How cool to be so high I could actually see where the trees stopped. Just like that. No more trees.
As an alpine plant fan this was a big deal for me and I even planned the trip (in part) based on when a good number of the alpines would be blooming at that elevation. They did not disappoint.
Some Brief Stats: When we set out that morning, Denver was already a blazing 95°F or so and the altitude 5,280 feet above sea level. As the car climbed Mt. Evans on the way to Mt. Goliath, the temperature dipped below 60°F and the altitude was somewhere around 12,000 feet! We never did make it to the very top of Mt. Evans (14,240 feet), but we did get high enough to touch snow and it was cool enough to require a change into long sleeved shirts and socks.
This is the view at Summit Lake, a stop that is just below the peak. This panoramic is an amalgam of images that I took with my cellphone. I also brought a film panoramic camera… someday I will process that film and post them here. Some. Day. As I’ve said before, I’ve got a film backlog dating to 2008 (and countless trips) so I have no illusions about when they will see the light of day.
These are just some of the stunning views I saw from the parking lot at Mt. Goliath. The air was crisp and fresh. I had some trouble with the elevation. Just that morning we met a couple at the breakfast table at our B&B who recounted stories of hiking at 14,000+ feet in Peru. I listened to their stories in awe and without a clue that we would soon be traversing similar heights! The Denver Botanic hosts educational hiking tours of the area and while I had hoped to sign up for a tour I am glad we didn’t this time around. Due to the elevation, I found it hard enough to catch my breath walking slowly around the grounds and bending down with cameras to take shots of the diminutive plants at my feet.
This part of the mountain features bristlecone pines, the OLDEST KNOWN SINGLE LIVING ORGANISMS at just under 5,000 years. To recap: I went above the tree line, saw snow in July, AND touched the oldest living organisms in the world. How’s that for a morning?
Visiting both this garden and the alpine garden in Denver really made me long for some large rocks with which to create more structure in my own garden.
A wetland area.
I didn’t expect this post to be so long so I’m going to stop here for now. My next post will include lots of close-ups.