Monday, July 30, 2012

Summit Lake Park

Earlier this month, CNHP director Dave Anderson, ecologist Denise Culver, and botanist Jill Handwerk visited the Summit Lake Park to help Denver Mountain Parks and the Colorado Native Plant Society document the vegetation in the area.

To help give you an immersive experience of actually being there, put an ice cube tray in front of a fan and sit in front of it.

This park on Mount Evans is also a National Park Service National Natural Landmark. This is a good place to see a number of wildlife species, including large mammals:

These bighorn sheep are apparently taking over for the far-more-frequently-seen-except-when-we're-there mountain goats while the goats are on lunch break.

And, smaller mammals:

A typical alpine resident, the yellow-bellied marmot, seeing what those crazy botanists are up to.

Mt. Evans is also home to several species of rare alpine plants:

Koenigia islandica, with a pencil point for scale. This arctic plant is rare in Colorado.

Draba exunguiculata, found only in Colorado.

These and other rare species share the park with many more common alpine species:

Claytonia megarhiza, the alpine spring-beauty.

Bistorta vivipara (=Polygonum viviparum), the alpine bistort.

And when the weather is good, the views are spectacular!

 The view from the ridge north of Summit Lake, looking into the Chicago Lakes Basin.

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