The View from Hilaria Hill

Last month during a quick trip down the northeast side of the Bodie Hills along NF-028 (a.k.a. Ninemile Ranch Road), I turned onto NF-128 and drove a short distance up the low northern slope of the Bodie Hills.

Red Wash Creek(See Flickr for a panoramic version of this photo)

There has been some prospecting in this area, but not much mining, so there are few roads through the relatively undisturbed pinyon-juniper woodland and few names on the features in this landscape. The drainage on the left side of this view is Red Wash Creek (which is usually dry), but none of these hills have names. Let’s call the place where I’m standing “Hilaria Hill,” because . . .

Hilaria jamesiiHilaria jamesii

Walking around on this low hill, I quickly encountered Galetta (Hilaria jamesii), a native grass that inhabits much of the arid southwest. Here, less than a mile from the southern boundary of Lyon County, Nevada, we are on the very westernmost edge of the species’ range.

Tetradimia spinosaTetradimia spinosa

Other plants here include the viciously armed Shortspine horsebrush (Tetradimia spinosa), the lovely Desert globemallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) and the virtually leafless Nevada Mormon Tea (Ephedra nevadensis). There are lots more — I need to explore this place some more and go farther up the road. South of here there are some hydrothermally altered soils with Jeffrey pines that are disjunct from their primary range along the east side of the Sierra Nevada.

Sphaeralcea ambiguaSphaeralcea ambigua

Ephedra nevadensisEphedra nevadensis

Copyright © Tim Messick 2015. All rights reserved.

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