July update - Rio Grande and San Isabel National Forests (July 5 - 8)

From July 5th to 8th, I traveled to Rio Grande and San Isabel National Forests to search for Mertensia lateriflora and M. ovata, respectively.

Lake San Cristobal
Stopping along the Silver Thread National Scenic Byway to take a look at Lake San Cristobal.

Brewer's Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus)
I spent the first night at Palisade Campground along Rio Grande River.  There were many Brewer's Blackbirds (Euphagus cyanocephalus) near the campground.

Mertensia lateriflora occurring along the roadside.

One of the plants.

Bell-like flowers.

Mertensia lateriflora
Another look at the flowers.

A bee robbing the nectar while I was measuring the plants.

Immediately after measuring M. lateriflora, I drove to San Isabel National Forests to measure M. ovata.

Trail map.

I arrived at Cordova Pass Campground late in the afternoon, so I decided to camp overnight and measure the plants the next day.

West Spanish Peak
West Spanish Peak in the distance.

Beautiful view.

View from the outlook (not the summit).

At the outlook, I saw two Bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) walking along the rocky slope.  Too bad I only had my macro lens at the time so I had to crop this photo pretty tightly.

M. ovata

A fly on the flowers.

View from West Spanish Peak outlook
Spectacular view from the outlook (larger image).

The outlook is also filled with beautiful wildflowers and pollinators.

Old-Man-Of-The-Mountain (Hymenoxys grandiflora)
Old-Man-Of-The-Mountain (Hymenoxys grandiflora)

Minuartia macrantha
Minuartia macrantha

Parry's Trifolium (Trifolium parryi)
Parry's Trifolium (Trifolium parryi)

Milbert's Tortoiseshell (Aglais milberti)
Milbert's Tortoiseshell (Aglais milberti)

Aphrodite Fritillary (Speyeria aphrodite)
Aphrodite Fritillary (Speyeria aphrodite)

Aphrodite Fritillary (Speyeria aphrodite)

After leaving San Isabel National Forest, I spent another night at Palisade Campground before heading back to Gothic.

San Juan City
In the morning of the 8th, I stopped at a scenic spotand took a panoramic photo of San Juan City in the distance.  You can see the my shadow and the car's at the bottom right corner.  Here is the larger image.

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