Snow and ice melting with the warming early summer sun in the upper mountain meadows provide nourishing water for the slowly sprouting alpine wildflowers. Soon the first flowers appear---Globeflowers with divided leaves, Marsh Marigold with heart-shaped leaves, and yellow Snow Buttercups with stringy leaves. The flowers below were photographed by Bernie Nagy above Emma Lake near Alma, Colorado. When the first hikers arrive to climb Colorado’s Rocky Mountain peaks, they will find a wide variety of much smaller and tiny subalpine species blooming in addition.
In earlier times from 1887 to 1918, the Colorado Midland Railroad transported summer tourists along a route out of Colorado Springs through the Granite Canyon in South Park (now called Eleven Mile Canyon) into Spinney. A favorite spot for visitors to enjoy the wildflowers was the Idlewild Park, a scenic rocky landmark and picnic place. The railroad was dismantled in 1921 and so the “Wildflower Train Excursions” as they were called came to halt. Shown here is a collectible historic hand-colored post card from 1915 depicting tourists on the back of a train posing with bundles of wildflowers they have picked on this popular outing. Bundles of Indian Paintbrushes in red, pink and yellow; blue Wild Iris, and purple Penstemon were among the wildflowers gathered by visitors to the area.
Today one can travel the Eleven Mile Canyon from Lake George along the gravel road by the South Platte River and pass through several of the old train tunnels on the way to the Eleven Mile Reservoir Dam.
Many wildflowers were photographed in the Lake George/ Eleven Mile Canyon area and in the high mountains around Alma, Colorado the for the recently published award-winning Rocky Mountain Wildflower Guide by author Linda Nagy with photographs by her husband, award-winning photographer, Bernie Nagy.