Colorado Travel Diary - p 2Long-plumed Avens (50644 bytes)

20 July 2003
After lunch at Mrs Z's Burger Barn in Kremmling, I discover an area exceptional even by Colorado standards:  the Gore Range in Grand County.  What it lacks in snow-capped peaks, the Gore range makes up for with broad vistas of sagebrush, interrupted by ridges covered in aspen and lodgepole pine.  Now this looks like The Old West!  All that's needed to complete the tableau is Willie Nelson and Leon Russell crooning Don't Fence Me In.
    At Gore Pass, the star of a flower-filled meadow is Long-plumed Avens, a.k.a. Old Man's Whiskers.  Its feathery seed plumes are more colorful than the flower.  Other notables here include Monkshood, Blue Penstemon, Groundsel, Elephanthead, and on higher ground Scarlet Gilia, favorite of Broad-tailed Hummingbirds.

Orange Sneezeweed (62452 bytes)

This meadow, however, was just a preview.  A few miles west of the pass I came to the valley of Blacktail Creek, surely one of the finest wildflower gardens in Colorado.   If you can only make one stop for flowers around here, then Blacktail Creek is the ticket.  Standing in one spot I see flowering Larkspur, Pink Geranium, Lodgepole Lupine, Green Gentian, Cow-Parsnip, Harebells, Yarrow, Balsamroot, Showy Daisy, Cutleaf Daisy, Yellow Paintbrush, more Mariposa Lilies, the ubiquitous Cinquefoil, a dozen or more Blue Columbine, and Orange Sneezeweed, prettier than its name.




Blue Columbine (60169 bytes)

21 July 2003
I had planned to visit the Maroon Bells near Aspen today.  But having been routed from Blacktail Creek yesterday afternoon by a hailstorm, I'm back today for more Blue Columbine photography.  This place is just too good for a brief visit.  In fact, the same could be said of the Rockies in general.  So, let the plains get as hot as they like - there's always these cool, flower-filled mountains to which one can retreat.


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