 11

This was the final full day of my trip and my last chance for butterflies before the wet and cold weather fully set in across the region. While you might think the following photos look rather warm and sunny, it was deceptively cool across the region and everywhere I wanted to stop for butterflies was mostly clouded over.  I still saw a couple Cabbage Whites on my 7 hour drive home the next day, allowing me to keep my record of seeing at least 1 butterfly every day of my trip! I spent this day driving from Evanston, WY across the north corner of Utah and much of Idaho, with a detour through the Sawtooth and Boise National Forests, driving through Sun Valley, Stanley, and Idaho City. The weather had turned wet and stormy the previous day as I drove across Wyoming, so it was mostly cloudy and too cold for very many butterflies, but I managed to find a productive patch of sunny forest north of Idaho City late in the afternoon.

The first stretch was driving around the south end of Bear Lake and through Logan Canyon in Utah.
Informational sign about the Bear Lake Valley
Informational sign about the Logan Canyon area.
Logan Canyon scenic area
View of Bear Lake from the southeast rim.
Panorama of Bear Lake (click to view full size)

After crossing southeastern Idaho, I was eager to get off the freeway for a while, so I turned north towards Sun Valley. This route is along the edge of the large lava beds that make up Craters of the Moon National Monument (another place I need to visit sometime!). I was expecting it to look more like central Oregon, but it actually reminded me a little more of the dry side of the big island of Hawaii!
Interesting history of the area. You can also see a bit of lava rock peaking out from the vegetative cover.
Edge of the lava beds - that dark line on the horizon are large mounds of barren lava rock!
At a viewpoint north of Sun Valley at the edge of the Sawtooths
I thought this was a pretty sign, a little different than the usual forest signs
(which I still like, there's something about brown and yellow signs that make me all warm and fuzzy inside, I love forests!)
Panorama from the viewpoint, looking northwest across the valley (click to view at full size)

Near Elk Creek RV Park
Erynnis icelus Dreamy Duskywing, 1
Papilio eurymedon Pale Tiger Swallowtail, 1
Lycaena editha Edith's Copper, 13+
Satyrium sylvinus Sylvan's Hairstreak, 1
Callophrys behrii Behr's Hairstreak, 3
Phyciodes pulchella Field Crescent, 1
Speyeria cybele Great Spangled Fritillary, 1 male
Limenitis lorquini Lorquin's Admiral, 1 male

The sunny spot I found, where a few flowers were still blooming in the dry forest, attracting several butterflies.
Looking southwest from my "sunny spot"
Pale Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio eurymedon) in the Boise National Forest

The following day I drove the final 7 hours or so back home from western Idaho. All told, I drove a total of 3,701 miles through 7 states (WA, OR, ID, NV, UT, CO, WY) and 12 national forests. I had a blast and look forward to my next big adventure, but am glad to be back home for a while!
Panorama of the Columbia River from eastern Oregon, looking north to Washington - almost home! (click for full size)


  1. Hi Caitlin - Your road trip has been impressive to see unfold on your blog. Art Shapiro from UC Davis sent out a rare blog recommendation to his peeps. I suspect this fellow in WA was likely a former student: Figured you might be interested.