The little fella up there on the rock has been trained by Parks Canada to screech out, “Welcome to Waterton.” Most people don’t hear that, though. They’re too busy looking at the flowers.
And unfortunately, he has to leave at the end of August every year to go back to school. So lots of people never get to see him.
Charlie and BJ stopped at a pull-off on the Red Rock Parkway, which is the beginning of the Bellevue Trail. The trail meanders along beside Bellevue Hill (2093 m), which backs onto the east side Mount Galwey (2377 m), and it goes all the way to the bison compound.
But Charlie mentioned in the chapter you just read that he didn’t want to go that far. He was in a thinky mood. He just wanted to poke along and look at things.
Most years, the meadows on the Red Rock Parkway look like this in the spring.
Here are some of the flowers that bloom along the parkway.
I’m going to start with the crocus. They’re my very favorite. Charlie’s, too. They’re often the first flower to appear in the spring. They’ll even push up through snow and start blooming. Pretty gutsy.
But I had no idea that my favorite crocus is not a crocus. And Charlie was no help. He knows even less about flowers than I do.
True crocuses, apparently, are in the Lily family. My crocus, the prairie crocus, is an anemone, which is in the Buttercup family, and is often called a pasqueflower. Oh, well. C’est la vie.
Charlie also really liked the glacier lily, which is another early bloomer. It appears almost immediately after the snows melt. And sometimes even before.
People who are into natural healing recommend this lily as an excellent source of nutrition, but they caution that its bulb and leaves should only be harvested in an emergency. The plant is quite rare in some places.
And, of course, Waterton has lots of the ubiquitous old man’s whiskers, which range from Canada down to California and across to New York.
And two final examples below of the many flowers in the meadows: the dotted blazingstar (purple) and the western Canada goldenrod (yellow). I admit, though, that I had to confirm the names of these flowers with Waterton’s Visitor Experience Manager.
Note: I’m guessing that the butterflies are Zerene fritillaries, which are a species of butterflies. And if I really wanted to push it, I might even suggest they are speyeria callippe comstockis. If that’s incorrect, though, please don’t hesitate to let me know.
However, the following photos are probably closer to what Charlie and BJ saw.
It’s too bad it was so windy the day I took these photos. I had to go with a much shallower depth of field than I wanted.
The other option, of course, was to go for maximum depth of field and a slower shutter speed and let the flowers sweep back and forth. Beautiful splashes of color. But I opted for as much definition as I could get.
At the end of the chapter, BJ promises Charlie a double mint chip waffle cone if he’ll stop talking about what the vandals did to the flowers in the meadow, and a Local Smokie if the story he’s about to tell her is a good one.
She knows his weak spots. And Charlie easily earns both the cone and the Smokie, especially the Smokie, with his recounting of his experiences at London Conference in 1967.
In the next chapter, BJ is actually quite surprised by his story, especially the parts about Jeremy Roda. She wished she could have met Roda and heard him preach at one of his Sunday evening services at Metropolitan United.
Roda’d certainly been a major influence on her ol’ sweetie.
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(© 2018 Glenn Christianson. All rights reserved.)
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