Wildflowers

Our backpacking trip was beautiful on many levels. The big picture views were stunning – mountains, lakes, meadows, sky — but things were just as delightful when looked at the scene up close. I was surprised by the number and variety of wildflowers growing everywhere – in the meadow, along the streams, in the cracks of rocks, and on the slopes above Lake Emmaline. Naturally, I took a ton of flower pictures. (A ton of pictures translates to 50 or 100. My total photo count for this 48-hour trip was over 300…) It’s hard to pare them down, but I want to share a few of the more extraordinary ones.

The Colorado state flower is the Colorado columbine. While the name has taken on unfortunate negative connotations, the flower itself is stunning. I was delighted to see several examples on our hikes, including a little patch of them on the slope facing Emmaline lake.

Colorado Columbine
Colorado Columbine

Tucked between some rocks nearby, Kurt spotted a tiny pink flower that I’ve identified as moss campion. I put a pocket knife in the frame for scale.

Moss Campion
Moss Campion

Kurt also found a little garden of red, blue, and yellow flowers (which I have yet to identify). You couldn’t see them until you were standing in the space between two boulders.

As we hiked back down from the lake to the meadow, I noticed this plucky little flower growing inches from the edge of a receding snow bank. The tenacity of some of these flowers is inspiring.

Before going up to the lake, Kurt and I took a short hike around the meadow and saw several different wildflowers along the way. The first was this parry primrose growing right on the edge of the stream.

Parry Primrose
Parry Primrose

The Rydberg penstemon was in a sunny space along the trail. I took a lot of unsatisfactory pictures of this flower, but finally got one that was clear.

Rydberg Penstemon
Rydberg Penstemon

We saw scarlet paintbrush all along the trail from the car to the meadow.

Scarlet Paintbrush
Scarlet Paintbrush

This patch of narrow-leaved penstemon gives you a sense of the abundance of the flowers during our hikes. All the shots I tried to take of banks of wildflowers were disappointing at best. The flowers are so small, they disappear in photos taken from a distance.

Narrow-leaved Penstemon
Narrow-leaved Penstemon
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Kit Dunsmore

Kit Dunsmore has believed in the magic underlying the muggle world since she was a child searching for the Shetland pony pooka she was sure was hiding in her back yard. She learned early on that books were magic doors into other worlds, and that she could revisit a beloved character or place by opening the right book. As she grew, she decided she wanted to make magic with words, too. Today Kit writes about things she loves: poodles and dragons, witches and artists, quirky underdogs and loyal friends. Whether her setting is 6th-century England, the imaginary Twelve Kingdoms, or an art-obsessed version of modern America, magic always finds its way into her story. She enjoys turning fairy tales inside out and watching characters sacrifice everything to reach their goal, but she also believes in happy endings. When she isn't writing, Kit experiences magic by making things with her hands. Over the years, she's made quilts, fabric sculptures, collages, sweaters, and blank books. Her newest interest is learning how to spin her own yarn, a skill guaranteed to strengthen one of her many delusions: that she is a self-sufficient pioneer woman. She also thinks she is a hobbit, a witch, an artist, and a good cook. Living in the foothills of Colorado, Kit enjoys the giant skies and prairie landscapes which suit her need for wide open spaces. In addition to hiking through glorious scenery with her husband or imagining herself living in the Middle Ages, Kit works as a pillow for her miniature poodle and polishes the next small piece of her handmade life.

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