Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Salicornia europaea

June 17
Someday I will get a better photo from the Takhini salt flats, but the one below will have to do for now.
Going to town, I drive by the salt flats. This is a rather unique place. Today I did have an hour to walk onto them. I park my car in the bottom of the dip just east of the Takhini bridge, on the Alaska Hwy. I walk towards the flats on the west side of the Little ponds. Right away I see all kind of birds in the bushes and in the water. I climb through the old fencing. This used to be used as a grazing area for horses. I go towards the salt flat slightly towards the east. One can kind of see this one from the highway. I spot a bird and take a picture, I thought it would be a Killdeer and looking at my photo's at home I see that it is, it has two black rings on his chest. For its name and looks I always think this is kind of a neat bird. On the photo you can also see what the salt flats look like. The reddish is the Salicornia europaea. In Holland along the north sea we call it 'Zeekraal'. Here I don't know a good name for it. Somebody did name it , but I am not even going there. Maybe they should just call it 'salt horn'. Which is, I think, the exact translation of the Latin name. By the way; it makes a tasty snack. (added on June 23 2008; I appologize, the English name is, Glasswort. And it is a very worthy name. I learned today that from the ashes of this plant, glass can be made and was done so in England.)

I stay on the west side of the flats. I am always drawn to go as close to the water as I can. But you might not like to that, it's rather mucky. I walk towards a certain group of Spruce on drier land slightly northward. In between those trees, that are still in the open, there is the start of an old horse trail. I follow the horse trail, through the open forest with lots of dead fall.
By a little meadow stay on the east side and continue north and you will pick up the trail again. When you loose the trail again, just look up and through the trees you see a salt lake.

I did swim here once, and it was lovely. You have to be kind of brave in a certain way. I suggest you take a couple of young kids. They are fearless when it comes to water. And there is little change of loosing them as it is shallow and calm.

When I come to the lake, On the other side in the far distant there is a dark mere with a white foal. With the backdrop of mountains its an exquisite sight. I have heard that some of the horses
that were kept here , have gone wild. These might be two of them.

For the birds, the rare plants and the horses, I have a great longing to come back soon. I might even go for a swim. But now I have to run, 'have to be in town.

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