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Aug 22, 2019
Pretty way to start the day! (Unknown subalpine Sunflower-type)
Today’s post will not have as much text to wade through. I will just let the beauty of the flowers speak for themselves! As “They” say, a picture is worth 1,000 words! Enjoy.
Wildflowers come in every shade of yellow, and I loved their star shape petals. Spearleaf Stonecrop – can be found from the Plains to the Alpine.
Another “stonecrop”, and yet it looks nothing like the last flower! This one is a succulent, called a Ledge Stonecrop (King’s Crown), can be either a subalpine or an alpine flower if it has enough moisture.
Another view of Ledge Stonecrop (King’s Crown), This Stonecrop is one of the few red flowers that I have seen in this area.
Ledge Stonecrop (King’s Crown)
My first conscious contact with Fireweed was during my 2016 Alaska journey, and I fell in love with this delicate flower! Now that I know what it is, I see it everywhere, as well as in earlier photographs. Its common name, Fireweed, was given because it is one of the first plants to come up after fire has swept an area (it doesn’t tolerate being crowded by other plants). Therefore, it was quite visible in my post-Yellowstone-forest-fire photos! But now I also see it along many Colorado roadsides, as well as in other states.
The beautiful and ever-changing Fireweed.
Fireweed is a plant that seems to flower in reverse order, starting from the bottom up! As the summer progresses, the opening blossoms work their way up the stalk. When, one-by-one, the spent blossoms fall off, the stems from previous blossoms turn a rusty color, which adds a whole new color dimension to the plant in late summer and fall.
Ok, that brings the subalpine wildflowers to a close, But there are a couple more photos I want to share with you, because this creature tends to stay down below the treeline in the subalpine areas most of the year, but in summer, will often venture higher to graze and rest in the upper meadows above treeline. I’m talking about the Rocky Mountain Elk. This creature, while a fairly common sight within Rocky Mountain National Park where they are protected, is usually harder to find in places like Mt. Evans. (Though Mt. Evans has other delights all its own!) During our 3-day stint on Mt. Evans, I only saw this herd only once, but they were so far away that I had to stop and look hard to verify they were actually there! These photos should give you an idea of what I mean…
Elk herd, at extreme distance. Yes, there ARE actually elk in this photo- in fact a herd of 50-60 down in the bottom, just above the treeline!
Distant elk herd, enlarged cropped photo. And still the elk are almost impossible to see, looking like rocks or driftwood!
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