Saturday, July 28, 2018

28 July 2018 - Escaping the heat

I'm feeling like Garrison Keillor. "Well, it's been a hot week in Lake Woebegon." Or maybe I'm just woebegone because it's been and continues to be so hot. The heat is turning me into my grandmother. She was a dedicated gardener with a very large yard. During the hot days of July and August she became crepuscular. She would get up early and was out in the yard by 6 am. Around ten she'd come in, have some lunch and a nap, then early evening to dark she'd be back out there pulling weeds, irrigating, trimming limbs...all the stuff that never ends. 

The older I get the more I find that this apple is still firmly attached to the tree. So, I too, am out early and out late. In the hot time of the day I can often be found on the couch with a book, and a very (ergh) hot cat in my lap. I swear, cats are the original heat-seeking devices. 

At one point, it was just too much so I headed for the Uintah mountains, where it tends to be 10 to 20 degrees cooler than in the valley.  As it should be since Bald Mountain Pass has an elevation of 10,715'.  I was hoping to see many spring wildflowers, but the snow melted early and quite a few of the flowers were already gone, but there were enough lovely spots to satisfy my urge for alpine flowers. 

There are several places you can take off on dirt side roads. The aspens crowd the road and flowers fill in every space between their trunks. This is the eye-level view looking out the car window. 

 It was also a treat to see pinedrops. These plants are saprophytes meaning they have no chlorophyll, thus no green leaves. 

They grow on decaying or dead organic matter.  Flowers form on straight, un-branched stems. This one is growing on a downed, rotting limb. 

Even the fungus were pretty!

This little guy, a bog gentian,  is only three inches tall, at least half of that is the bloom.  And, yes, I was walking in several inches of bog. Cooling! 

Open meadows boasted wide swaths of color. It was spectacular. 

Elephanthead and Shooting Stars are two of my favorites. The Shooting Stars were long gone, but there were still enough little elephants sprinkled through the boggy areas to make me happy. 

Butterflies were everywhere! 

So were marmots. It looks as though they were enjoying all the flowers as well. Or more likely enjoying them lunch. 

 The big picture is just as gorgeous. 

Do you feel cooler now? Just revisiting this trip lowers my temperature considerably! 

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