Monthly Archives: May 2016

Botanizing in May at Grover Hot Springs State Park

Meadow at Grover Hot Springs

Meadow at Grover Hot Springs State Park

In eastern California, the next State Park north of Bodie is Grover Hot Springs. Both are in the  Sierra District of the State Parks system and many park staff have worked both places. The Friends of Grover Hot Springs is affiliated with the Bodie Foundation. So the two parks have close ties. From where I live in the Sacramento Valley, Grover is just a short detour off the mid-point of my usual route down State Route 89 to the Bodie Hills and Mono Basin. And Grover has been a favorite camping destination for my family (and many others) for many years.

Hot Springs Creek

Hot Springs Creek during spring runoff

It’s been a good spring this year in the eastern Sierra Nevada, with the best spring runoff and the best spring flowers many areas have seen in several years. I visited Grover Hot Springs State Park in mid-May (2016) and found many early-season plants in full bloom.

Sarcodes sanguinea

Snowplant (Sarcodes sanguinea)

Ceanothus prostratus

Mahala mat (Ceanothus prostratus)

Madia exigua

Miniature tarweed (Hemizonella minima)

Senecio integerrimus

Western groundsel (Senecio integerrimus)

Mimulus nanus

Dwarf monkeyflower (Mimulus nanus)

Mimulus nanus

Dwarf monkeyflower (Mimulus nanus)

Balsamorhiza sagittata

Arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata)

Ribes velutinum

Desert Gooseberry (Ribes velutinum)

Hesperochiron californicus

California hesperochiron (Hesperochiron californicus)

Phlox diffusa

Spreading phlox (Phlox diffusa)

Copyright © Tim Messick 2016. All rights reserved.

Hops in the Bodie Hills

Bodie’s miners relaxed with a variety of beverages and there were (according to several sources) as many as 65 saloons in the business of satisfying their needs. Among the choices available to them were beers produced locally at several different breweries. In the 1880s there were (according to at least 6 breweries operating in Bodie. Hops (Humulus lupulus) can be found growing today in sheltered locations outside several old houses in Bodie. Were these merely ornamental, or were some locally grown hops used to flavor locally produced beers? I’ve yet to find documentation that any locally grown hops were actually used by the breweries here, but the question is intriguing. It’s likely that hops for the breweries were of necessity imported from Carson Valley, Owens Valley, or even the Central Valley west of Sonora.


Humulus lupulus growing in downtown Bodie

Hops are not native to the Bodie Hills, but there are varieties of hop that are apparently native to the American midwest and southwest. The kind cultivated here at Bodie and throughout much of the world for beer-making is the European or common hop, Humulus lupulus var. lupulus. Its relation to certain other intoxicating plants is indicated by its inclusion in the family Cannabaceae.

Bodie Club: Cold Beer

In the IOOF building

Licensed to sell Beer

A license to sell “legalized beverages”


Another hops plant in Bodie (circa 1980)

Copyright © Tim Messick 2016. All rights reserved.