I headed to my favourite high ridge up above the junction of the north and south forks of Willow Creek just east of Chain Lakes. It’s a crown of native grassland kept cropped by cattle and horses with magnificent views down the Willow Creek valley to the east.
In fact, it was more the view than the flowers that brought me up there.
From the summit you look down on a verdant valley, so green it almost hurts at this time of year. The wind hadn’t picked up yet and as I sat there looking through my lens, I could hear cattle mooing, a coyote singing, meadowlarks and robins chortling away. The valley to the east was shrouded in soft, blue mist.
The aspen-covered hillsides were a bright yellow-green, patches of them fully-leafed while others were still nearly bare, marking where the clones of single trees had spread across the hillsides like a quilt of trees. Curious cattle stared at me from the hillside above as I crawled around in the grass.
Buffalo beans - yellow beans, if you insist - were scatted everywhere in the pasture, their low, bright yellow flowers contrasting nicely with the blue sky. The first yellow flowers to come along, they brightened the grassland everywhere.
Nearby were the last of the crocuses, their fuzzy, feathery seed heads starting to move in the freshening breeze. Backlit against the climbing sun, they glowed against the shadowy background of the rolling hillsides.