| 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
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!