On a tall rock face, scoured by wind, rain, ice and snow; alternately baked and frozen, dripping wet and bone-dry; bereft of soil, hard and knife-edged; lichens, mosses, ferns, and even trees find a foothold and happily settle in.
|Cliff face over my head, beside Upper Campbell Lake. Bottle-brush moss lines the cracks, small lumps of dark brown moss speckle the bare face of the rock. There's even a bit of grass taking advantage of a dip.|
|Across the lake: yellow and green mosses basking in watery afternoon sunshine.|
The moss is a primary colonizer; it traps bits of dust from the air and crumbling rock, and adds its own organic detritus. Other hardy plants and animals find shelter and nutrients under the moss, and a community is born.
|Licorice ferns, three kinds of lichens, pine needles from the trees above, and mosses. The white stuff behind the ferns is snow.|
|A haircap moss, growing on the rock face.|
|At the foot of the cliff, on a cement wall (no more hospitable than the cliff). Moss and its spore cases.|
And under and through all this green life, beetles, ants, springtails, and assorted flies go about their business. There's good eating up there on the mossy crags!
|Still here. Where the arrow points to lichen.|