Wildflower bonanza

Activity Date: 
08/07/2009

The Butler Gulch trail was amazing! It's known as a "century" hike for wildflowers, because there are supposed to be over 100 species of wildflowers blooming at peak bloom time. We were lucky to be hiking at the peak of the bloom season, it was great.

The camera can't really do justice to the abundance of flowers. Everywhere you looked there was something blooming, in sun or shade. We took a ton of pictures - I wish the pictures could capture the beauty better.

Even without the flowers, this was an awesome hike. You go through trees and open meadows with various creek crossings. The trail goes for about 2.5 miles to a stream crossing at the plateau, with mountain views everywhere. We went about another mile past that to some mining ruins at the top.

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We found lots of flowers immediately.

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Ah...a meadow that was a riot of blooms. It's hard to see all the flowers in this overall meadow picture, but check out the picture below, which is a closer view of this meadow area.

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There were gorgeous Columbine flowers (the state flower of Colorado). These were so huge they looked like hybrid plants from a nursery!

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These purple flowers were really tall. They stretched on forever across the meadow. The picture below this meadow shot is a closer view of the purple flower.

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This was a kind of neat log crossing they built over a boggy area.

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Back into the trees...

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This was a really pretty patch of moss and water plants that were growing in a tiny stream area.

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And a tiny pink flower hiding in the rocks and moss...

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We're starting to leave the trees behind as we get closer to the plateau area. The trail went up to about 11,800 feet elevation. Still more flowers...

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Finally, at the plateau. We crossed over the stream and kept going. There were some pretty neat looking wind swept trees scattered around in groves.

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We headed towards the cirque across the plateau.

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Aha, once up there, we saw an abandoned mine over on the right side. It looks like a mound of light colored dirt in this picture.

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Unfortunately, almost all abandoned mines seem to have what we would call trash (although some people call the stuff "history"). This one still had a small part of the tracks that went into the mine...

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The abandoned car looked kind of neat, until you remembered it was trash sitting out on a mountain in the national forest(!).

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This was the end of our hike, we turned around and went back the way we came. We guess it was maybe 3.5 miles to get to this point.

Ok, one more flower picture...

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Honestly, the best way to capture this hike would be with my SLR camera on a tripod with a macro lens. But, all I had was my point and shoot Canon Powershot SX200. Maybe someday we'll re-hike this trail with the big camera setup. :)