Trails, streams and wildflowers update |

Trails, streams and wildflowers update

Diana Lynn Rau
Grand County Trails
A Glacier Lilies.
Photo Courtesy of Patricia Berman |

The sunshine continues as the snows in high country dwindle and the rivers swell. Two weeks ago the slopes at Winter Park were still covered in snow yet today there is only a spot or two left. Some trails in higher ground are firming up and some are all but under water. Back country forestry technician Izzie Ditmarson from USFS Sulphur reports that the snow line is hanging around 9,500-10,000 feet.

She adds that Doe Creek has been cleared of trees and is dry except for the little meadow area. Most of Strawberry Creek has been cleared of trees as well while only half of Cascade Creek and half of Roaring Fork have been cleared of trees. Be prepared with adequate footwear – boots are much in order for the sloppy slopes. Leave the flipflops at home. Call ahead to the Sulphur Ranger Station at 887-4100 if you question if an area is open or the stream is too full.

Local streams are filling and all the local creeks are runnable particularly if you have a small boat. Be sure to boat with others who have proper gear and go prepared for a swim with dry suit or wet suit – not yet time for the shorts and tank top unless you take a leisurely stop at a pile of warm rocks and can peel off all that gear!

Flowers are coming out around all the wet areas. Some of the fields are already covered in purples and yellows and brilliant whites. These spectacular sights change from week to week and a simple walk in the woods yields many different species that are easy to google. Each week the flowers are different so a small camera can preserve the images for you. Please don’t pick the flowers, leave them for the next visitor. Besides the deer, elk and moose are out to munch on the new foliage. Be sure to carry your dog leash to protect both you and your furry friend. Next week – more about your trail companions and courtesy on the trail.

Patricia Berman tells of the Glacier Lilies at Cascade Falls, Indian Peaks Wilderness. I highly recommend hiking to Cascade Falls soon to see the field of Glacier Lilies. Hidden beneath them are the Lanceleaf Spring Beauties with two opposite leaves and a small white or pink flower. The torrent of water going over the falls is loud and spectacular. On the journey to the falls you will see Red Columbines, Coralroot Orchids just starting bloom, Star Solomon’s Seal and False Solomon’s Seal. Also, keep a look out for Moose. We saw a young bull Moose by Cascade Creek who stayed in that spot all day.

Hope to see you at HTA Trails Night from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday at the HTA offices where you can meet with USFS, BLM, CDTC, Wilderness Group, GMBA, HTA, and RMNP to learn how you can become involved!

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