Nature greets the arrival of spring as enthusiastically as we do, and celebrates it with a festival of color. Even Grand Teton’s sub-zero winters and blinding snowstorms eventually yield to the pink earthly stars of the Spring Beauty, and gigantic yellow flowering Arrowleaf Balsam Root. Soon thereafter Lupine, Camas, Larkspur, Oregon Grape, and Yellow Violets paint the spectrum of a land rainbow that banishes the memory of winter’s monotone grays and whites.
Armed with what seems to be pounds of wildflower field guides and plant books in our packs, my wife and I hike off to destinations like Taggart and Phelps Lake, Hidden Falls and Inspiration Point, Pilgrim Creek, Antelope Flats, Heron Pond and Swan Lake, eagerly awaiting colorful surprises along the route. Never disappointed, referring to our guides along the way, spring is a wonderful time to visit the backcountry.
We appreciate wildflowers for their beauty and trumpeting the arrival of spring. We may also consider them as chronicles of time and place. They tell a fascinating story, acting as interpreters of the natural world they inhabit. Grand Teton’s geologic past shaped a varied landscape, where a series of transformations culminated in various ecological systems that support the wildflowers we admire today. Our population of flowers reveal ancient tales of the landscape dating back millions of years and provide us with lessons in geology, climate, wildlife biology, fire history, and an array of other scientific information.
As always, collecting specimens of animals, trees, minerals, or archeological artifacts are strictly prohibited in all National Parks and Monuments. Collecting wildflowers are equally protected. So, study the plants where they grow, take home photographs and memories, but leave them to display their brief beauty for the enjoyment of those who will follow.
Posted from Don’s Corner, Photographs by Don Wells
Do you know what these wildflowers are? Please leave us a comment and let us know! If your answers are correct you could be eligible to win a prize from Grand Teton Lodge Company!
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