Views from the Western Slope

Rich & Mandy in Sunflowers-1 (shadowed)“I could wile away the hours
Conferrin’ with the flowers
Consultin’ with the rain
And my head I’d be scratchin’
While my thoughts were busy hatchin’
If I only had a brain” –
E.Y. Harburg 1938

About 200 miles from Boulder (as the eagle flies) is Crested Butte, billed as the “Wildflower Capital of Colorado”. I went there to confer with the flowers and take photos. The trip requires crossing the Continental Divide to get to the Western Slope of the Rocky Mountains. Crested Butte gets lots of snow as the 14,000 ft peaks of the Divide wring out  moisture from the atmosphere as it moves east. During the short spring and summer, snow melt releases this moisture and the flowers riot to finish their reproductive activities before the precious months of warmth give way to skiers. It is a beautiful sight and I took lots of photos. Here are some of my favorites…

Mt. Crested Butte with Little Pink Elephant Herd (Pedicularis groenlandica)

Mt. Crested Butte with Little Pink Elephant Herd (Pedicularis groenlandica)

Brush Creek with Mt. Gothic

Brush Creek with Mt. Gothic

The Road To Paradise Colorado

The Road To Paradise Colorado

In case you are wondering about the Pink Elephants here are some closeups of this fabulous Figwort (Pedicularis groenlandica). Note that all of the Pedicularis‘ are tranquilizers, muscle relaxants, powerful aphrodesiacs, and sedatives. They are often employed medicinally for muscle pain and tension, particularly back pain. Pedicularis are also used for their psychological effects, good for anger, fear, pain, anxiety. At least one Native American tribe is known to smoke the flowers of certain Pedicularis species for their medicinal and narcotic effects.

Little Pink Elephant Heads (enlarged)

Little Pink Elephant Heads (enlarged)

Pink Elephant Detail (flower is about .5 inch)

Pink Elephant Detail (flower is about .5 inch)

Oh how I love the columbines…
Columbine Ballet

Columbine Ballet

Columbine Ballerina

Columbine Ballerina

Red Columbine

Red Columbine

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4 Responses to “Views from the Western Slope”

  1. Suzanne Pierson Says:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed Crested Butte!
    Truly stunning in the summer wild flower season especially.
    Your photos are great, Rich:)

  2. richwolf Says:

    Thanks for your comments and for the great place to enjoy Crested Butte. The are many more great pictures to be taken.

  3. Boulder Subalpine Wildflower Alert! « Tales from the Trails Says:

    […] why it’s called Elephant Head…    Why Elephant Head? Wooly Actinella (tetraneuris brevifolia) Parry Primrose (primula […]

  4. ED Says:

    talented photographer!!!!!

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