Sunday, May 29, 2016

Reminiscing--Hiking the Costa Rican Rainforest

Thirty years ago yesterday, I was picked up at the end of a backpack trip in the Costa Rican rain

Costa Rican Atlantic rainforest

I grew up in suburbia, it was love of plant ecology that drew me into strange activities like a week's trek in the rainforest.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Plant Story--the Dramatic Larkspurs

You hike the trail casually glancing into the brush and then, ooh! a bright blue spike of flowers catches the eye!  Larkspur!

larkspur, seen in Colorado
For me, larkspurs are one of the wildflower treats of spring.  Common enough that you see them, not common enough that you go "oh, just a larkspur."

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Visiting Northern Colorado--Horsetooth Mountain Park in Sunshine

Horsetooth Mountain Park, Fort Collins, Colorado

Five days later (see last week's blog) I revisited Horsetooth Waterfall Trail, this time on a sunny morning after three days of warm weather.

Flowers that close in cold weather were open!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Visiting Northern Colorado--Horsetooth Mountain Park in Spring Snow

Horsetooth Mountain Park
Horsetooth Mountain Park trail, in falling snow
April 28. I needed to check out the trailside plants of Horsetooth Mountain Park, on the west side of Fort Collins Colorado, for a plant hike I was going to lead the next weekend.

When I got there it was snowing. Lightly, mixed with sleet, but persistently.

One of the things I learned as a prairie ecologist: "do it now, the weather later may be worse."

Hiking out in the sleet/snow was cool but not unpleasant and I knew the weather forecast was for snow for the next three days. Out I went!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Visiting Australia—Glorious Kakadu National Park

Kakadu forest

Being in the Southern Hemisphere, the northern end of Australia is the warmest. In the lands east of Darwin on the northern coast, there is monsoon forest. A distinctly Australian tropical forest, very dry part of the year, alternating with periods so wet the low spots all become lakes and the roads disappear.

Kakadu National Park preserves a big part of that region for visitors to marvel at. It is the world's second largest national park and a World Heritage site (for both culture and nature), protecting a complex and diverse place.