We ended up renewing our camping fees for several days at Lakes Basin, drawn into the boggy meadows by the rich flowers, green sedges and rushes. The campground host made a comment that it was too bad that most of the flowers were gone, but while we smiled politely, the truth was we saw flowers everywhere we turned. Spangled orange lilies, purple and white monkshood, allium, cow parsnip looking like white fireworks, delicate spires of orchid all through the meadows. I searched for my own favorite ‘Grass of Parnassus’ with its simple white flowers striped in green, but that was my one disappointment. Not one to be seen. I think I found rosettes of the leaves, but no blooms yet. According to my guidebooks it’s scheduled to bloom from July to October, so I hope it’s just late. I believe it’s true that every other time I’ve wandered about the high meadows near Lakes basin I’ve seen a couple of blooms, greeting them like old friends.
So, confess the truth, did you know there was such a thing as a fresh-water sponge? I didn’t. Apparently they are common in places where the waters are of great purity. Husband and daughter waded in that swimming hole and found some examples of the fresh-water sponge, and the bizaare Utricularia, a carnivorous water plant. They had a grand time, but I did too, painting scenes around and about the swimming hole and beyond. Fascinating ruins of the old resort built of local rock gave extra interest to some compositions. We also did some fairly vigorous hiking up above the camp going from one high mountain lake to another.
I saw such butterflies. Even a Ruddy Copper — magnificent fellow darting about among goldenrod and asters. Parnassia as well — a high altitude butterfly in cream and sooty gray with touches of red-orange. Uncommon and a thrill to stalk until I could confirm my guess at what I saw. Mormon fritillaries in hordes, Satyrs and tiny blues all over, flickering color among the flowers and grasses.
I know this sounds too much like a catalogue of pleasures, but perhaps it’s apt, for we had the most lovely of times staying in this one place among friendly people and dogs, with the light hanging late in the sky among the towering firs and Ponderosas.