Above Wonderland Lake

The day was sunny and hot enough that I waited until midafternoon before heading out with Bodhi on a hike. Out the door and down toward the lake, then up the branch that tops a hill above the lake, where the views of Boulder are splendid:

Wonderland Lake

This is the hike—and the view—that made me fall in love with Boulder when I first visited in 2004. Two and a half years later I was living here. For some silly reasons (of time and busyness) I hadn’t revisited this life-changing hike until this day.

On the way to the crest of the hill, lots of wildflowers. Down near the lake, a small bed of leafy cinquefoil (Drymocallis fissa):

Leafy cinquefoil

And a few stems of penstemon. I loved this stalk backlit by the sun:


And then there was a cool rock:

Cool rock

Yellow flowers abounded: some western wallflower (Erysmum asperum), a relative of mustard:

Western wallflower

And of course arnica: Heart-leaved arnica

Some spreading fleabane, from the aster family (Erigeron divergens):


Some white locoweed (Oxytropis sericea), of the legume or bean family (they fix nitrogen in the soil). Like all locoweed, it is toxic to animals and humans:

White locoweed

And finally, the only orange (apricot, really) wildflower friend today, the globe mallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea), complete with an insect enjoying itself:

Globe mallow

I met only two or three people, one of whom is a friend from yoga class. We sat down for a few minutes to catch up, and when I put my hand down on the ground beside me, suddenly my wrist felt like it had been pierced by a thousand tiny spears. A few minutes later the feeling was of a hot flame next to the skin, and a few minutes after that, some welts appeared, as if from insect bites. I never did identify the culprit, but it had to be a plant rather than an insect because the irritation appeared all over my wrist simultaneously. The welts went away after a couple of hours, no damage. Anyone have any idea what I contacted?


Through it all, my faithful friend Bodhi, fierce toward strangers (a lot fiercer than he needs to be—we’re still working on that!) and now, after a year of training, so patient that he’ll stop quietly while I mess with camera or binoculars. The only dog I’ve been able to go birding with because he actually sits and waits.



2 Responses to Above Wonderland Lake

  1. Annette says:June 11, 2009 at 12:11 am

    Nothing better in the world than a beautiful afternoon hike with a loyal little companion!

  2. Claire Walter says:June 13, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    A bonus, this cool and rainy spring, is all that green, green grass. We’ll be missing it this summer when nature turns up the thermostat and all the grass turns brown.