When hiking at Catcoctin Mountain Park in Maryland, I felt like everything was easy. There were some rocky paths and steeper climbs, but I was just enjoying it so much that I didn’t notice the difficulty of the terrain or the 8 miles we walked. The things I noticed were the beautiful scenery, the great weather, and having good conversations with a friend. It’s easier to notice all the good things when you’re in a better mood, and I noticed these really cool flowers once we returned to the trailhead after a great hike.
The desert regions of the southwest aren’t nearly as barren as one might think. Besides the incredible structures and canyons there are myriad plant species that line trails and backcountry throughout the area. Wildflowers are abundant in warmer months, and blossoming cactuses are some of the more strangely beautiful flora that you can find. The exotically intriguing flowers beckon while the sharp points encourage you to keep your distance. That’s what zoom is good for.
The United State Botanic Garden has a ton of amazing plants and flower, many of which are orchids of many varieties. They are all intriguingly unique and beautiful. It seems like they have a personality. Some seems welcoming and friendly, while others seem fierce and intimidating. Their exotic shapes, colors, and spotting make it easy to spend a long time getting lost in a single flower. This one caught my eye as it seemed to be stretching out to get a look beyond the bushes it hides in.
Olympic National Park in northwest Washington has some of the most diverse landscapes and ecosystems all within a relatively small territory. Hurricane Ridge showcases the gorgeous Olympic Mountains, which are snow-capped most of the year. There is beauty everywhere you look from Hurricane Hill is magnificent. The mountains surround you, the flowers brush against your ankles, and the Olympic marmots scurry around, perching on rocks for better views and whistling to each other at any sign of possible danger. There’s nothing much like it.
Hiking is one of my favorite things to do; especially in the mountains of the western U.S. On my first trip to Northern Cascades National Park in Washington I was able to do a hike that blew my mind. The Hidden Lake Lookout was a strenuously beautiful hike across beautiful forest, loose rock, and snow fields before arriving at the final climb up jagged rocks and huge boulders to arrive at a view that is rivaled by few I’ve experienced. I could say so much more about this place, but I’ll let the photo speak for itself. I think it’s saying, “you need to come here.”