Green is a Difficult Color (Treescapes III / Colorado IV)

Getting to higher elevation in late spring is a problem in Colorado, not so much because of snow, but because of the streams with hip deep and ice cold water that one has to crossDSC 8735

After a while one resigns into not reaching that peak or lake, and finds consolation in the contemplation of the trees on the other side of the stream.

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I have written twice about treescapes: First about the fall at Red River Gorge State Park in Kentucky, and then about the winter in Brown County State Park. So now it is time for a spring version.

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Green is a difficult color. When I make 2-colored surface images, I usually have a hard time picking a second color that complements any sort of green nicely. On the other hand, I find the natural shades of green in these landscapes positively overwhelming. My theory is that green goes well only with more green, or shades of gray.

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These images are from an attempt to reach the Flat Tops Wilderness. There will be another time.

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Crossings (Colorado III)

You need to cross the stream three times until you reach Bridge One…

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Crossing a stream is a well-worn pattern, at least in Western culture: we think of Hades, Lethe, and all that. This post is about the pattern of multiple crossings.

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I was hiking No Name Trail (near Hanging Lake), when I met the hiker who informed me as above. She continued:

 Bridge One is awesome. You should go there. 

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And so I went, crossing the stream three times. A single crossing is like a terminal step, irreversible. Multiple crossings are like a dialogue: Hey, here we meet. We both have changed. Let’s meet again.

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When switching from one side to the other, we accept a change. On No Name Trail, this might be perceived as a change from pine and oak to birch.

…From Bridge One you can go on to Bridge Two…

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At Bridge Two, there is a violent waterfall. Bridge Two itself, broken.

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…You can go even further, to a place I call The Top of the World…

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Will I ever get there?

Hanging Lake (Colorado II)

Last week’s post was a bit of a cliff hanger, and so is Hanging Lake.

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It is precariously sitting on top of a cliff, with waterfalls in the back as a bonus.

 

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The emerald green water creates an eery play between underwater world and the reflections of the upper world behind.

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What more could one wish for? Well, there is more. A very short hike up above is Spouting Rock, a single, taller waterfall that by itself is worth a visit.

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Long time exposure doesn’t do it much good.

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In this case, I like the dramatic spattering or the quiet drip-dropping much better.

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It is a wondrous place. Remember, come early.

Hanging Lake Trail (Colorado I)

Hanging Lake is one of the most popular hikes in Colorado. In the summer, the daily 1000+ visitors don’t hike the trail anymore, but stand in line all the way up and down.DSC 8523

I avoided all this by getting there at 7am, which gave me time to enjoy the trail itself.

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It climbs up steeply among trees and rock cliffs. On a crowded day, it would be impossible not to overlook perfect sceneries like this one.

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The semi-vandalized hut below hints at how much work it must be to maintain the trail and keep it in its almost pristine condition.

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What to do with an incessant stream of visitors? Let it grow, or cut?

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It all depends, of course, what is at the end of the hike. We’ll learn that next week…

Trillium Grandiflorum

Spring this year was short, and so was the wildflower season.  

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This post is dedicated to the largest trillium in the state, the trillium grandiflorum. It is not particularly rare, but the large white flower petals whither quickly, and is a favorite food of the abundant deer population.  DSC 1292

Both the petals and leaves are deeply veined. The flower sits on a stem above the leaves, in contrast to the drooping trillium where it drops down below the leaves.

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One of the woodland trails in Turkey Run State Park has them usually in abundance, but only this year I saw them in their prime time.

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Little Things in Yellow and White and Green

The Turkey Run State Park has not only some of the most interesting rock formations in Indiana, but also an exciting vegetation.  Today we focus on the little things. Let begin with the liverworts (marchantiophyta), belonging to the bryophytes family. These bryophytes neither use roots nor make flowers, but interesting leave patterns. This stuff is what covers the rock formations, unless the rocks have been abused as slides. People should (i) look and (ii) think before they do their thing.DSC 1231

Here is another very little one I don’t know the name of. 

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Below, I think, is a buttercup flower, getting ready.DSC 1257

Unfortunately, searching for yellow with white hair is not very helpful. So I also don’t know what this one is called. But it does know about right angles and 5-fold symmetry.DSC 1258

Finally, another flowerless plant with pretty hair:DSC 1286

More Smallness

I have written before about the perspective vertically down, and complained that in Indiana, you only see mud or decaying leaves. So, let’s have a look.DSC 1030

What is this stuff? I have only seen it at the DePauw Nature Park, near water. It is likely organic, but never green. Is there a zombie-plant whose natural state of existence is that of decay?

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But not everything is decaying. Roots are feeling their way, and algae cover everything in wondrous patterns.

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Tiniest plants remind us that we are little, too.DSC 1062

Hence let us rest…

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