Finally the snow and rain has given us a break! This past weekend was more “springy” with temperate weather and those famous Colorado blue skies. I grabbed the opportunity to take a hike with the dogs on Sunday. Just up from the Sonnenalp Golf Club parking lot is a new? trail in Singletree. The trail head is a couple hundred yards up the road on the right in between the green and the first house on the hill. You could easily miss it if you are not paying attention. This is a nice hike if you are just looking to get out and log a few relatively easy miles with the kids or canines. It starts with a significant incline but levels out fairly quickly and provides a few length options from the top.
In any case, I was thrilled to see a few harbingers of springtime along the way. The pasque flower (genus Pulsatilla), also known as the prairie crocus, wind flower, Easter flower or meadow anemone, is one of the first wildflowers to bloom in Spring. Although beautiful, this little guy is highly toxic so be careful not to disturb them. Despite their toxicity, Native Americans have used these blooms as a medicine for centuries.
We’re still working on identifying the plant at right. It was growing amongst sagebrush in full sun. Although we’ve had lots of rain lately this was still a pretty dry environment. The green leaves are fern-like and growing flat along the ground. There is a protruding middle stem with developing red/maroon flowers. Can you identify this plant? Leave us a comment!
Another exciting sign of spring has been the siting of red foxes and their playful kits – I have seen two litters, one in Avon and one down in Eagle. Keep your eyes peeled for a fox den near you.
Help Walking Mountains by becoming a local phenologist! Phenology is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and inter-annual variations in climate. Have you identified any tokens of Spring? We would love to add benchmarks to our blog, please let us know about the plants and animals you have encountered recently on your own local hikes.