Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


Strike that, reverse it.

Instead of getting my wife some flowers that will just die for Mother's Day, we decided to take some time out of the weekend to go look at some flowers, courtesy of the fine folks at Puget Sound Energy, who offered guided wild flower tours of the Wild Horse Wind and Solar facility

I am one of the first people to poke fun of the Eastern Washington landscape, which for 9 months of the year is 50 shades of brown...but, during the spring and early summer, we do get some green, and then beautiful pops and seas of color as the wild flowers of the Shrub Steppe bloom. 

Western Mountain Aster


It wasn't all just pretty flowers...there was also some education involved.  The Wild Horse Wind Farm occupies over 11,000 acres(with the actual mechanical footprint being just over 150 acres) and PSE tries to do some good outreach on the site.  There is a nice little visitors center, and in addition to the guided wild-flower tours, you can get recreation permits for free hiking, or tours of the actual 350 foot wind turbines.  I'm not always a fan of the wind farms and the way they break up the great outdoors, but after getting a close up look at the facility, I can see that the mule deer and elk don't seem very disturbed by the big white trees. 

The variety of flowers was nice.  We missed the beautiful purple lupine that grows, but we caught the sulfur lupine(more cream/light yellow) in color...but what really surprised me was the variety of buckwheat(not the grain).  There are something like 5-6 different varieties, with thyme buckwheat having the most interesting flowers.

As pretty as the flowers and the view were, the real reward was getting to spend the day with my wife and kids.  At one point, two tour buses full of students from CWU pulled in, and I kept giving my wife grief that she had better go hide before she got mistaken for one of the college girls.

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