Capitol Reef ~

In tiling these photos, WordPress has made the big small and the small big. It’s fitting. This landscape is so vast that gigantic land formations, even mountains, are small on the horizon when seen from distances of 20, 50, 100 miles. And only when you take the time to pay attention close at hand do you realize how many plant species are blooming all around you, dwarfed by the rock.

Zion National Park ~

I first saw Zion Canyon as a child, and it remains the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. When my companion and I arrived in early May, though, the weather was rainy and foggy, with clouds obscuring all but the very bottom of the canyon. It was still beautiful, with many flowers blooming, the just-leafed-out trees along the Virgin River a tender, bright green, and the red rock of the canyon walls backdropping everything.

The next morning we took the shuttle up the canyon (due to its popularity, this park has been forced to limit vehicles on the canyon drive for all but the winter months).  As the day went by the clouds gradually lifted, but the sky remained mostly gray. We walked the Riverside Walk, a paved trail along the Virgin River, down to the The Narrows, where the river becomes the “trail” because the canyon walls are only about 20 feet apart. The Narrows was off-limits this day due to the high water; hikers sometimes die in this wilderness area because of flash flooding and swift currents. Toward sunset we hiked the Canyon Overlook Trail at Zion’s southeast corner. Without my companion’s help up and down the steep, rocky path, which was sandy, damp, and slick, I could never have made this hike. The view rewards the effort.

Spring flowers part 2 ~

Continuing with some Sunday photos from the Denver Botanic Gardens. Clockwise from top right: Some type of fruit tree, unidentified, tulip interior, unidentified, hellebore, unidentified, unidentified, tulip interior, poppy (I think) against a background of purple pansies, orchid (probably some type of phalaenopsis), fritillaria (checkered lily). If anyone can help with identification, please comment. My knowledge of flowers is pretty limited, and the signage was spotty. I didn’t saturate any of these photos; in fact, I frequently knocked the saturation down a bit.

Some spring wildflowers ~

All of these were photographed at Giant City State Park, southern Illinois. Two were taken with a Pentax K-50 DSLR and three were taken with a compact Olympus SZ-12. Is the difference apparent? The images are definitely on the soft side, some more than others. It was much too windy a day to be photographing flowers, but you take what you can get. The important thing is…spring!

Dutchman's Breeches

Dutchman’s Breeches

Yellow Trout Lily

Yellow Trout Lily

False Rue Anemone

False Rue Anemone

Cut-Leafed Toothwort

Cut-Leafed Toothwort

Bloodroot

Bloodroot