Bryon and I met late this afternoon for an evening hike in the Flatiron Mountains outside of Boulder. It turned out to be a perfect Colorado evening, with temperatures in the 70s, and clear as a bell. You could see all the way down to Pikes Peak in the south and up to Longs Peak in the north. Not only that, but the evening brought out the critters, and as we were walking up the trail to Shadow Canyon, a red fox came strolling down the trail towards us. We were wondering how close he would get — he didn’t seem to want anything from us, like food, but he also didn’t seem frightened of us. After getting within 10 feet of us, he took a slight detour off the trail and then got right back on the trail behind us. Still, I got a few pictures of him — it is handy to have those smart phones with you at all times, just in case. Later on, we saw a bird I had never seen before, the Lazuli Bunting — what a colorful bird — powder blue head and neck, and orange breast. It was fun seeing some new wildlife I hadn’t seen before.
The other treat we received on our hike, was the amazing wildflower display I have seen in a long time. The upper part of Shadow Canyon got burned over by a fire two years ago, where most of the conifers were killed off. I think this year brought the perfect combination of conditions of lots of moisture in the soil, along with maximum sunlight due to the trees being killed off. There was an explosion of purple penstemon, with some yellow cinquefoil wildflowers mixed in that just covered the hillside. It was amazingly beautiful.
We’ve had so many Junes in the past that we had wildfires burning, and the air was filled with smoke. But tonight reminded me of the beauty of the Colorado mountains on a perfect summer evening, and made me so grateful to be able to enjoy it.