The Flowers of American Basin, July 22, 2014

by Linden B. (Lindy) Sisk

Photographs by Lindy Sisk and Cindy Crochet

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Cindy Crochet and I were advised on Monday, July 21, 2014, that the flowers in American Basin were not very good. We briefly considered abandoning a planned trip to the basin, but decided to go anyway. Readers may judge for themselves whether we wasted our trip. We think not.

We left the RV park a bit after 7:00 AM. We picked up a Colorado Trail hiker at Spring Creek Pass, and gave him a ride into Lake City, where he planned to call his wife to wish her a happy birthday a day late, spend the night, resupply, and resume the trail the following day. We arrived at the basin at about 9:35 AM, and parked just on the other side of the creek. We shouldered our packs, and hiked off uphill.


The white flowers are ALL Columbines

Up above the upper parking area, we spotted a waterfall off to the east, and went off the trail in that direction.

Deep snow above the waterfall

After our visit to the waterfall, we angled back to the south to regain the trail, and followed it uphill toward Sloan Lake. The trail leads, eventually, to Handies Peak, one of the Colorado "14'ers", i.e., peaks over 14,000 feet in elevation — but we weren't going that far. This time of the year, the Southwest Monsoon often generates afternoon thundershowers, which makes being up high in the open risky business. And both Cindy and I had previously summited Handies Peak, so we didn't feel any need to do so again. So, we had picnic lunches to eat at the lake.

Yep, snow on the trail...

Sloan Lake
Yes, the sky is really that blue

Cindy in snow at Sloan Lake

After lunch we wandered slowly back down the trail, taking pictures of more flowers.

On the way back down the trail, Cindy had a conversation with a marmot clearly not intimidated by humans, and it was pleased to eat some cashews she offered.

Cindy and the marmot

So, we had a spendid hike in gorgeous country on a perfect day. If the flowers were not as perfect as they might have been, well, we'll just have to go back again — and see for ourselves.
© 2014 by Linden B. (Lindy) Sisk and Cynthia (Cindy) Crochet
All Rights Reserved