Wildflowers at tucked in among moss and rocks and a stream.
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Alpine Flowers

"For such a high, arid landscape.....the flowers are like a carpet!

The Chilcotin is comprised of a high elevation plateau surrounded by mountains and dotted with lakes, streams and rivers. Since it sits in the rainshadow of the Coast Mountain Range, it's considered arid, much like a high desert in the Southwest. One would assume that this harsh environment would not support much more than lichen, a few stunted spruce and some low growing pine.

Tell that to the flowers....

When conditions are right, usually in July, the high alpine in the West Chilcotin is often radiant in a stunning carpet of wildflowers. In fact some are rarely seen outside of this wild environment and you are asked to please not remove, walk on, or drive over these rare plants.

Often the alpine flowers have large flowers during that short blooming season perched on a minimum of greenery, and just like the desert, some years provide perfect conditions for some flowers, and poor for others. Which is why the alpine vista never looks the same from one year to the next.

Conditions for alpine flowers are difficult if not impossible to match in your own garden, which is why you'll so rarely see these plants outside of their own environment, at a research facility or university garden. They like well drained soil, but some like moist, well drained soil. Others like to sit under the spray of water bouncing down a hillside over rocks, while others like poking up from heavy, moss covered boulders. Almost all like their feet in the sharp gravel of the alpine, but some prefer limestone or volcanic rock over granite. Since the West Chilcotin is comprised of both the granite of the Coast Range and volcanic rock of other ranges, it makes for ideal conditions for these colorful gems of the north.

The growing season in the Chilcotin is short so when these flowers bloom, they often all do so at once during the warmest two to four weeks of summer, which is often the longest that season is at higher elevations.

The resulting cacophony of color and shape hugging an alpine hillside or surrounding a clear, blue-green glacier fed lake absolutely must be seen to be believed.

There are quite a few operators in the Chilcotin that would be happy to take you on a guided tour during the height of the wildflower season in their area, whether you be a botanist, have only an amateur interest, want the photographic opportunity or just want to lay eyes on an extraordinary sight....the Chilcotin is the place to be!

 

Tiny white and mauve starlike alpine flowers with strappy leaves.
 
Alpine flowers blanket a bank along a glacier stream.
 
Alpine flowers blanket a high elevation hillside near a glacier.
 
Red Indian Paintbrush with lake and mountains behind.
 
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