Where in the World – Backstories Behind the Images – Sunshine at Your Feet

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This week we travel to Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, with an image that was made just a few days ago.

Spring comes late to the park; with an average elevation on the valley floor of 6,800 feet, cold lingers! This year, it’s a bit later still due to the significant snowfall from the winter months. (The ski resorts on both sides of the Teton range experienced record winters. The final tally at Grand Targhee was 590 inches.)

I was in the park late in May hoping to photograph wildflowers but there were very few at that point. I returned early this week to try again, and was pleased to see pops of yellow decorating the valley floor in many spots. These Arrowleaf Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) are members of the aster family, and related to sunflowers.

That being said, my hope was to find lupines.¬†Coming from New Hampshire, where lupine season was an annual event which I greatly anticipated and enjoyed, I miss them! Last spring they were mostly absent in this neck of the woods. While I did see clumps of lupines along the roadside on my way to the northern end of the park, I didn’t find any in locations which would make a good photo. That could mean they haven’t yet bloomed (flowers in the north end of the park bloom later) – or there could be an issue with water.

Water is everywhere right now. Too much of a good thing.

All that remaining mountain snowpack has been melting at a rapid rate with a recent spike in temperatures. Rivers and streams in the area are all very high, with some of them overflowing their banks. The water is opaque with sediment, and moving rapidly. Many roads in Grand Teton National Park are temporarily closed now due to flooding. One such road runs in to Pilgrim Creek, which can be a good spot to find lupines. Unfortunately, the area is currently under water. It doesn’t look promising for the purple spikes.

Still, I was happy to find the balsamroot in great numbers – many more than last spring.

The season of flowers will continue for another few weeks, so I haven’t yet given up on lupines. Stay tuned!

The “sunshine at your feet” image was used in one of our newest personalized service appreciation plaques. Here’s what it looks like:

Stop by next week when we continue our travels to learn about the stories behind the images.

Enjoy your weekend!

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