Sunday, July 21, 2019 — St. Vrain
Another day of oppressive heat on the high plains, so I drove up to the hills. I had expected to find a long line of cars at the fee station, but amazingly, there was none. The gate attendant nodded approval of my national parks pass, gave me a hang tag, and waved me on through.
Numerous groups were walking up and down the road from the winter gate. Scads of dogs.
63ºF at the lake. A gentle breeze.
The upper parking lots were still closed, despite the roads being clear of snow, so I parked at Brainard. Herds of people having picnics. A screaming baby. Kayaks floating hither and yon. People in folding chairs along the southern shoreline, pretending to fish.
Past the throng, into the forest, up the switchbacks between Brainard and Long. Plenty of wildflowers, mosquitos, and tourists. A few big snowbanks, here and there. Groups with cameras and dogs.
Overall, a pleasant day.
Image Note: Sorry about the crappy focus, in the picture of the Elephant’s Head: blame the mosquitos. Per Wikipedia, elephant’s head is a root parasite, like Indian Paintbrush, which gets nutrients from the roots of other plants. As for the flying gnat en route to the alpine primrose, I noticed it only after opening the image on the computer. Pollinators, huzzah.