Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Wildflowers of Hoop Lake

Wild Rose
A sign along the road to Hoop Lake states “Only certified weed-free hay is allowed in the campground.”  When we arrived in the campground, my first thought was that someone didn’t obey this sign.  Our entire campsite was carpeted in yellow dandelions.  Dandelions?  Of course, the very next day the yellow carpet was replaced by a white layer of snow, but the dandelions didn’t seem to mind.  One of the first questions I asked our Forest Ranger, Nancy, was “are dandelions native to this area?”  She assured me that yes; they are native and are a source of food for some of the wildlife here. 

Colorado Columbine

Indian Paintbrush
Since that time, our campground has been the home to many beautiful wildflowers.  Between the poster I picked up at the Mountain View Ranger Station, the knowledge of my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Kim and Jaren, and the copy of The Peterson Field Guide to Rocky Mountain Wildflowers they loaned me, I’ve been able to identify several species.  These are a few of my favorites.
Wild Iris
I thought last year’s camp hosts had planted a bulb before they left, but again I am wrong – the Wild Iris is in fact native. 
Jaren referred to this yellow flower in this photo as ADYC – another damn yellow composite.  He likened it to the birdwatchers’ LGB – little grey bird.


Kim and Jaren also taught me how to tell the difference between a pine, a fir, and a spruce tree.  Pine needles come off in pairs.  Spruce needles are square-ish, while fir needles are flat.  Great alliteration: Pine – Pairs, Spruce – Square, Fir – Flat.  Who says you can’t teach an old camp host new tricks?

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