Recently your correspondent spent a rainy day hiking Peruvian Gulch and Cirque Ridge, mostly trying to resolve a writing quandary but also because rain keeps fellow hikers to a minimum and allows you to enjoy popular trails. There’s also something about rainy hikes that draws your attention to subjects that don’t normally capture your attention and a few minutes into the hike the consternation was forgotten.

Mountain orchid close up.

Mountain Orchid closeup.

It was in this particular frame of mind that Canyon Blog repeatedly crossed paths with his favorite alpine flower of all, the Colorado Columbine. The rain, light and contrast against a dewy backdrop made it pop more than usual.

Mountain Orchid closeup.

The white Columbine (scientific name Aquilegia) is a type of buttercup but to your correspondent that always seems like a mischaracterization because when it’s alone it stands out like a tropical orchid against the usual alpine flora, especially spruce and other pines, and where it can be found growing from inside scrubby bows along ridgelines. A little-known fact is that the white version indicates Ph balanced soil while the blue variety indicates acidic soil.

Mountain Orchid closeup.

On this day, it served as a reminder to stop, smell the flowers, and the rain and remember: there’s nothing more important than enjoying your hike when, in the moment, a Wasatch blossom calls to you.