Posts Tagged ‘Wildflowers’

“People often say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves.” – Salma Hayek

Secret, also know as Cecret, Lake in Albion Basin at the top of Cottonwood Canyon in Utah. — Wikimedia photo

A Day to Remember

I’m organizing photos that I removed from albums and put in a box when I got rid of or condensed everything so all my belongings would fit into a small RV back in 2004. Lately, I’ve been rummaging through that box.

Kim and me looking out over Secret Lake. I’m not sure who took the photo, most likely Cory, Kim’s son.

Of the many photos, my favorites are the ones of me enjoying Mother Nature’s outdoor wonders. My long-time friend Kim is there with me in many of these memories, like the one recaptured by the photograph on the right, which was taken at Secret, or Cecret as some people call it, Lake at the top of Albion Basin up Cottonwood Canyon in Utah.

As I recall it was an early July day, which is when spring wakes up in this high country, Notice the snow still visible in the background of the photo. I recall that the meadow at the trailhead, where Kim and I started our hike, as being saturated with wildflowers, Indian paintbrush, columbine, lupine, Jacob’s ladder, beard’s tongue, and elephant’s head (my favorite), just to name a few.

I can’t remember ever seeing so many different wildflowers crowed into one place as I did this day. I do remember trying, unsuccessfully, to name them all. The profusion of wildflowers accompanied Kim and I all the way up to Secret Lake, where we sat for a while enjoying the warm sun.

I’m not sure when this photo was taken, but since I don’t recall bird watching on the hike, I’m pretty sure it was before 1999. That’s when I got addicted to birds, and from that time forward, I was always looking for them. In fact, after that year, I couldn’t not see birds.

Bean Pat: A Slice of Life http://tinyurl.com/kjyblf8 The beauty of a garden, and one magnificent radish

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Layers and layers of colors ending in blue. — Photo by Pat Bean

“Heroes take journeys, confront dragons, and discover the treasure of their true selves.”
—Carol Pearson

Adventures with Pepper: Day 29

The wildflower season along Skyline Trail had ended, but their were still a few flowers, like this small beauty with drops of rain still coating its leaves, to be seen. — Photo by Pat Bean

While the rain had stopped, the morning was still overcast. It was going to be a dreary drive through Shenandoah National Park, I thought.

But then Mother Nature took pity on me. I had just barely started my day’s drive down the park’s 105-mile Skyline Trail when the sun came out and bathed the landscape with its light.

Rain drops on leaves glistened in the sunlight and the passing foliage took on a warm glow.

The leaves of the maples, oaks, elms, beeches, aspens and many others, were a variegated palette of color. They reminded me of the mixed-color yarn my mother often used in making afghans. If she were using Mother Nature’s half-summer/half-autumn colors this day, her crocheted blankets would range in hues from green to lemon yellow with shades of orange, plum and scarlet in between.

Rag Mountain framed by an old dead tree I found interesting. — Photo by Pat Bean

Shenandoah National Park is a long, narrow mixture of lands and forests woven together in a landscape protected for both its beauty and its wildness. Its Skyline Trail is a narrow, winding, hilly road with a 35 mph speed limit designed as the way for people in cars to enjoy it.

With 75 overlooks – I know I stopped at least half of them – and inviting trails leading away from the smell of the road,  Pepper and I found many reasons to at least briefly abandon Gypsy Lee, out home on wheels. .

It took me over seven hours to get through the park.  It would have been longer if I hadn’t have wanted to get off the road and Gypsy Lee hooked up to civilization before dark.

Book Report: Just to keep it moving forward, I added another few words, bringing Travels with Maggie up to 56,103. I think for the next two weeks, until I get off the road for a bit, the book is truly going to be moving at a snail’s pace. I have writing commitments for Story Circle Network of which I’m a board member and other priorities this coming week, plus other priorities on this current journey. I hope I’m not just making excuses.

The Wondering Wanderer’s blog pick of the day

Bean’s Pat: Unusual Travel Tradition http://tinyurl.com/9f3amqx This blogger sees the funny side of travel. A new find for me.

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“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” – Henry David Thoreau

The start of the trail from the Grotto shuttle bus stop. Come hike me the trail called to me. — Photo by Pat Bean


Walk the Kayenta/Emerald Pools Trail With Me

Rocks form a mysterious tunnel shortly before the trail descends to the Emerald Pools. — Photo by Pat Bean

A two-mile trail between the Grotto and Zion Lodge, the Kayenta/Emerald Pools Trail in Zion National Park is ideal for wandering/wondering old broads like me. It has only a mild, 150-foot-elevation gain but there is something to see around every bend in the road.

The May day I walked it, I had a playful squirrel, hoping for a handout which it didn’t get, follow me for a while, saw a magnificent blue-bellied lizard, and had excellent views of the Virgin River Valley 150 feet below me.

Of course there were flowers: Indian paintbrush, columbine, shooting stars, wall flowers and daisies, just to name a few.

These were expected. What wasn’t was the short tunnel formed by rocks that one had to pass through and the opportunity to walk behind a waterfall.

The waterfall was only a trickle this day, but it was still cool to walk behind it. — Photo by Pat Bean

I wish you had been with me.

Bean’s Pat: Darla Writes http://tinyurl.com/7bl7zo6 The best writing advice ever. I promise. Tell me if you agree.  This wandering/wondering old broad’s blog pick of the day.


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“She was wearing a canary-yellow two-piece bathing suit, one piece of which she would not actually be needing for another nine or ten years.” – J.D. Salinger

Joy with yellow petals -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

I think Mother Nature must love the color yellow as much as I do.

From the dandelions that she sprinkles on lawns to the consternation of gardeners, to the unbridled joy of enthusiastic sunflowers that linger long after the bloom of other wildflowers have faded away, these exclamations of color delight my soul.

I’m not alone in my joy.

Wrote Johan Wolfange Goethe about the yellow “It is the color closest to light. In its utmost purity it always implies the nature of brightness and has a cheerful, serene, gently stimulating character.

yellow cactus bloom at Pancho Villa State Park in New Mexico -- Photo by Pat Bean “How wonderful yellow is. It stands for the sun,” said Vincent Van Gogh, one of my favorite artists.

Pablo Picasso also had an opinion about yellow and the sun: “There are painters who transform the sun into a yellow spot, but there are others who, thanks to their art and intelligence, transform a yellow spot into the sun.”

“I made a circle with a smile for a mouth on yellow paper, because it was sunshiny and bright,” said Harvey Ball, who is credited with being creator of the Smiley face. .

Don't forget to smile today.

“I really just want to be warm yellow light that pours over everyone I love.” said musician Conor Oberst.

Curious George followed the man with the yellow hat home from Africa, Dorothy followed the yellow brick road, the Beatles fancied a yellow submarine, we ride in yellow taxis, and look up information in the yellow pages.

And yellow always stops my camera in its tracks.

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South Llano River State Park

Entrance to the visitor center at this Texas state park made me feel as if I had come into a world of faries. In addition to the colorful wildflowers, I was welcomed by a scarlet tanager that hung around the building. -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Earth Laughs in Flowers.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.” Claude Monet  


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Common mullein just starting to blossom -- Photo by Pat Bean

“Oh, grey hill,
Where the grazing herd
Licks the purple blossom,
Crops the spiky weed!
Oh, stony pasture,
Where the tall mullein
Stands up so sturdy
On its little seed!”
– Edna St. Vincent Millay

Travels With Maggie

Beautiful walk this morning here at Lake Walcott, where the mullein’s tall stalks are just beginning to fill with yellow blossoms.

As the weather has turned warmer – although not into the triple digits my family and friends back in Texas have been enduring – things have become to pop out. I see something new every morning when I take my walk with Maggie.

Mullein with the park and lake in the background. -- Photo by Pat Bean

This morning was especially nice, and so I decided to take a break from my African Safari to share it with you.

I’m not sure what the wildflower below is, although I think it may belong to the onion family. Perhaps one of you wildflower experts can identify it. I hope so because I really do like to know the proper names of things.

Meanwhile I’ll be back later today with more recap of Kim and my African Safari adventures.

Who can name this plant? -- Photo by Pat Bean

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“Spring’s last-born darling, clear-eyed sweet, Pauses a moment with white twinkling feet, And golden locks in breezy play, Half teasing and half tender, to repeat her song of May.” –Susan Coolidge

Looking out over Lake Walcott on a cool day through tree branches that are just now beginning to green up. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

Today is the last day of May, and supposedly summer should be on the way. In fact, it was already being felt mid-April when I left my family behind in Texas, where yesterday they had temperatures in the 90s.

Here in Southern Idaho, yesterday’s temperatures were only in the 40s, but the weather gurus say it’ll be in the 60s today.

I think the birds, who have mostly been staying sheltered during the past few days of cold, wind and rain, might have heard the news as well. I was awakened by their blaring symphony outside my RV.

Barn, rough-winged, violet-green and bank swallows are making the landscape outside my window look as if it’s full of moving polka dots. Bright orange-chested robins are courting and building nests. Canada geese are already raising goslings. Western grebes are dancing on the lake. Common nighthawks are circling overhead in the evenings.

American goldfinch have already emptied my thistle bag twice. Killdeer are loudly squealing on the ground as they lead trespassers away from their nests in the grass. Starlings are going in and out of a hole in the self-pay kiosk outside my RV. Mourning doves are gobbling up the birdseed I threw on the ground. And brightly colored Bullock’s orioles are preening their puffed-out feathers.

I’m a happy birder.

It’s also been a delight the past two weeks to watch spring, which everyone says is quite late this year, come out of hiding.

A Bullock's oriole outside my RV in a cottonwood tree with his feathers all puffed up to ward off yesterday's wet coolness. -- Photo by Pat Bean

While the process happened almost overnight in Texas before I left there, the cool weather here has caused the change to take place in slow motion. It’s been a delight to be able to watch it in such detail.

Daily, I’ve seen leafless tree branches green up, beginning to hide the nests being built there by stick-transporting birds. I’ve watched as dainty lavender and yellow wildflowers have slowly peeked up through the grass, while the dandelions that came before them have shed their blossoms and are now scattering their puffy white seeds.

And now I’m going to walk Maggie and see what other wonders I’ll discover this last day of May. Life is good.

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Prophetstown State Park in Battle Ground, Indiana, was me and Maggie's peaceful and scenic home for three days. Photo by Pat Bean


Travels With Maggie

“We need the tonic of wildness, to wade sometimes in marshes where the bittern and the meadow-hen lurk, and hear the booming of the snipe: to smell the whispering sedge where only some wilder and more solitary fowl builds her nest, and the mink crawls with its belly close to the ground.” — Henry David Thoreau

Prophetstown State Park

This peaceful Indiana park is named for Shawnee Indian leader Tenskwatawa (the Prophet) and his brother, Temcumseh, who established a village here in the early 1800s. Located near where the Walbash and the Tippecanoe rivers join, it was my Indiana home for three days.

Volunteer hosts in my previous campground had recommended it after Maggie, my friendly four-legged traveling companion,  and I stopped to visit with them on one of our morning walks.  I always tell people where I’m headed and ask for recommendations. This had been a great one.

Harrison, on his second attempt to become president, used the slogan “Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too,” and held a huge campaign rally in Battle Ground to implant the idea that he was the man who won the war against the Indians.

Meadow wildflowers, such as these wild geranium, colored me and Maggie's walks. Photo by Pat Bean


The ploy was successful and Harrison became this country’s ninth president. Thirty-two days later he died of pneumonia and John Tyler became our 10th president.

As I looked out over the awesome meadow where Mother Nature had woven her magic, I was saddened to think of the blood that had fallen on land that now looked so peaceful.

Not only did the park look out over a breathtaking meadow full of purple, pink and yellow wildflowers, I was sitting on top of history. The park is located in Battle Ground, Indiana, where William Henry Harrison defeated the two Shawnee brothers who had threatened revenge on the settlers for taking their land, hence the town’s name.

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Foxglove: A wildflower for good and evil ... Photo by Pat Bean

“… change comes like a little wind that ruffles the curtains at dawn, and it comes like the stealthy perfume of wildflowers hidden in the grass.” — John Steinbeck

Travels With Maggie

 If money were no object, I would have my own personal botanist handy every time I saw a wildflower.

I find these delightful unattended blossoms almost everywhere I look. They grow along roadsides, in shady forests, beside gurgling brooks and from bare rock crevices. Some splash color across an entire meadow, like the California poppy that announces itself to the world with its golden orange shout. Others are a whisper barely heard as their tiny blooms grow beneath our feet requiring knees bent and head bowed to see their fragile daintiness.

 While seeing wildflowers of all colors, shapes and sizes is no problem for one who gets out in nature, which I’m constantly doing, I find it very frustrating when I can’t identify each and every one. Unlike those who are fortunate enough just to be able to enjoy their beauty, I want to know the name of each and every flower.

Perhaps it’s the writer in me that was taught to not be generic with my words. I can still hear a writing teacher expound that a tree is not just a tree, it’s a yew, or a cypress, or a Douglas fir. So it is that I want a flower not to be just a flower.

Since I can’t afford the services of a full-time botanist, I resort to photos that I later use as I peruse wildflower books – sadly, with far less than perfect results. The vast number, multiple names and variances of wildflowers constantly stump me. Every wildflower book, at least the ones with pictures, I’ve come across identifies only the common species while it seems fully half of my discoveries are of the uncommon variety.

So what's the name of these wildflowers? An inquisitive writer really wants to know. ... Photo by Pat Bean

 Therefore, I try to be happy when I can make an identification, such as the one of the foxglove pictured here. These tall rosy pink flowers, whose bell-like shapes are lined with purple spots, have been frequent sights as I’ve traveled across the state of Washington. Perhaps that’s because it’s the state’s wildflower.

 While trying to identify the flower, I also discovered that foxglove is the source of digitalis, a drug used as a heart stimulant. It’s also a poison. Its properties, according to my Reader’s Digest field guide of common wildflowers, were discovered by physician-poet William Withering in the late 1770s. After testing the drug on a charity patient, he wrote both a medical paper and a poem.

 The poem, in part, reads: “The foxglove’s leaves, with caution given …The rapid pulse it can abate/the hectic flush can moderate.”

By the way, Maggie, my canine traveling companion, always take time to smell the flowers when we’re out walking. I wonder if I’m contagious.

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