Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Herman Gulch Trail/Mt. Machebeuf, Part I

What seemed like it would be a nice little hike on Herman Gulch Trail turned into something more. Too much more to fit in one blog, so I'll give you the first set of pics today and the next tomorrow.
Second straight week with a steep start to the trail. This one was pretty rocky, too.
Beetle kill again marked the hike's early stages, but again it dropped significantly the farther away from the highway I got. I wondered if proximity to development was a factor before. What about things like vehicle emissions or noise?
The noise from the highway was eventually drowned out by this roaring stream.
Looking back south at Mt. Sniktau on the other side of I-70.
A lot of great wildflowers again, and I still can't identify them to save my life. This one Parry Primrose, maybe?
My wildflower disease is also infecting my butterfly identification. No idea what this guy on the dandelion is. I'll ask Mike Fisher, who was so helpful with the ones from last week. UPDATE: Mike came through again. I sent him the photo and he says it's either the Veined-White or Forest White (Pieris marginalis). Everybody should have a butterfly specialist on call!
I almost broke from the trail to head up this slope just because it looked intriguing. That itch would eventually become something I just had to scratch later. (Editor's Note: Foreshadowing is a sign of quality entertainment.)
Token wildlife sighting -- a friendly Gray Jay. Danelle and I learned on our safari to Africa back in 2000 that you might not see a hippo or a lion every time, but if you appreciate the birds you'll never be disappointed.
Blue flax? Spiderwort? I desperately need a Mike Fisher for wildflowers...
I'm fairly confident this is a Globe Flower.
There was still quite a bit of snow on the top half of the trail. Fortunately there were also a lot of footprints to make it fairly easy to stay on course.
Lots of Forget-me-nots at the higher elevations.
Herman Lake at the trail's end was still heavily covered with snow.
A thin layer of ice extended all the way to the lake's edge.
Looking back towards the trailhead, Mt. Machebeuf on the left continued to beckon. I could break from the trail, summit that peak and make it back with no problem, right?
Stay tuned...

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