Living – Places: 16
We returned to the Eagle Wind Trail and were rewarded with the first signs of spring. I love the way Sprawling Daisies are reddish as buds, then open into a vibrant white and yellow flower.
I see a sea lion braying in this gnarled old trunk.
I love the way the old root wraps protectively around this bunch of tiny yellow flowers.
The Twin Guides.
A beautiful old wall runs up the hillside.
The theme of our next hike was spring emerging. The North St. Vrain Creek was running hard.
We walked the trail from the Wild Basin entrance to Hidden Falls.
Wallflower soaking up the spring sun.
That special shine of freshly opened leaves.
The trail leading off into beauty.
Wild Basin is a quite wide and flat valley between two ridges coming down from the peaks of the Continental Divide. The creek meanders through the marshy valley floor forming many small rivulets and ponds. It must be paradise for moose.
A nice glimpse of the mountains to the west.
There is a small waterfall visible just in the center of this hillside.
Hand painted art.
A young Douglas Fir soaking up the spring sunshine.
Fairy Slipper, a beautiful, delicate orchid, unfortunately endangered.
Further up Wild Basin, the creek was roaring down the steep valley.
Another view from the same spot, but looking up stream.
Our lunch spot at the foot of Hidden Falls. The last time we were here a few months ago, it was entire frozen. Now just a few bits of ice remain. We were sitting on a huge jagged boulder looking almost straight up at the falls with its massive overhangs of rock. It was impossible for me not to think a little bit about the fact that the boulder we were sitting on and all the big boulders around us had smashed down from those overhangs at some time in the past, and judging from the fresh color of some of them, it wasn't the ancient past!
Vibrant spring green Boulder Raspberry leaves just emerging at the foot of Hidden Falls.
A fairly young Green Gentian. I love this plant now that I know its story. Also known as Monument Plant, it grows low to the ground for 20 to 80 years before shooting up a flower stalk that's as much as five feet tall, after which it dies.
Our next hike took us up the Boulder Brook Trail near the Storm Pass Trailhead.
The forest was thick, but in places the sun shone through beautifully.
Arnica spilling down the hillside.
I really enjoyed the way the sun lit up these freshly emerged leaves against the dark forest floor.
And up and up we followed the brook.
Finally, we got high enough to see the mountains across the way.
Symphony in green major.
We were in full sun, but the clouds were playing games across the landscape.
A close up of the mountains.
Hiking back down through the high-altitude pine forest.
The mountain ranges in the Glacier Gorge area, seen across an open grassy area full of wildflowers.
A beautiful mountain rock, looking almost like a giant toad.
We ended up at Sprague Lake.
I think this is one of the most beautiful areas in Rocky Mountain National Park.
There were beautiful clumps of some type of wild mustard along the shoreline of Sprague Lake, brilliant yellow in the sun.