Monday, July 11, 2005

Yankee Boy Basin

The two scenes at right are from about 12,000 feet (4,000 meters) altitude, high in the San Juan Mountains. You're seeing the peaks overlooking the famous Yankee Boy Basin, where we had a lovely day pursuing wildflowers on a half-dozen short hikes. The rightmost scene is from the very end of the passable four-wheel drive road, where there are a couple of small knobs and a very small lake with a surrounding marsh. The east-most knob was carpeted with alpine wildflowers — exactly what we were looking for.

The two flowers at right are very common in the basin. The right-most flower is a columbine — spectacular blossoms that attract hummingbirds. Many of these were in meadows and easily accessible, but we also saw many on the vertical walls of deep gorges, perched in places where I can't imagine how you'd get there. The left-most flower is a larkspur, very common on the wet or damp meadow areas. This particular bloom has a hummingbird moth drinking from it. We saw many of these hummingbird moths, all of them preferentially going after the larkspur, and ignoring the zillions of other blooms out there.

We had one helluva nice day. It's hard to imagine what could top it! Even the dogs had a great time, going on walks with us. Once I had walked away from Debi for a few hundred feet, and the dogs badly wanted to come see me. She let them go off-leash, and they bounded up the hill to see me — right through a deep snowbank that they had to work really hard to get through. They didn't care one whit!

As usual, click on any photo for a larger view...

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