13 August 2015

Stardate 2015.616

Blaine Basin Trail, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Snaefell – More or Less

Day Two of our wildflower trip found us in the Mount Sneffels area, high up East Fork Dallas Creek at the Trailhead for Blue Lakes and Blaine Basin, both potential staging areas for a climb of Mount Sneffels from the north. The standard route is on the south side. Normally, we ascend to Blue Lakes. However, we chose Blaine Basin this time around because I had not visited it for a while. I hadn't been in Blaine Basin since May 1994, when I climbed Sneffels via the Snake Couloir route. Everything was still snowbound at that time.

In the background, 14,150-foot Mount Sneffels (state rank #27) plays hide-and-seek with the cameraman.

Mount Sneffels rising in the background, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

We're in the middle of the monsoon season in Colorado. The southwest mountains are especially affected by the monsoonal flow. In a nutshell, lots of water and thunderstorm activity. As a result, we stayed below treeline. Despite the wet, we did get some moody photographs. I hope you enjoy!

The red "berry" actually is a non-evasive gall. Inside the gall resides a mite or a wasp, I'm not sure which in this case.

East Fork Dallas Creek, Colorado

Colorado's state tree is the Blue Spruce. They are very blue this year.

Northern slopes of 14,150-foot Mount Sneffels

Golden Aster
Heterotheca fulcrata
Aster family

Golden Aster, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

13,041-foot Walcott Mountain played with a silent, mystical mist throughout most of the day.

13,041-foot Mount Wolcott, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Alpine Groundsel
Ligularia amplectens
Aster family

Alpine Groundsel, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Help! Do you know what this bad boy is? I think it's a saxifrage of some sort.

I have no idea what species this flower is.

Geranium richardsonii
Geranium family

Geranium, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Galium septentrionale
Madder family

Bedstraw, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Dusky Beardtongue
Penstemon whippleanus
Figwort family

Dusty Beardtongue, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Mountain Bluebell
Mertensia franciscana
Borage family

Mountain Bluebell, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Nodding Ragwort
Senecio bigelovii
Sunflower family

Nodding Ragwort, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

A bridge now exists. However, there was a time when crossing East Fork Dallas Creek could be a task during spring flows.

East Fork Dallas Creek, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Aconitum columbianum
Hellebore family

Monkshood, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

A monastery of monkshood waves in the background. Monkshood is one of my favorite flowers. They can be quite thick (hence my monastery label) and reach heights of six feet of better.

San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Mount Sneffels is in there somewhere. Mount Sneffels, along with a handful of adjacent peaks over 13,500 feet in elevation, can create its own weather.

14,150-foot Mount Sneffels with its head in the clouds, San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Thanks for visiting. Our next stop is Yankee Boy Basin; a high, flower-smothered gem on the other side of Mount Sneffels. Stay tuned.


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