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Tag Archives: wildflowers

After a long hot summer of smoky skies and temperatures often exceeding 100 degrees and major public lands closures, our world is beginning to return to normal. The smoke is mostly gone and the forest fires are nearing containment. Temperatures are moderate and sometimes there is a feeling of fall in the air. No one is complaining about these changes. We still worry about covid and masks and who is vaccinated or not but that is all out of our control.

Since Luna can only tolerate short hikes on cool, preferably cloudy, days we have to pick and choose where and when we go. This four and a half mile hike was quite pleasant and the sun gave way to mostly overcast skies so she could enjoy it. Sky was ecstatic to be out in the woods with a lake as our destination. She also enjoyed picking her own huckleberries. I did too, only picking as many as I could eat along the trail. Luna was happy to smell all the smells and drink from small streams. She doesn’t seem to get in front of the camera much anymore. I will have to work on that.

There were a few flowers – fireweed, gentian, pearly everlasting, asters – and lots of mountain ash berries as well as the huckleberries. Some of the fireweed had aphids and if you look close, you can see the ants ‘farming’ the aphids. Quite a bit of color after our dreary summer. It was a relief. Also, lots of ferns, devil’s club and a few mushrooms, most past their peak.

The girls and I drove up the bumpety bump Harts Pass road yesterday and enjoyed a brief respite from the intense heat dome that has kept our afternoon and evening temperatures above 100° F. Sixty degrees at 7000′ was incredibly refreshing. On the way up, we saw mountain goats at their traditional salt lick. They are pretty shaggy looking this time of year.

We met some people walking up the road to the lookout with skis. They were planning to ski down the backside of the mountain! The snow fields are pretty small already so it was a short run.

The mountain views were incredible and the flowers were just lovely. The snow recently melted up there so the wildflower peak is yet to come.

On our recent road trip, the girls and I spent a week in eastern Nevada. It was all new to us. I had never really contemplated what the phrase ‘basin and range’ meant. I thought it was mostly flat and desert-like with mountains here and there. That’s not the case at all. It has broad flat valleys that start at 5000′ elevation and are surrounded by high mountains, many going over 10,000′! As we drove through these valleys and over high passes, I was constantly amazed at the rugged snow-capped mountain ranges. Since it was May, the temperatures were cool and sometimes freezing overnight. I imagine it is brutal during the hot summer months. We saw familiar wildflowers but they were all short and seemed to be putting out all their energy before summer arrives. It must be a very short growing season.

Our friends from Montana joined us for a few days. Luna and Sky were surprised that Junie is almost grown up at nine months old. Gus was skeptical. We tried to get a four dog portrait but it never really worked. While Junie looks grown up, she is still a big puppy! Next time! We did a day trip to Great Basin National Park. The road to the high point was not open to cars due to snow so we walked on it instead. I’d like to go back and see the bristlecone pine trees and enjoy the night sky at over 10,000′!

Nevada is full of tiny towns, some on the brink of disappearing into history. Some are having a kind of renaissance, improving on historical features and counting on the great natural beauty to bring a few tourists to their communities. I wanted to say, be careful what you wish for. Don’t become Utah.

August has been warm and sunny and we have been out on some terrific hikes. Sometimes the girls do not get to go. Too much sun and dry conditions are hard on Luna. I don’t know how to tell her that one day, I will be taking Sky and not her. How do you handle leaving the older dog behind? It’s kind of heartbreaking. Some days and trails are ok for her and I do carry water for her to drink but she seldom drinks much of it. She’d rather have a cool mountain stream or a muddy puddle! She really likes to cool her belly in a creek or even better, on a patch of snow. Snow patches are getting few and far between this late in the summer.

The wildflowers have been glorious this year. We have seen lots of pikas, marmots and ground squirrels too. We have enjoyed blue skies and sunshine and endless mountain views. I have had no work this summer so I am very happy to spend my time in the mountains. If we have to be socially distanced, this is a pretty good place to do it.

The girls and I had a floriferous hike last week. The wildflowers were magnificent and the sky was the bluest blue. We saw and heard pikas, hoary marmots and ground squirrels. Did you know that pikas make hay piles in the summer? They let the ‘hay’ dry out and then haul it under the rocks so they can eat it all winter. Pikas are the smallest rabbit species and they do not hibernate.

I know, this is a lot of images for one post but really, you need to see the beauty of the mountains right now.

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