Western Moss-heather: Cassiope mertensiana

Western Moss-heather is a beautiful plant that grows high up in the alpine environment in northwestern United States, Alaska and Canada. We happened across a nice patch flowering a few weeks ago.

Beautiful little bells hanging from redish stems with the plants growing about 4-5 inches tall at most.

Some patches almost seems to be growing directly out of the rocks along this wind whipped slope.

A flower we don’t encounter every summer on our hikes but one we will always remember.

One last alpine garden

A few weeks ago we we lucky enough to take a hike along a ridge above tree-line once again filled with alpine wildflower. Most growing only inches tall yet the display of color was stunning.

Carefully stepping from rock to rock to avoid smashing these fragile flowers that somehow thrive in a cold and windy environment.

Where sunflowers and lupine grown only inches tall.

While other flower grew as if they were the earth itself.

Happy Friday and wishing you a wonderful weekend.

Broad Tailed Hummingbird

Given my poor skills at identifying Hummingbirds, especially the females, please correct me if I am wrong again this time.

While we were out hiking last weekend this Broad tailed Hummingbird landed on a branch right in front of us on a very windy afternoon. I can’t imagine being a bird that weighs mere ounces buzzing about on a day with the wind as strong as that day but she was sure putting in a great effort. After a short rest she was off with that familiar hummingbird buzz and buzzed away on a breezy day.

Sagebrush Buttercups: Ranunculus glaberrimus

buttercups_025

Just down the road, where the sun hits just right, is a small patch of earth warmed by the sun where the snow has melted and the Sagebrush Buttercups are already springing to life.

Growing low to the ground with their buttery shiny-waxy petals these wonderful little flowers are a challenge to photograph yet fun nonetheless. They are a bit poisonous to the touch so take care if handling them as they can cause blistering.

Buttercups_012

While a few were blooming most we still just on their way.

Buttercups_1245buttercups_198

A wonderful sign that spring is indeed on it’s way despite the recent snows.

buttercups_026

 

Afternoon Stroll

November_walk_1

A stroll up the trail on a November afternoon. Will it be warm will it be cold, sunny or cloudy? Probably all of the above.

The trail was covered with a light layer of snow yet the creek flowed freely.

November_walk_2

Mountain Ash berries glowing a brilliant orange seem to scream “hey birds…what are you waiting for.”

November_walk_3

Temperatures warmed along the way as icicles glued to moss began to thaw.

November_walk_4

…and what started a cloudy day become much less so on a slow and quiet afternoon stroll.

One last look

More_chippy_2345

This year Chippy was a constant companion around the yard. Darting back and forth and to and fro collecting morsels to munch on and them finding the perfect perch to munch them on. We don’t see much of this guy as the temperatures cool and the flakes begin to fly so one last look was in order.