Serene Karplus, Nederland. Columbines shine their white ruff faces to the dappled sun, their long blue tails streaming behind them. Red paintbrush poke through waving white lupines. Golden banner shower yellow dots across the scene. Add ethereal blue skies, sunshine, and a sturdy pair of hiking boots and this explosive display lasts all day.
The fireworks in the meadows are a blaze of glory – in all the right ways. No crowds, no noise, no risk of starting fires, no injuries – just a glorious array of red, white, and blue with all the other colors mixed in. For those who are less able to hike up rugged mountain trails, plenty of flowers line flat, smooth local walks. We just have to open our eyes and look.
Last weekend, running short of daylight, we stopped a couple of parties on a trail to ask if the meadow above was full of flowers. Both said no. We hiked up anyway and saw dozens of varieties in bloom, from the delicate Prairie Smoke to the more showy Phacelia (the Latin name for what I call “fiber optics” and others call Purple Fringe). This appears to be a fabulous year for Spotted Coralroot orchids just starting to bloom and we have already said good-bye to most of our Calypso orchid friends.
Looking for others to hike or visit flowers with? In addition to checking meetup groups online for outings that bring folks up from down below, here are several organized hikes in July that will attract fellow mountain dwellers. Don’t forget rain gear, water, a snack, and hiking poles if needed on uneven terrain.
Thursday, 7/17—Wildflower Walk from Gilpin Exhibit Barn. Slow, easy 1 mile. 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Register at 303-582-9106. $5.
Friday, 7/18—NAS Third Fridays Wildflower Walk at East Portal. Group will identify wildflowers on first mile then return. More active hikers may continue further. Carpools depart 9:00 a.m., Nederland Community Center. Free. Call 303-258-0799 for info.
Saturday, 7/19—Edible and Medicinal Plants Walk with Brigitte Mars. 10:00 a.m. until Noon. Register with Wild Bear, 303-258-0495. $25 Adult, $20 Senior, $10 Kids 6-12.
Sunday, 7/20—Wildflowers at Golden Gate Canyon State Park. $10 + $7 park pass. Info and register at 303-582-9106.
Friday, 7/25—Wildflower ID and Sketching Class and 1 Mile Walk with Damaris Methner and Irene Shonle. Gilpin Exhibit Barn, 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m., art supplies provided. Register at 303-582-9106. $5.
Saturday, 7/26—Weed Pull at East Portal, followed by Wildflower ID Hike. 8:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Hosted by Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado; register at voc.org/project/james-peak-invasive-weed-removal-1. Free.
Tuesday, 7/29—Family Nature Walk for Parents and Kids Age 5-10. Easy walk, scavenger hunt, and nature craft creation, from Gilpin Exhibit Barn, 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m., $5/family.
Tuesday, 7/29—Sunset Hike at Caribou Ranch. Boulder County Parks and Open Space, 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. Free.
Thursday, 7/31—Senior Hike at Caribou Ranch. Boulder County Parks and Open Space, 10:00 a.m. until Noon. Free.
Everyone is invited to the Nederland Area Seniors luncheon at the Nederland Community Center at noon. A donation of $4 is requested from those over 60 years of age and $8.25 all others, but no seniors are turned away due to inability to pay. Please make reservations by 4 p.m. Friday for Monday lunch and 4 p.m. Monday for Wednesday lunch at 303-258-0799.