Mosses of the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains-- Sobefree 2011

Sobefree 2011

Sobefree 2011 Group

Colin Dillingham &
John Spence at
Lime Saddle Marina

Sobefree, the annual three day moss workshop and wilderness foray founded by Dr. Brent Mishler, was held in the northern Sierra Nevadas this year. Colin Dillingham organized the event, using the Belden Town Resort in the Feather River Canyon in Plumas County as base camp. About fifty people attended Sobefree this year, coming from all over the country. Many top bryologists were there to help us beginners along.

At Lime Saddle Marina
searching for mosses

On the first day Brent Misher and Dan Norris taught the traditional beginners group at Shady Rest Stop along Highway 70. On the second day of Sobefree 2011, we all went as a group to the Lime Saddle Marina and scoured hillsides and rocks for mosses, liverworts, and hornworts. The weather cooperated and we saw a wide variety of bryophytes here. After searching in the area of the marina, we drove around the lake and looked for more bryophytes at the Lime Saddle Campground.
Anthoceros (a hornwort)
at Lime Saddle Campground

One of dozens of
waterfalls in the mountains

Although only at 2000 feet or so elevation, the Feather River Valley receives more than its share of moisture in the form of rain and snow. There were waterfalls everywhere, and bryophytes in great abundance. The Belden Town Resort itself consists of a main lodge alongside the Feather River, surrounded by individual cabins.
Taking a closer look at a moss.

Polytrichum piliferum
a moss at Lime Saddle Marina

We left Lime Saddle Marina and traveled down the Feather River Canyon to Table Mountain. Table Mountain is an amazing flat-topped volcanic mesa with vernal pools and is loaded with mosses and liverworts. We could see rain falling in the flatlands miles in the distance. We collected ephemeral mosses here as well as liverworts. The flowering plants here including the bright orange Lasthenia were in full display.
A creek and vernal pools
at Table Mountain

Keying out mosses in the evening
at Belden Town Resort

After collecting mosses during the daylight hours in the field, we spent the evenings keying out our treasures at Belden Town Resort. Dan Norris and Jim Shevock, authors of a widely used key to the mosses of California, were among the many knowledgeable bryologists available to help us. This was a most enjoyable workshop-- congratulations and many thanks to Colin Dillingham and Brent Mishler for putting it together for us. I'm already looking forward to next year!
Mandy working out a moss ID.

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