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Anne Elliott
Monkeyflower
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southern Alberta
near Canada-US border
right hand side of lake
Pink Monkeyflower
Mimulus lewisii
Lewis' monkeyflower
purple monkeyflower
Family: Phrymaceae
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© Anne Elliott 2017
Waterton Lakes National Park
Cameron Lake
pink
nature
flora
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summer
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Canada
Alberta
8 July 2017


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Pink Monkeyflower

Pink Monkeyflower
"With its merging landforms, connected ecoregions and its mild, moist, windy climate, Waterton Lakes National Park is an amazing meeting place for an abundant and diverse collection of vegetation.

Despite it's small size (505 sq km) Waterton is graced with over 1000 species of vascular plants . Over half of Alberta's plant species are found in this tiny place. The park's four ecoregions - foothills parkland, montane, subalpine and alpine - embrace forty-five vegetation communities. Sixteen of these are considered significant because they are rare or fragile and threatened.

Waterton also has an unusually high number of rare plants - over 175 are provincially rare (e.g. mountain lady's-slipper, pygmy poppy, mountain hollyhock), and over twenty of these are found only in the Waterton area (e.g. western wakerobin, Lewis' mock-orange, white-veined wintergreen). Over 50 species are rare in Canada (e.g. Bolander's quillwort, Lyall's scorpionweed, Brewer's monkeyflower.)" From Parks Canada website.

www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/waterton/natcul/natcul1/f.aspx

Late yesterday afternoon, 9 July 2017, I arrived back home from a wonderful three-day trip to Waterton Lakes National Park. I had just been on a one-day bus trip to this beautiful park on 24 June 2017, so felt very lucky to be returning for a longer stay so soon. I travelled there and back with friend, Darlene, who had very kindly offered to take me, and we had a fun time, seeing so many interesting things. Thank you SO much, Darlene - I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciated being able to go on this trip with you!

Three days of 32C temperatures, and then I arrived home to find that my thermostat read 29C inside my home. I am not good at dealing with the heat and then to walk and hike in such temperatures was exhausting. Back in Calgary, we had already been having a heatwave and now, the forecast is for more hot days. This morning, it rained for a while and temporarily cooled a little. More rain forecast for tomorrow.

It was wonderful to again be surrounded by such magnificent scenery, go on a few walks/hikes with plenty of time to look for, and photograph, wildflowers, insects, and a few birds and animals. Lots of good company with around 20 (?) people, some of whom I already knew and lots of new faces, too. The trip was organized by Nature Calgary. Everyone was free to go wherever they wanted each day, but for the two nights, we stayed at the very basic Canyon Church Camp, off the Red Rock Parkway. Dorm-style cabins (about which I will say nothing, lol!), but they do have showers and even flush toilets at the camp. We were fed SO well - lots of variety and good food. We were given two breakfasts and two suppers, plus a packed lunch for the two days. Our huge thanks go out to Jean Kennedy, the camp cook, who cooked and prepared these great meals for us! Jean was there in 2015 and 2016, when I attended this weekend, and it was really good news when I was told that she would be there again this time. The food was so much enjoyed and greatly appreciated!

Not sure just where to begin, so I grabbed and edited these three photos this morning. The little Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel was seen on our first day in Waterton, when Darlene and I stopped at Cameron Falls on the edge of town. The cooling mist that came from the waterfalls felt so good! As usual, this little animal was doing what these cute animals tend to do - approach people, look cute, and beg for food! A little girl was feeding this one - not sure what it's eating, but I prefer to think it is nibbling on raw carrot rather than some kind of fake-coloured chip. I saw a number of empty sunflower seed shells scattered on the ground, too. Of course, WILDLIFE SHOULD NEVER BE FED!! However, I hope the children feeding this little animal will develop a love for wildlife and grow up to help protect any kind of creature.

This photo of Pink Monkeyflower was taken on the second day of the trip (8 July). Our walk took us along the right hand side of Cameron Lake, through the forest.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimulus_lewisii

Our huge thanks to Andrew for organizing this trip so brilliantly! He has been organizing these annual weekends for a number of years now. A great time was had by all.

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