Flower season

Yellow, purple, blue, white, and pink are the colors of wildflower season. Not just one hue of each, but shades upon shades of each. Shapes, sizes, heights. Some mimic each other, but all are unique.

The weather this year must have held out perfectly for wildflowers in the Northern Rocky Mountains. The soft, and very tall, hilly crests that give way to water and wildlife in a normal year were shouting color late into this summer. In Idaho’s Clearwater National Forest, just west of the Montana border, we checked more than we could count off the Rocky Mountain Flowers of Idaho booklet we had.

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Elk thistle, elephant’s head, lupine, violets, fireweed, glacier lillies, asters of all types, monkey flowers, bog orchids, I can’t remember them all. I wanted to keep them all. Pick them and deposit them between the pages of my journal, just so I could save the feeling I had when I looked at them with my mouth hanging open. Just so I could remember the awe I felt and the giddy feeling that it was special.

It’s a shock to the system when all you see between blades of grass and under lodge pole pine and spruce are little spots of color. Bear grass as far your eyes can carry your mind. Straight up the sides of mountains and spread out between trees, were meadows of the tall white poofy-topped flowers that bloom once every 10 years. In every direction, down every dirty forest service road; it was unbelievable.

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