Look Down! Flowers are cool.

Over fourth of July, Amy and I headed down to the Denali Highway for a quick, overnight backpacking trip. In central Alaska, the peak of wildflowers is mid to late June, but there were still quite a few dotting the tundra. I like wildflowers, but I’m hardly an expert. When it comes to identifications and natural history, I rely on field guides and upon people who know more about them than I do (Amy in particular). Here are a few shots I took as we hiked out on the second day.

Alpine Arnica (Arnica alpina) is one of the more common asters we saw as we walked.

Alpine Arnica (Arnica alpina) is one of the more common asters we saw as we walked.

Eskimo Potato (Hedysarum alpinum) along the roadside below the Gulkana Glacier as we drove home to Fairbanks.

Eskimo Potato (Hedysarum alpinum) along the roadside below the Gulkana Glacier as we drove home to Fairbanks.

Lousewort (Pedicularis sp.). There are several species of Louseworts in Alaska, and I'm not sure which this is. Perhaps Pedicularis sudetica. Anyone know?

Lousewort (Pedicularis sp.). There are several species of Louseworts in Alaska, and I’m not sure which this is. Perhaps Pedicularis sudetica. Anyone know?

Paintbrush (Castelleja Raupii). If I had to pick one genus of flowers for my favorite, it would be the paintbrushes. Though this species is rather dull, others are bright red and orange. Love em'.

Paintbrush (Castelleja Raupii). If I had to pick one genus of flowers for my favorite, it would be the paintbrushes. Though this species is rather dull, others are bright red and orange. Love em’.

Monkshood (Aconiyum delphinifolium) is one of my favorites because it blooms late into the season. But if you are feeling peckish, this isn't a wild plant to snack on, it could kill you.

Monkshood (Aconiyum delphinifolium) is one of my favorites because it blooms late into the season. But if you are feeling peckish, this isn’t a wild plant to snack on, it could kill you.

Glaucous Gentian (Gentiana glauca). I've got a mental block about the flower. I can NEVER remember its name. Small and delicate, it's the bluest flower I've ever seen.

Glaucous Gentian (Gentiana glauca). I’ve got a mental block about the flower. I can NEVER remember its name. Small and delicate, it’s the bluest flower I’ve ever seen.

Alpine Veronica (Veronica Wormskjoldii). I'm not very familiar with this flower. According to the field guide it grows mostly in south-central Alaska and into the southern Alaska Range, but doesn't occur in the arctic and interior where I spend most of my time. Always nice to see something new.

Alpine Veronica (Veronica Wormskjoldii). I’m not very familiar with this flower. According to the field guide it grows mostly in south-central Alaska and into the southern Alaska Range, but doesn’t occur in the arctic and interior where I spend most of my time. Always nice to see something new.