Sunday, April 13, 2014

Good Early Season Trails

As I sit here watching the snow blow, I'm reminded once again that it will still be a few weeks before all the trails are reliably dry.  I thought I'd be smart one day last week and run on the south side.  The first half-- up from Florida trailhead-- was dry, but coming down toward the Utah trailhead I hit some spots that were pretty sloppy.  

This time of year, staying low seems to be the best bet since all the ravines higher on the mountain can be shady and stay muddy for a week after the snow melts.

One of the best, and easiest places to check out the early wildflowers is the connector trail between the Utah and Florida trailheads.  This short segment  was realigned a couple years ago and cuts right through one of the best areas for diverse blooms. If you continue east from the Florida parking lot, you can do an out-and back with great views of the city and some different wildflowers than you'll find on the sunnier south side.  

A little warm weather really spurred the flowers to come out in the last week.  Most of the blooms are just getting started but I've seen Easter Daisy, Golden Banner, and Early Purple Vetch along with a bunch of Sand Lilies.  It looks like we'll be warming up slowly over the next week.  That'll encourage the flowers to come out but not bloom and drop the way hot weather can make them do.  
Sand Lily (Leucocrinum montanum)
Golden Banner (Thermopsis divaricarpa)

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