On our drive back to the Bay Area from the JMT/PCT, we stopped several times along the road, smelling this and looking for that. (This is what you do when your friends/hiking companions run a wildcrafted soap/incense/perfume etc. company.) One of the most aromatic plants in the area – one that you could instantly smell as soon as you rolled down the windows – is Chamaebatia foliolosa, more commonly known as Mountain Misery. It gets its name for the wildly resinous and sticky leaves that adhere to just about anything. It’s scent is unpleasant to some, but a few of us (including me), were absolutely transfixed by the somewhat innocuous fern-looking plant.
In any case, look for Mountain Misery next time you’re out in the Sierras. Kitkiddizze, Gary Snyder’s famous homestead built in the early 70s, is named after the local Wintun Indian word for Bear Clover, also known as – yes, you guessed it – Mountain Misery.