For my most recent outdoor outing (is there really any other kind of outing worth noting?) I was exploring some public roads that were new to me on part of the San Juan National Forest.
This summer has been kind to the region, blessed with rain in late summer. Not too much, either. The fire danger went down from Very High in June to Low now. Pretty sweet.
Driving north into the forest from Mancos, Colorado soon had me back into Ponderosa pine, aspen, mountain meadows, and–even higher up–spruce and fir. The dirt roads were dry and it wasn’t too crowded with summertime recreationists.
I stopped at a nice viewpoint up the West Fork of the Mancos River canyon to the high peaks of the La Plata (“Silver”) Mountains. To Hesperus Peak, one of the four mountains sacred to the Navajo people.
At a nearby junction, I spotted a nearly-white blob in amongst the greenery. Could that be the giant edible mushroom called the Puffball? It was. In perfect condition to come home with me, too.
Further along there were more mushrooms, which I could not identify at the moment. The rule about eating wild mushrooms is that you never should–unless you can be positive of the identification. There are many poisonous species.
But on to the wildflowers, of which there were still many. Here is a gallery of them:
There were some berries, too. Common was Red Elderberry, Sambucus racemosa var. pubens. The seeds of the berries of this species are considered poisonous.
As far as the earliest whispers of fall, the False Hellebore “Corn Lily”) were done for the season and were turning from green to gold.
Soon the other forbs of the high forest will be turning, too. Then it will be the main event: the aspen colors. We’re still a month away from that, but for now here is my favorite aspen forest photograph from the day.
Photo location: San Juan National Forest, Montezuma and La Plata Counties, southwest Colorado.
See more of my photography at www.NaturalMoment.com.
© Copyright 2017 Stephen J. Krieg