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