23 June 2009
Today was pretty quiet. We started with beautiful blue skies again, but as we were planning to leave for our hike, storm clouds started rolling in. This area is known for its afternoon thunderstorms in the mountains. Last year, my stepson and I got caught with the dogs in the leading edge of a storm. The hail was a little frightening, especially when we were out on open rocks, so I was a little hesitant about starting up the trail today when the thunder started rumbling. I couldn't imagine what I would do with the dogs, who would certainly protest, if I made the decision to get back into the car, so we started anyway. A few raindrops and an occasionally brisk breeze were the only unpleasant moments in our hike through the wildflower fields and Aspen stands of the Tenderfoot Trail in Dillon.
This is one of my favorite hikes. I haven't found a trail yet that yields such a stunning pallet of wildflowers. Lupines speckle the mountainside with bursts of purple and white, out in the open air. Once inside the trees, I always discover little surprises. Today we found wild roses, stunning cerise flowers peeking out from under fallen branches. I fell in love with a flower tucked in the shade called Purple Fringe. Hundreds of tiny purple flowers cluster around a central spike, and they're accented by little protruding yellow stamens. They look and feel like soft, fuzzy fur.
The flowers are not the only stunning scenery on this hike. Once at the top, we can see the continental divide, and all along the route, we have breathtaking views of Lake Dillon and the Ten-Mile Range. It's a wonderful place to breathe deeply and focus on nothing but what incredible sights nature might drop right in front of me.