Saturday, February 4, 2012

Okanogan Highlands in Winter...

The diversity of the Okanogan Highlands, (spelled and pronounced
Okanagan in Canada) an international area between southern British Columbia, Canada and Northeastern Washington State, U. S.A., is vast. Spanning an area of over 5 million acres, with multiple mountain ranges including the Monashee, the Kettle River range, the Okanogan Range and the northeastern foothills of the North Cascades this area encompasses a layering of complex eco-systems. Rivers in the area include the Similkameen, the Okanogan, the Kettle and the Columbia. This album will focus on the winter season of the Okanogan Highlands, which lasts from late October through April (elevation specific).
Remember to double click on an image to see the larger version.
The wildfire scars of 7,140'  Copper Butte in the Kettle River Range are easily seen as winter blankets the mountain steppes. This landscape is representative of the eastern reaches of the Okanogan Highlands in Ferry County.
Photo by J. Foster Fanning
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Forests in the Okanogan Highlands, Winter

The forests of the Okanogan Highlands vary by elevation, aspect and geographic location within the Highlands themselves. Mid, southern slopes can be a mixture of open spaced, towering Ponderosa Pines and encroaching Douglas Fir with the higher regions giving way to Lodge pole Pine and Alpine Fir. Mountainous wetlands are usually cottonwoods with large, branchy Spruce. Quaking Aspen groves are found on moist but open slopes. The hot, dry summers and heavy fuel loading on many of the mountain slopes equate to a fire prone ecology in these highlands. Many of the panoramic photographs I post of this area show the scars where large scale forest fires have traversed the landscape.
A dense stand of aspens mixed with cottonwood, scrub birch, and wildrose, during an early winter snow storm in the Kettle River Valley of the Okanogan Highlands. Photograph by J. Foster Fanning

On the mountain slopes above the riverside village of Curlew in Ferry County a ridgeline forest of open Ponderosa Pine is shrouded in winter mists after a warm, wet snowfall.
J. Foster Fanning, photographer

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Summits in the Okanogan Highlands, Winter

Ferry County, Washington, contributed to a total of 120 named mountain summits and peaks in the Okanogan Highlands. Okanogan County adds another approximate 80 named mountains. My personal expertise is skewed toward the United States side of the highlands and I do not have an accurate account of the number of named summits and peaks in the Canadian portion of the highlands.

Mount Bonaparte, at 7,257 feet (2,211.93 meters) is located in northeastern Okanogan County, Washington State. This lone summit monadnock is the highest peak in the Okanogan Highlands south of the Canadian border. Mount Bonaparte is within the Okanogan / Wenatchee National Forest and has a fire lookout tower in it’s summit still staffed during the summer season.
Big White Mountain summit at 7,595 ft, (2,315 m) is the highest mountain of the Okanogan Highland. This peak also dominates Beaverdell Range which lies between the Okanogan Valley to its west and the main spine of the Monashee Mountains to its east. Big White lies between the head of the Kettle River and the source of Damfino Creek.
Photography ~ J. Foster Fanning
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