We continued on our way treading lightly over fell fields and pockets of snow. After all the delicate ranunculaceae family, the next to show itself was one of my favorite sedums. Oh yes there were plenty of pedicularis, trifoium and phacelia bedded into the small black shale-y kind of fill in these rock beds. Then I stopped in my tracks. A globe of white fuzz on green stems- wow - is it the bud rising from Gilia
(or is it Ipomopsis
now a days?) globularis
? Even the stems were shaggy - a truly retro '60ies plant. Looking further up the hill, there was bloom.
Bulbs were also showing - Lloydia serotina
, which never seems to last long in my home garden was there in force. That is to say a plant was here, a plant there, not many together, but always within the field of vision.
We stumbled through low brush at times - salix for the most part. Finally we reached a vista and looked back toward the Ten Mile Range. The sun was gone and storm clouds were rolling toward us.
|Looking back at the gathering clouds|
My friend Anne had warned me plenty of times in the past to be off the mountain by mid afternoon. This was just lunch time. Time now to ramp up the walking speed. But of course there were the calls of still beckoning plants.The wet meadow where we slogged was filled with caltha and ranunculus. What a time! Boreas, ever with us, provided the cool breeze to
wick away any heat we generated going upward ever faster. The mountain opened to us a look into the private lives of some of the most fascinating
of alpine plants. Truly this was a home for gods... and we were not. Thoughts of wrathful thunderbolts drove us to increase speed.
|Caltha leptosepala, Ranunculus sp and buds|
As we continued along this moist meadow, the ever-so-sweet and diminutive Saxifraga rhomboidea
rose among the salix. Did I mention the ground was wet with a cold that the plants obviously enjoyed. It is impossible for me to imagine the inhabitants of that railroad town a hundred years prior, much less those miners, who lived here in quite primitive conditions.We came in the height of summer. What must winter have been like for them with Boreas?
There was a sweetness in the air. Perhaps a thlaspi, there were a few underfoot? Soon we came to open buds of the ranunculaceae-looking foliage we passed earlier. Funny to think with the higher altitude and more northern exposure, Trollius laxus
would be open here and not below. What a plant! Countless times I have tried this from seed without success. Must be another case of fresh-seed-only-please.
|Trollius laxus with caltha|
Looking closely at the trollius, I saw the ants who tend them. Looks like they keep a buddy system in place to wait on the blossom with constant attention. With this bit of awe still mesmerizing us, we failed to note the sun had returned. Oh yes please, I will always take a helping of more time to meander blissfully.