Finding pretty flowers and shooting themUPDATE: Since I've moved to Seattle and am in the Cascades more than the Olympics these days, I'm expanding this to album to both ranges.
While on a walk up the trail to Deer Park from Obstruction Point, I took little side hops up Elk Mountain and Maiden Peak, making extraspecialsure to stay on the scree and off of the vegetation. It was only at the top of Elk Mountain that I took a closer look down at what I had so studiously been avoiding. Instead of just one or two types of lichen, I discovered that I had been traipsing by DOZENS of types of small plants. Lichens, little succulents, small leafy sage-like plants -- all kinds of flora! At that moment, I realized that in SummitPost I have a way to catalog all the plants and flowers I'm seeing, that I have a way to compare what I think something is (I'm sometimes a little shaky with guidebook reading) with what someone else thinks it is, and so on.
I know that many SPers make similar albums, and that eventually (or immediately) there's going to be overlap, so I'm just going to treat this as my own personal checklist, and won't ask to add it to the Olympic pages.
---> Looking for a more comprehensive album of Olympic flora? Trust me when I say that OlympicMtnBoy's lovely Olympic Wildflowers album is the place to go.
GuidebooksI'm currently using the Mountaineers' Field Guide to the Cascades and Olympics, and it's served me pretty well. It's not too heavy in my pack and I've only found one item (a thistle burdock (burdock thistle?)) that wasn't listed, and that turned out to be because it's an invasive species.
A friend of mine on flickr uses and recommends the Timber Press' Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest. Next time I see it at a bookstore, I'll give it a good look and maybe pick up a copy.