July 5, 2012

Colorado Vacation: Rocky Mountain Wildflowers

I've slowly (but steadily) been going through photos from our trip to Colorado in June.
One of the things I had looked forward to about our trip was the mountain wildflowers.
Our visit was on the early side of the season, and it was dry.  There was very low snowfall out that way over the winter. (Large wildfires were beginning in the state while we were there.) 
So there weren't vast rainbow covered slopes like my imagination may have envisioned.  But we still saw many flowers, and much variety.
There was one particular mountain above the timber line.  Our family was all alone up there in the wide open (windy!) space..  and there were tiny, delicate, dwarf flowers of every color.  It was amazing. 
The following blooms were mostly found between 10,000 and 13,000 feet in the Tenmile Range area.

I was able to recognize most of the flowers, at least by family.
No mistaking an Iris.  A cousin to our Northern Iris.  This was probably the most abundant & widespread of the flowers we saw.  Especially at less-high altitudes.
Shooting Star.  
We have this in MN, but nowhere near our region. I've never had the fortune of seeing it before. 
Just one patch, found on the White River Forest side of Boreas Pass.
 
Purple fringe.  Wide spread. 
 
White Marsh Marigolds.  
Near drainage areas & stream beds & at Kite Lake.

Delicate Fairy Trumpet. 
Spotted at Iowa Hill.  Another isolated find.
Asters.

Paintbrush was starting to come in thick in areas. 
We saw Orange (Wyoming), & Scarlet. 
Colorado also has a variety called Rosy Paintbrush.
I saw a few Yellow Paintbrush just starting to open, too.
 Alpine Bluebells.
Few-flowered Loco

There were lots of lupine leaves growing in some areas..
We were a early for their blooms, but there were a few.
I believe these yellow flowers are called Groundsel.
 
Alpine Phlox! 
This was on top of the mountain with the tiny growing flowers, in the Hoosier Pass area, above the treeline.  An alpine tundra grower.   From a distance it's commonly mistaken for snow.
There were micro-scatterings of Forget-Me-Nots. 
And a world of flowers too tiny to single them all out.
Bright colored Anemone.
Seen along the dry Kite Lake Road & on a bank of the Blue River Reservoir.
 
Beautiful Pasque Flower. 
Spotted a patch of them in the Buckskin Creek area.
Currant, with some viscous thorns.  Boreas Pass woods walk.
These sunny blooms were seen throughout wooded Aspen areas.
Another tiny one that had my chin to the dirt. 
 Member of the pea family.
Blue Flax opening up.
There were Wild Strawberry & Wild Rose everywhere, which I failed to photograph because I'm so used to seeing them at home.   
And so many others I missed, since I'm always falling behind taking photos and then in a hurry to catch up, and because there were just so many.  
 
We loved the mountain wildflowers of Colorado! 

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