Living – Places: 16

2014 (continued)

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.

Small, delicate aisies with a hundred thin white petals and a bright yellow center

I see a sea lion braying in this gnarled old trunk.

An old Ponderosa trunk with a snout, a small knot eye, and two branch stubs that look like arms/flippers

I love the way the old root wraps protectively around this bunch of tiny yellow flowers.

An old gray weathered root with flowers

The Twin Guides.

Mount Meeker and Longs Peak visible beneath a stormy sky

A beautiful old wall runs up the hillside.

An old rock wall, tinted green with lichen

The theme of our next hike was spring emerging. The North St. Vrain Creek was running hard.

The creek was at its springtime peak´╗┐, spilling over its banks

We walked the trail from the Wild Basin entrance to Hidden Falls.

Our first glimpse of the mountains through the forest

Wallflower soaking up the spring sun.

Small golden yellow flowers facing the sun

That special shine of freshly opened leaves.

A branch of just-opened leaves

Oregon grape.

A clump of small yellow flowers in a circle of sun surrounded by shadow

The trail leading off into beauty.

Garima walking up the trail into a stand of trees

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.

Garima standing at the edge of the marshy area of Wild Basin

Whisk-broom Parsley.

Clumps of tiny yellow flowers on long thin stalks

A nice glimpse of the mountains to the west.

The trail crosses a grassy area and then enters a thick forest, with snow covered mountain peaks above

There is a small waterfall visible just in the center of this hillside.

A steep rocky hillside dressed in dark green pines and spring green aspens with a barely visible waterfall in the center

Hand painted art.

A lichen splashed boulder in pale greens and yellow, with some dark brown contrast

A young Douglas Fir soaking up the spring sunshine.

A small fir bathed in sunshine

Fairy Slipper, a beautiful, delicate orchid, unfortunately endangered.

A small group of lilac-colored orchids bathed in dappled sunlight on the forest floor

Further up Wild Basin, the creek was roaring down the steep valley.

The creek at this point is almost all whitewater, crashing down over the boulders the form the creek bed

Another view from the same spot, but looking up stream.

The creek rushes down the narrow channel between thick pine forest and beneath a deep blue sky with some cottony white clouds

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!

Thin, high waterfall falling down an almost vertical face onto a couple ledges just above us

Vibrant spring green Boulder Raspberry leaves just emerging at the foot of Hidden Falls.

The first fresh green leafs of what will become a bigger bush

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.

Beautifully healthy young Green Gentian on a pine needle strewn forest floor

Our next hike took us up the Boulder Brook Trail near the Storm Pass Trailhead.

Our first glimpse of Boulder Brook flowing through a young aspen forest

The forest was thick, but in places the sun shone through beautifully.

As the hillside steepened, the brook ran harder

Arnica spilling down the hillside.

Flowering Wild Arnica in full sun

I really enjoyed the way the sun lit up these freshly emerged leaves against the dark forest floor.

A tall, thin stalk with brightly lit young leaves highlighted against a dark forest floor

And up and up we followed the brook.

The brook crashing down the hillside and over lichen-painted boulders

Finally, we got high enough to see the mountains across the way.

A beautiful pine covered rock outcropping with a glimpse of the mountain range beyond

Symphony in green major.

A thickly forested hillside with a mix of dark green pines and lighter-green aspens

We were in full sun, but the clouds were playing games across the landscape.

Brightly lit mountain range beyond a cloud shadowed valley seen through a forest of high-altitude pines

A close up of the mountains.

A closer view of the mountains seen through the pines

Hiking back down through the high-altitude pine forest.

The pines up higher are shorter so the forest feels more open

The mountain ranges in the Glacier Gorge area, seen across an open grassy area full of wildflowers.

Yellow and white wildflowers with the mountains beyond

A beautiful mountain rock, looking almost like a giant toad.

A rock striped with a dark and light gray grain pattern

We ended up at Sprague Lake.

A wide-angle view of Sprague Lake with the moutains byond

I think this is one of the most beautiful areas in Rocky Mountain National Park.

A closer view of the rugged mountains towering over Sprague Lake

There were beautiful clumps of some type of wild mustard along the shoreline of Sprague Lake, brilliant yellow in the sun.

Vibrant yellow flowers in a large clump surrounded by deep green shore grasses

< Previous · Next >