Midsummer at the Maroon Bells

Midsummer at the Maroon Bells, Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness, Colorado

Tired from a long drive the night before, I slept through both of my alarms and woke up 45 minutes late at my camp near Colorado's famous, 14,000-foot Maroon Bells. Frantically, I threw my gear into my truck and raced up to Maroon Lake, barely arriving in time to set up my camera and catch this beautiful sunrise.

The graceful flowers in the foreground bear the inelegant name "cow parsnip." Eighteenth-century English courtiers sometimes adorned themselves with this plant's close relative, Queen Anne's lace. Cow parsnip belongs to the genus Heracleum, referring to the heroic demigod Hercules. Another common name, therefore, is Hercules' parsnip, perhaps because the plant was once widely revered for its supposed medicinal properties. I have a whimsical suggestion for another name that I think would be the most fitting of all because it would actually do justice to this appealing flower: "Hercules' lace."

Glenn Randall Photography

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