Flowers of the Mountains

On an early Saturday morning four horticulture students arose before their peers, packed their day packs, and embarked on a new adventure. After driving up the tallest highway in North America, the students became excited when they stopped at the Dos Chappell Nature Center on Mt. Evans. Armed with flower identification brochures, the horticulture students began to hike the M. Walter Pesman trail at 12,216 feet to the top of Mt. Evans. The students learned about the alpine plants growing in one of the harshest environments in the world.

The girls were led by two guides, one was a seasoned veteran guide and the other was a botanist. It was amazing to learn that some plants have up to eight foot taproots and that at 12,000 feet there are only 40 frost free days a year. The flowers viewed are only in bloom and pollinate for forty days. The botanist also helped students identify plants. Throughout the hike the students became excited as they were able to identify plants without help. The girls became efficient at identifying the wooly thistle, yarrow, alpine avens, yellow stone crop, alpine spring beauty, fire weed, Colorado columbine,purple fringe, bristle cone trees and many more. After the hike the students and staff enjoyed lunch at a picnic site next to a mountain stream. The day was filled with wonder, laughter, and a new respect for the animals and plants that live atop the Rocky Mountains.

Destiny A.