I camped Saturday night up in
So I worked my way up a few hundred feet up heading South to the main East-West spur bordering Dell’s Canyon on the South, and started hiking up the spur-ridge. The going was moderate-to-easy, the footing excellent, and I had plenty of time to look around.
The cambium is like a layer of stem cells, undifferentiated cells, that turn into either phloem or xylem. Phloem carries the products of photosynthesis to the various parts of the tree. Xylem carries water up from the roots and to the branches and leaves. The force that carries the water up the trunk is the suction/vacuum of the water, like when you drink through a straw. As water evaporates through the stomata (pores) of the leaves/needles/scales, more water is drawn up, continuing the straw action. The tension in the super-thin xylem tubes is extremely high- like a piano wire.
Utah Juniper can live for several hundred or even over a thousand years, and doesn’t start producing seeds for at least 30 years. Like all conifers, junipers are wind-pollinated (most Utah Juniper is monoecious, but about 10% are dioecious, bearing only male or female cones), but require a dispersal agent for the seeds. Juniper cones are super-compact spheres, commonly (but erroneously) called “berries”, each of which bears 1 or 2 seeds. The seeds are commonly dispersed by various critters, such as jackrabbits, eating the “berries” and then passing the seeds. The passage through the digestive track actually speeds germination.
As stage 2 ended and I reached the ridge, and as I began the crest traverse (stage 3) the ground footing and handholds became loose and treacherous, and picked my way gingerly to avoid a tumble. Here’s a pic of a typical crest section. The views both East and West were spectacular; this is the only range that I know of with salt flats on both sides.