Wildflower Hike

We've only been hiking the Albion Basin in summer for maybe four years now, and I already feel like I've run out of superlatives to describe it. I love the wildflowers so much I almost get overcome with it, tears coming to my eyes as we walk through those meadows and I keep saying, "Look at that! Look at that!" It was nice to come home from the beauty of Montreal to my own beloved mountains in all their summer finery. "Glory be to God for dappled things;" these comforting mountains; sun and shadow, sprinkles of color and oceans of rock; this place full of beauty that He made for us.

This is the first time Sam has gotten to go with us on this hike, and it was so nice! He carried Theo and all I had to do was hold Goldie's hand. She was a great little hiker, too—not a word of complaint, except when I tried to get her to stop picking up little rocks to carry. I finally let her get one to hold in her other hand, and she carried it happily most of the way up.
I'm not sure why I like pictures of my little people hiking together so much. I suppose because it makes me think sentimental thoughts of how They Must All Help Each Other Along on the Uphill Trails of Life, or some such drivel. Ha! It does seem so sweet, though. To watch them hike along next to each other, talking and laughing, or just plowing along together up the hills.

Love their sun-haloes.
It was the most gorgeous morning. The air was quite cool and it felt so GOOD! We worried a bit about little Teddy getting cold in the backpack, so Sam would stop in the sun and turn him around like a rotisserie chicken, making sure he got warm on all sides. :)

We met a really nice family on the way up who told us they had eleven children! (Most grown-up and moved away by now.) As we talked, the Dad carried Goldie on his shoulders up a particularly steep stretch of trail, for which I was very grateful! She was a good hiker, as I said, but very stumble-y, and there's only so long you can perform the "yanking-up-on-the-arm-to-avoid-a-fall" maneuver before you get tired.
That thing Daisy is holding—we had a little broom that broke a long time ago, and Daisy saved the handle saying "This will be my hiking stick!" I don't know how she remembered it, but the night before this hike she ran and got it from the basement and put it in the car. And she happily hiked with her stick the whole way!
Although we see most of the same types of flowers, the hills and meadows look different every year. I don't know if that's because the proportions of flowers change (some do better in rainy years and others in dry years, or something)—or if different things just catch my eye? Temperature differences probably affect it too. This sulfur buckwheat (above) was a brighter yellow-green than I sometimes remember it being.
Leafy Jacob's ladder? or Pretty Jacob's ladder? Telling them apart is harder than you think.
I LOVE the columbine. I didn't see a lot of it this year.
The lupine, on the other hand…was profuse!
Elephanthead, our favorite. I think it grows best a little earlier in the year, but we can usually find one or two growing in the marshy places.
Here's a nice collection of purples: lupine, sticky geranium, and an Elgelmann aster.
More geraniums (gerania?)—Richardson's geranium this time—and I think I see some Leafy Jacob's ladder too.
This might be a Showy daisy? Some kind of daisy, anyway, and Daisy likes it whatever it is.
People conquered various rocks.
Even the tiniest backpack didn't fit Goldie, so we crossed the straps and they were probably choking her half the time. She didn't seem to mind.
I love how much color there is in just the mountains themselves! And then you can see the washes of purple and yellow spilling across that green hillside. So lovely.
It's always so great to get up to the summit and see Lake Catherine sparkling in the sun. Every year I consider going farther, and every year I decide we better not. But someday! We will hike down the other side into Big Cottonwood.
The flowers at the summit seemed a little different from last year. More purples and fewer yellows, or something.
There were lots of friendly little chipmunks and ground squirrels who came over to investigate us while we rested, and Goldie shouted out "MIP-MUMP!" excitedly at every. single. one.
I always love to see the gradations of color in the paintbrush flowers, from red to orange to pink. There were several fields particularly full of them this year.
As always, my favorite areas are those with all different kinds and colors of wildflower crowded in together. I love how joyful and riotous they look.
On the way down, I tripped over Marigold, or something (I had one job…!), and twisted my knee backwards as I fell. It hurt quite a lot for a minute or two, but then it got better enough that I could be hauled to my feet and limp down on my own. Hikers we'd seen earlier passed us and politely didn't mention my now slow and painful pace, but I wished I had a sign on my back saying, "I'm not tired, I FELL! (But gracefully! As I was gliding gazelle-like down the trail.)" Haha! That reminds me that once when I was camping at Zion National Park with my friend Rachael and her grandparents, and when I came back from my run, her grandpa said "You were flitting over the landscape like a gazelle! A gazelle!" and I thought it was pretty much the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.

But I digress. After my graceful and gazelle-like fall, there was still lots of beautiful scenery to see.
I loved these separated stripes of color.
Teddy, maybe because the sun was very warm now, drifted off to sleep.
Sam heroically held all the girls' hands at once.
Tiny people, big mountain.
All in all, it was a perfect flowery day. We'll be back soon, Albion Basin!


  1. I'm not sure how you know the names of all of these flowers, but it reminds me of my mom and trees and how always, as we were driving places growing up, she would be pointing out trees to us and telling us their names. I've forgotten most, and I really only know flower names of flowers I've ever planted; BUT, there is something strange and wonderful that comes from actually being able to identify things. It's like the difference between a crowd of unknown people who mass into one whole; and a crowd spotted with familiar and loved faces that suddenly make it interesting and worth noting. I don't know why exactly because of course we can recognize beauty without knowing names, nevertheless, it stands that knowing what something is makes me notice it more fully. I remember taking ornithology in college and suddenly I was hearing Mountain Chikadees and spotting Western Scrub Jays that I swear had never been around before and shocked that there were Black-Headed Grosbeaks around that I had probably just thought were extra fancy Robins. It makes me feel like I might be missing all sorts of things simply because I don't know what to call them!

  2. Yes, yes, you are so right! I'm always amazed how much more I NOTICE when I have learned about something first. And how much variation can be distinguished in things that were previously pretty much indistinguishable. I only know a few wildflower names, but I have a wildflower book and I always try to look up the flowers we see, so I can say their names--for the very reason you said. I want to be someone like your mom that can just name all the trees she sees. And birds too--I wish I knew more about those! Haha. So much to learn. So little time…wait, we have eternity I guess. So, yeah, plenty of time. :)


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