Flowers of the Elk Mountain Range, Colorado

An early morning in July, I headed for the Hell Roaring Trail that leads to the ridge between Capitol Peak and Mount Sopris. As I drove the bumpy gravel road towards the Capitol Creek trailhead, I was stunned by the show of blues and yellows sparkling in the meadows beneath the aspen trees. Not wishing to drive further and pass by this wonder, I pulled over and continued on foot towards the trailhead. Although it was less than a quarter mile distance, the flowers so entranced me that it took over an hour to get to the start of my hike! The display of lupines, false lupines, columbines, wild geraniums and paintbrush continued to entice me as I gained elevation. Crouching low in the meadows to capture light reflecting in flowers and foliage, I was finally reminded to move on by the buzzing and biting of busy bugs around me. I climbed higher along the trail where patches of snow still rested in the shade of the evergreen forest. In moist areas where the snow had recently receded, buttercups and marsh marigolds glimmered. At last I made the crest of the ridge, only to be wowed yet again by the rich and intricate tapestry of the tiny flowers of the high alpine zone.

A lupine glows in the meadows beneath the aspen trees

Yellow and blues appear like the sun in the sky

Lush blue lupines contrast with the snowy white slopes of Capitol Peak

Old Man of the Mountain is a bright cheery flower in the alpine tundra