There are regions of the park that are not as easily accessible as the field trip route but which contain unusual habitats and some species of plants rarely encountered in this area. They can only be reached by "bushwhacking," which results in close encounters with biting and stinging insects, thorny plants, and lots of mud. It is very easy to get lost in the unmarked areas of Lick Creek Park and we recommend that visitors not stray from the developed paths. Instead, let us show you some of the more interesting places.

One unusual location in the park is the Mesa, a small rocky hill. It is difficult to reach traveling cross country, which is probably good because it is a rather fragile habitat.

The Mesa isn't very tall or very steep, but its thin, rocky soil is unique to the park this area in general and supports some interesting plants.

After a bit of searching, we found the Coryphantha missouriensis we'd been seeking. Other than Opuntia (Prickly Pear), this is the only cactus genus locally. The plants are round and squat. The pale greenish-yellow flowers are nearly as big as the plants themselves.

The fruits are small and red. They give the squatty little plants the appearance of earth- bound Christmas wreaths.

We also found Zigadenus nuttallii an attractive but toxic plant, as hinted by its common name of Death Camas. This is the only population we know of that exists in Lick Creek Park, although it is somewhat common in this area.


Chapter 15 - Rocky Creek

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