A spectacular high Sierra Nevada valley is the subject of a new wildflower guide called Rock Creek Wildflowers, published by the California Native Plant Society. Little Lakes Valley, at the head of Rock Creek Canyon, has been a favorite of flower-lovers, hikers, anglers, climbers, and sight-seers for generations. Local botanist, Cathy Rose, and photographer, Stephen Ingram, have teamed up to produce a highly portable and user-friendly guide to the most common plants of the valley, starting at the trailhead at Mosquito Flat and covering the trails from Mono Pass to Morgan Pass.
Besides wildflowers, Rock Creek Wildflowers includes trees, shrubs, ferns, grasses, and sedges. 125 different species are profiled with descriptions of the plant, lore and history, and a diagnostic photograph. Special places along the trails are highlighted to help wildflower lovers find their favorite plants. Included in the book is a panoramic photo identifying the peaks surrounding the valley as well as a map with trails, lakes, peaks, and other features.
The author, Cathy Rose, began studying plants in Yosemite under the tutelage of the renowned botanist Carl Sharsmith and has enjoyed leading nature field trips throughout California ever since. For many years, Cathy has spent summers at the base of Rock Creek Canyon and she wrote Rock Creek Wildflowers to share her love of the place and the plants with others. “I loved the experience of writing the book because it involved close study, both on site and through the literature of botany in the Sierra, and I discovered details and lore that were fascinating,” said Cathy.
Stephen Ingram is a well-known local photographer specializing in Eastern Sierra flora, fauna, and landscapes. He studied botany at UC Santa Barbara and authored a book called “Cactus, Agaves, and Yuccas of California and Nevada,” published by Cachuma Press in 2008. Stephen remarked, “I’ve been drawn to the incredible abundance and diversity of flowers as well as the beautiful high mountain backdrop in Little Lakes Valley for over 20 years. It’s a wonderful area to explore and photograph!”
Rock Creek Wildflowers is available at local bookstores and Visitors Centers in Mammoth and Bishop, as well as at Rock Creek Lakes Resort, which is conveniently located on the way to a trail that leads through an unforgettable valley full of flowers.