Spring is just around the corner. Can you feel it? Yes, it may still be just above freezing here in the Uinta Basin, but it only takes one sunny day to turn everyone's thoughts toward spring. And spring = wildflowers!
There's no better time to start up our "what's blooming in the basin" blog, which you are reading right now. Welcome! This blog will be a place where we can share our observations of plants both while at work and at play. We'll start with my observations, but I don't want to spend the whole spring and summer blathering on, so please share your stories and sightings of Uinta Basin plants with us! Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if you have photos and stories to share. We're still working on getting our photo link up and running, but in the meantime there will be plenty to talk about.
For me, as for most of us biologists working in the Basin, our interest in biology is part of our at-home lives just as much as it is a part of our at-work lives. For example: I work for FWS, but I'm also a mountain biker. I spend almost every spring and summer afternoon outdoors (not to mention the weekends), botanizing as I bike along the local basin trails. Last year, on a particularly dazzling wildflower afternoon, I was zipping up and down my favorite local trail. I came around a tight left-hand corner and was startled by a burst of wildflower colors: pink, blue, yellow, white, and magenta, crowded along a 20-foot section of trail. I gawked at the sea of color, mentally naming the source of each as I rolled along--that's a phlox, there's a lupine, and look at that dinosaur milkvetch!--momentarily forgetting to pedal my bike. That second of hesitation caused just enough momentum loss that I was completely unprepared for the sharp uphill straight ahead. My focus snapped back to the trail and I pedalled like mad. My speed carried me uphill, just a few feet short of the apex. I stalled out and tipped over sideways. Simultaneously my right foot slipped off the pedal, slamming the bike chainring into my calf. OUCH! I still have a scar on my right calf.
All snowy winter long, whenever I saw that scar, I was reminded of that day and the stunning wildflowers. And now spring is almost here, and I cannot wait for the first flower.
Where and how will you be botanizing this year?