BoSEHS - Crabtree Meadows and Guitar Lake (Day 6,7)

Mark Walker MWalker at
Wed Sep 1 20:46:20 EDT 1999

Butterflies of the South Eastern High Sierra:
(a field report from the uppermost wilderness which follows a 9-day trek
shared by my son and I and BSA Troop 661 of Mission Viejo, CA)

Day Six - Crabtree Meadows (8/11/99)

Leaving the Wright Lakes Basin was a little difficult (especially on account
of the backpack, which I had gotten real used to NOT carrying).  Saying
goodbye to the trout was also difficult.  The cross country hike out of the
basin was pleasant, however, and the weather cooperated and brought out many
wonderful butterflies.  Again, the lesser Fritillaries were the most common,
especially down at these lower elevations (~10,000).  We saw more of the
butterflies that have already been recorded - Sulphurs, Coppers, and an
occasional High Sierra Blue.  In one meadow I spent an hour observing
dragonflies - these were everywhere.  The hike to Crabtree Meadows included
several 800' ascents and descents, and our legs were finally starting to
feel strong.

Day Seven - Guitar Lake (8/12/99)

This was my 15th wedding anniversary.  Too bad my wife wasn't there to enjoy
it with me (can you say "marriage counseling"?).  Actually, I knew she was
thrilled that I could be spending it with my son.  The hike up to Guitar
Lake (aptly named because it's shaped just like an acoustic guitar) was
quite pleasant, and included many lakes and meadows that were filled with
leps.  There were more butterflies sighted on this leg than on any other.
The Lustrous Copper was particularly common along this stretch.  Both males
and females would perch right on the sand and rocks, flashing reddish
orange.  New species included the Nivalis Copper (Lycaena nivalis) and the
Northern Blue (Lycaeides idas), the former actively mating.  Once at Guitar
Lake (> 12,000), the boys settled in for some wrestling, racing, and human
pyramid building.  There was no end to their energy.  After a swim in the
lake, I went into the adjoining meadow for some observation.  I saw one
large Speyeria fly past me and over the lake - no id, but it wasn't a lesser
Frit.  There were more of the Orange Sulphurs engaging in mating ritual.
There were more Behr's Sulphurs also, and perhaps even another unidentified
Colias that was yellow but not eurytheme.  A day flying species of underwing
moth was also common.

Even at this high altitude, the butterflies continued to fly well into the
evening.  The temperature was in the high 70's F.  The view was heavenly.
Seven days in the back country - it couldn't get much better than this.
Except for that nagging craving for a root beer float...

Mark Walker
still in Houston, TX

More information about the Leps-l mailing list