Monday, July 9, 2018

Alpine Wildflowers at Summit Lake


In my last blog post --click here to read- I showed how my husband and I got caught in a snowstorm driving up to the summit of Mt Evans on the first full day of summer! Because of the inclement weather we immediately turned around from the summit and drove back down the mountain from the altitude of 14,170 feet to 12,840 feet, and turned off into Summit Lake Park.  

All photos will enlarge if clicked on



From the Summit Lake parking lot, we could actually see the storm dramatically drift away from the mountain. It was soon followed by a blue sunny sky and warmer temperatures. We felt safe again!



An interesting graphic placard at Summit Lake that shows its location and elevation in relation to Denver, which is a little over 60 miles to the east.


Summit Lake Park is the highest city park in North America and is the highest park in the Denver Mountain Parks system. This area is popular for its impressive scenery, alpine botanical features, and wildlife viewing opportunities. In 1965, it was designated the first National Natural Landmark in Colorado, as the area is one of the best examples of Arctic tundra in the contiguous United States. The Summit Lake area provides habitat for a variety of rare alpine-arctic plants, some of which occur only here and above the Arctic Circle.

Areas around the lake are permafrost. At this high altitude, there are no trees because of the excessive cold, wind and adverse soils. This year the snowpack seemed much less than last June, as we had a very dry winter and spring this year in Colorado.


Because of the fragile tundra and rarity of its plants, visitors are asked to stay on the trails when visiting the area and not to walk on the tundra. The short growing season makes life a challenge for the many slow-growing tundra wildflowers; their entire life cycles must be completed in a few short weeks.
There are different sights to see along the trails, including views down towards the Chicago Lakes area, and the hiking trails that lead up the mountain from Echo Lake, which then continues up towards the summit.


Summit Lake is also a wonderful area to see the Mountain Sheep that graze on the tundra.


The sights that most excite me every visit, however, are the wildflowers!  This one is Old-Man-of-the-Moutain which almost always faces east.




Chiming Bells and more Alpine Buttercups


Alpine Spring Beauty Wildflower. I learned last year that this plants taproot can reach as long a twenty feet below ground!




Pretty Draba Wildflower


Alpine phlox


Alpine Forget-Me-Nots, Alpine Kittentail, Alpine Primrose, Alpine Dwarf Clover.


The wildflowers at Summit Lake are so varied and interesting, and ever-changing in their short cycle of life at an Alpine altitude.  I could spend hours looking at them and taking photographs of them...


 ...but it was getting time to begin our descent down Mt Evans...


 ...past breathtaking scenery...


..and back to lower. forested elevations.


We passed the bristlecone forest on Mt Goliath--click here--to read a blog post about these fascinating ancient trees that are thousands of years old!


Our last stop was at Echo Lake Lodge visitors center at the base of the mountain, where we stopped for a late lunch. Their bison chili and hamburgers are really delicious, and I like their gift shop.  It was a wonderful day with many exciting moments.  Mt. Evans has truly become my "Happy Place." I never tire of visiting it!

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40 comments:

Maggie said...

Pat, I never tire of visiting Mt.Evans with you either! A truly wonderful place, how quickly the snow storm blew over and revealed all the alpine beauty and wonderful wild flowers. Thanks for sharing your Happy Place with the MM crowd this week.

Ramona said...

What an amazing place. And I love love love wild flowers! <3

aspiritofsimplicity said...

What an amazing place. I've never been to Colorado but it is on my bucket list.

Maggid said...

I've never heard of this beautiful place until now . . . It's astonishing - kinda "other-world-ish" - thanks for posting.

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Majestic mountain photos...and I love all those wildflowers!

Magical Mystical Teacher said...

Nice little snippets of red here and there. Thank you!

Tom said...

...not much more to say than BEAUTIFUL!!đŸ˜€

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Your photos of the wildflowers are beautiful. Way nicer than that drive up to the summit...no thank you to that for me. Narrow mountain roads scare me although I've done them many times in Austria.

Candysfarmhousepantry said...

Beauty is found everywhere. Found you on Grandma's Brief Link Party

Ruth Hiebert said...

WOW! Spectacular beauty.Those alpine flowers have a very special beauty about them.

Rambling Woods said...

It really is breath taking beauty. So much to learn about this area that I don't know anything about. It is so dry is so many parts of the country and with wildfires..There seems to be less and less snow pack now. It is scary...Michelle

Snap said...

Beautiful! I love having you as my guide around Colorado. Wild flowers are extra special -- just my opinion !!!!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I would want to go back again and again too! I love the surprise of flowers in the rocks and crevices. The forget me nots look really out of place....so pretty! Enjoy your week!

jeannettestgermain said...

Summit Lake park is beautiful, even though the contrast maybe uncomfortable in summer when coming from lower elevations! When no trees are growing and only plants hugging the ground, I can imagine like it evokes that other-worldly feeling. Since I don't live in the city anymore, am as excited as you about the wildflowers! I love the dark red ones. A good thing came out of that scary experience being caught in the storm - many thanks for sharing with All Seasons. Have a great summer week!

Linda W. said...

What a lovely alpine lake! And those high elevation flowers are hardy.

LV said...

One of the prettiest states to me. Sad so much of the beauty was destroyed by fire. You made the journey so pleasant to be on.

annie said...

Your photos would make such a gorgeous book!
Always love visiting you.

podso said...

Colorado is such a beautiful state. Your photos could be in a travel journal. We have friends who just moved there and are loving it.

Annesphamily said...

Pat, you always have such lovely photos of your excursions. Hope your Blue Monday was a great one. HUGS

Lady Fi said...

Wow - really spectacular scenery and shots.

Monika B said...

Beautiful mountain landscapes and wonderful flowers.
You showed them beautifully.
Regards:)*
Monika B.

Michelle said...

Colorado is such a great state for day trips and hikes. Your scenic photos are beautiful!

Small City Scenes said...

Breathtaking scenery for sure. Such great beauty. We were up in the mountains and we couldn't get on some trails because of the snow. It is July but by the time all the snow is gone it will be October and time to start it ll over again. LOL
MB

eileeninmd said...

Hello, gorgeous views and beautiful wildflowers. I love the critters too.

Lovely collection of photos. Have a happy day!

Lowcarb team member said...

Breath-taking views.
Wonderful scenery.
Lovely mountain flowers.

All the best Jan

betty-NZ said...

This scenery is just fabulous! I love the bright colors and the blue skies for a great back drop!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

One of my happy places too -- only I don't get to visit as often as you do! The wildflowers were spectacular -- they and the scenery well worth the snowy adventure you had getting there (before you turned around). Is it early for that many wildflowers? I remember being up there the end of July and they were spectacular then. Thanks for sharing this beautiful trip. Would rather have been on this part of it than the last post ... you too, I imagine.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I remember being on hikes in Colorado years ago when tons of wildflowers were in bloom. Your magnificent photos really captures the colors and shapes of the different varieties Pat.

Jeanie said...

THis is fascinating, Pat. It always amazes me how wildflowers can grow in such challenging conditions. And be so beautiful.

I love watching weather, too. It's sort of fascinating, it's trajectory and speed.

Sally said...

So lovely!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I know I've already commented but I just had to spend time looking at these again! Hugs!

Spare Parts and Pics said...

Breathtaking scenery is right! I guess you know you are in cold country when you can see arctic plants!! Love the wildflowers and the mountain sheep.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Beautiful landscapes and wildflowers

Michelle said...

Thank you for linking up today!

Jim said...

Great shots.

Esha M Dutta said...

Absolutely breathtaking scenery! Loved all the pictures. Thank you for sharing such an amazing post. The wild flowers were simply too beautiful for words.

Ida said...

Such a beautiful area. Seeing the wildlife there would be such a thrill. The wildflowers are so delicate and pretty.

Ericka @ A Quiet Girl's Musings... said...

Such lovely photos! I especially liked all the different flowers because most of them I've never seen before or even heard of.

Visiting from Little Things Thursday.

Judy Biggerstaff said...

Beautiful photos. Such stunning scenery with the mountains, rocks, hills, and flowers.

betty-NZ said...

This is a fabulous part of the world and its beauty is just great!