Section 16 midsummer hike photos

Section 16 midsummer hike photos

Photos taken on the Section 16 loop trail (AKA Palmer Red Rocks trail) west of Colorado Springs, June 21, 2012.

Copyright (c) 2012, Sandra J. Loosemore. Photos are provided for personal viewing only; no other use is permitted without prior written consent.


Here's a view looking backwards on the trail not too far from the parking lot (which is down below in the canyon). The hills look green enough from a distance, but conditions had been very dry for the past few weeks. At least on this day it was comfortably cool for hiking, with a nice breeze.
A little further up, the trail crosses a couple red rock ridges.
Closer view of the rocks.
Looking down over Red Rock Canyon and Garden of the Gods.
Crossing the second red rock ridge.
More rock formations off over on the left side of the trail.
When I hiked this trail last year, it was a little earlier in the season and not as dry, and I saw a lot of wildflowers along the lower sections of the trail. This time about all I saw were these yellow stonecrops, just where the trail enters the woods and starts the steep part of the climb.
Not sure on ID of this shrub with the white flowers. It looks kind of like a sumac?
Just below the ridge line, I spotted this deer, who seemed completely unafraid of hikers chugging up the trail.
Fabulous views to the south, looking up Bear Creek Canyon, once you cross the divide. Tenney Crags on the right. The bare rocky peak just beyond the canyon is Stove Mountain, and I think the peak behind and to the right of that one is Mount Rosa. Cheyenne Mountain is over on the left but is hidden behind low clouds.
Another view of Tenney Crags.
City views to the east.
After crossing the ridge, the trail climbs a little bit more to a saddle. Here's a view from its high point. The trail drops down the slope to the left, while on the right side of the saddle there is a residential area called Crystal Park.
When I'd hiked this trail last year, I'd found lots of wildflowers in this area -- penstemons, asters, and the like. This lonely goldenrod was about all I found this time.
Descending towards the stream crossing, I spotted this odd juxtaposition of a desert yucca and woodland fern.
Only a trickle of water in the stream.
On the long downhill trail through the trees.
When the trail crosses over to the south side of the ridge, Tenney Crags come back into view.
Aha! At last some flowers. These are penstemons.
I was really thinking this hike was a total bust for wildflowers until I got down to the last section of trail, just before it meets up with High Drive. Then I started seeing flowers all over! This plant is a spreading dogbane.
Wild geraniums.
There was a lot of poison ivy growing around this area, too.
Some yellow asters.
Northern bedstraw.
Many-flowered puccoon, a plant in the borage family.
Right where the trail comes out on the road, there's a large patch of these pretty white flowers on tall stalks. They're called "Bouncing Bet", and they're actually classified as a noxious weed in this area -- an ornamental flower that's gone wild and become invasive.
Another patch of penstemons along the edge of the road. I'm pretty sure these are sawsepal penstemons. The plants were growing quite tall.
These big purple flowers that are just opening up are bee balm, a plant in the mint family.
It's about a mile down the road back to the trailhead. I only saw one car on this stretch, but quite a few cyclists, hikers, dog-walkers, etc.
This ninebark shrub growing on the side of the road was "butterfly central". I'm not much of a butterfly expert but I found Tom Murray's photos to be useful for identification.
This orange-and-black butterfly looks like a "hesperis fritillary".
This one appears to be a "field crescent".
This one is probably an "anicia checkerspot", or at least some sort of checkerspot.
Three different kinds of butterflies in the same shot, for comparison.
Hesperis fritillary and field crescent.
Checkerspot feeding with long proboscis.
This much larger black and white butterfly is a "Weidemeyer's admiral".
Another shot of the big admiral butterfly.
These black-eyed susans were also full of butterflies.
There's more of the mystery shrub with the white flowers growing near the creek.
This patch of shrubs growing in the moister location near the creek had more perky and upright flower bracts, compared to the droopy ones I saw earlier in the patch on the dry slope.
Rock formations off to the left of High Drive just before it comes out on Gold Camp Road near the trailhead parking lot.


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