Recently, I got to spend two weeks at Craters of the Moon National Monument as part of the National Park Service’s Artist in Residence (AiR) program. This post contains a bunch of pictures I took of the wildflowers and geological features I saw — like lava tubes and cinder gardens — while I was writing about the park.
I love the arid, mountain landscapes of the West. I love the native wildflower and animal species that live in mountain ecosystems. I love the aridity of the desert. I love its total lack of humidity and 100+ degree heat.
But with the aridity of the western landscape comes fire season with its forest fires and wildfires.
Last summer there were forest fires burning in Idaho and two adjoining states at around the same time. The smoke from all of them was blowing down into Boise. For weeks, the city was ensconced in a hazy layer of burning, lung-clogging smoke.
This is normal.
It’s like that in every state in the West.
The wildflowers here in the foothills outside Boise have been pretty spectacular this spring.
One of my favorite wildflowers — wild flax — has started blooming:
Wild flax is amazing because it is blue, and I have a perpetual hard on for all blue flowers, like these alpine forget-me-nots. It is also amazing because it is one of many species first described by Meriwether Lewis on the Lewis and Clark Expedition.