Thursday, February 2, 2012

2/2/12 Wildlflower Season Beginning Now

Wildflower Season Has Begun
It is quite early for the wildflowers to begin blooming, but I have to report that the season has begun and the very first species are emerging now, first a very few, and building a few more every day. Early daffodils are blooming.

Sharp-Lobed Hepatica Flowers in Lost Valley
We are having a very warm winter and it is clear that the wildflowers think it is spring. The most common wildflower now is sharp-lobed hepatica. I saw one January 29, and today I saw perhaps 10 flowers on the Lost Valley Hiking Trail.

What a beautiful day to hike. Perfect spring temperatures. If you are a wildflower fan, this is the beginning of the beginning. Each day there will be more flowers and more species.

So far it is the Hepaticas just starting. I did not see the Harbinger of Spring, but it must be there. They are tiny and not easily seen.

The weather forecast for Friday is for rain. But it clears by Saturday and this warm period continues. Nothing in the forecast indicates a hard freeze going forward.

I will be posting the first bloom dates of wildflowers that I see along with photographs. I try to visit the valley 3 times a week to survey what is happening and post my updates. At least 3 months of wildflowers season is ahead.

This morning there was good elk viewing at the 43/21 intersection. A nice herd of about 30 animals was in the field along with a big bull. I got a few pictures.

If you plan to visit, elk viewing and wildflower viewing complement one another perfectly. About the time elk viewing ends, the wildflowers open. It is easy to spend a half day between early elk viewing a leisurely woodland hike to see the wildflowers. Because there are no leaves yet, bluffs and rock formations are impressive and majestic. Many consider winter hiking the best hiking of the year. This weekend should be very good.

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