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We are currently on another long distance hike, and the third leg of our "triple crown", the Continental Divide Trail (the "CDT"). Come along with us if you can - if not in person then by following our grand adventure via our "posts from the trail".  Check out our Flickr Photos, which we'll update periodically, and see it through our eyes!

Our Credo...

"Success: To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!" ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Plants of Glacier National Park

Glacier Has been in full bloom. With snows melting later than normal and summer days already getting shorter, the plants all know that NOW is the time to get on with the business of blossoming, blooming, pollinating, and procreating.

On our second day, wild flowers carpeted the trailside creating a tunnel in many places as our lower elevation walk traced the south shore of St. Mary’s lake and started up the Red Eagle valley. Yellow Columbine was the hero of the day, lining or path the whole way.

We walked through an area where a stand replacing fire burned several years ago, probably in 2003. Arnica and Nettleleaf Horsemint led the way to a lush regrowth of the understory. Fields of Yellow contrasted sharply with the blackened tree skeltons still standing.

Above timberline many of the higher slopes and passes are free of snow and full of wildflowers. While the approaches – below timberline – are in snow filled valleys. So, ironically, flowers on these high slopes and passes have a big head start from those in much lower forests that are still under snow and likely to be so for sometime yet. I call it the “Alpine Advance.”

The landscape is a photographer’s and botanist’s delight. Oh, that we had time for more of both. But, we travel at a hikers pace, not a botanizing pace, and weight considerations elimnate any thought of carrying plant guides. Many species we saw are familiar, and some we know by name. Others are familiar but we can not recall what they are, and still others are not common to us.

When we got to town we found a copy of H. Wayne Phillips book “Northern Rocky Mountain Wildflowers”. Using it, we were able to look up and put a name to some pants we closely observed. There are still many more we weren’t able to identify by name and certainly still others we didn’t notice because they weren’t right by the trail, or not in bloom, or simpy lost in the abundant profusion of plants.

So, with those qualifications, here’s a list of those plants we could identify in our five days in Glacier Park. It’s only a partial list of the profusion of wildflowers that painted the landscape:

Buttercup, Yellow Columbine, Alumroot, Clematis, Indian Paintbrush, Lupine, Foam Flower, Trailplant, Wild Ginger, Nodding Onion, Thimbleberry, Huckleberry, Elderbery, Utah Honeysuckle, Arnica, Arrow Leaf Balsamroot, Shasta Daisy, Beargrass, Meadowrue, Wood Rose, Nootka Rose, American Vetch, Queen Anne’s Cup, Kinnickinnik, Jeffery’s Shooting Star, Twisted Stalk, Starry Soloman’s Seal, False Solomon’s Seal, Ants on a Stick, Sandwort, Sticky Geranium, White Geranium, Woods Forget Me Not, Blanket Flower, Arrow Leaved Groundsel, Globeflower, Cinquefoil, Larkspur, Spring Beauty, Glacier Lilly, Moss Campion, Mountain Douglasia, Phlox, Cornflower, Coralroot, Wild Strawberry, Phlox, Nettles, White (Native) Hawkweed, Stream Violet, Yarrow, Sweet Cicely, Marposa Lilly, Lady Fern, Sword Fern, Bracken Fern, Bunchberry, Sulphur Buckwheat, Sweet Rock Jasmine, Horsetail, Bracketed Louswort, Lance Leavd Stone Crop, Nettleleaf Horsemint, Fireweed, Sub Alpine Spirea, Harebell, Cowparsnip, St John’swort (Native), Shrubby Penstemon, Elk Thistle, Yellow Beardtongue, Lovage, Mountain Hollyhock, Pearly Everlasting, Pussytoes, Montana Blue Eyed Grass, Silky Phacelia, Gooseberry, Pippsisewa, Hookers Fairy Bells, selfheal, Blue Camas, Flasbane Daisy, and the rare Limestone Columbine.

(Note: Click on any of these photos to see a larger version. Or you can view these and other photos on our Flickr stream by clicking here)

Wayne Phillips describes the Limestone Columbine as one of the few regionally (Northern Rockies) endemic plants. The flower looks very much like a columbine but it stays very low to the ground. It’s found at higher elevations in the Alpine Zone and is quite beautiful and distinctive.

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Clicking on any of these photos will take you to that specific photo on our Flickr Stream, where you can view these and many, many more photos from our latest adventure....or use this shortcut to all photos.....we hope you enjoy them!

People Shots

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Scenic Shots

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Flora & Fauna

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