Cascade-Siskiyou Biodiversity Hotspot

The final two days of the expedition saw our team walking once more from California into the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument in Oregon.

It was immediately apparent that we were in a rich bio-diverse region. The pine forests gave way to mixed pine, oak and a vast array of flowering plants. The rolling hills covered with a mix of grasses and junipers, cedars and oaks made for some of the expedition’s most memorable hiking.

The Cascade Siskiyou National Monument forms a biodiversity bridge between the Cascade Mountain Range and the Siskiyou Wilderness running to the coast. This is one of the most biodiverse rich areas of the USA and an important corridor for many species. However, the I5 highway acts as an effective barrier for many species. Wolf OR-7 himself has crossed this stretch of highway more than once, and it seems lucky he made it across alive.

We came across the tracks of bear, bear rubbing posts and a ritual bear trail. Deer and rabbit tracks abounded, mountain lion scrapes and coyote scat were also evident all along our route. The land Wolf OR-7 trekked through on his journey back into Oregon is a place of immense beauty and intact ecology, and certainly ready for a wolf pack it seemed.

Pilot Rock became the dominant landscape feature on the last evening, and it framed the rising full moon with Mount Shasta in the distance as we walked in moonlight. What a fitting end to an expedition in the tracks of a wolf to have a full moon on our last night.

 

Image: Walking in the Siskiyou National Monument – photo by David Moskowitz