|Tools of the trade.|
My day job ended at 5 PM. At home I quickly changed clothes, gathered the necessary tools, rounded up my assistant, and drove east into the Laramie Mountains, destination Vedauwoo. We were on a mission, with little time to spare. Already the sun was low in the western sky.
Over a month ago I had spotted my first sagebrush buttercup of the season, growing on a warm dry southeast-facing slope. Then it snowed, and snowed, and snowed some more ... 2-3 feet of wet spring snow in all. I predicted that the early-bird buttercup would survive, but was I right? It was time to find out.
|Vedauwoo a little over a week ago.|
From the ridge crest, at the location of the photo above, it appeared spring had really arrived. No snow was visible! We made a beeline north, intent on finding the buttercup of concern as quickly as possible. Tools to help relocate it included a topo map, a GPS unit with a track of the previous expedition but no waypoint for the buttercup itself, my memory, and a photo of the buttercup site. The last would prove to be invaluable.
There was no shortage of sagebrush buttercup flowers. Grassy openings among the sagebrush were filled with them. True to their nature, they were blooming brightly even in the dying light of evening.
|The magical hour was upon us.|
|Yep ... looks the same.|
|Things match pretty well, especially the dead trees.|
|This is the site! See the buttercup? (just below and left of center)|
There it was -- the target of our search. The sagebrush buttercup was still growing vigorously, sporting a single flower about to drop its petals.
Mission accomplished, we headed back to the car, enjoying the sunset en route.
Before driving home, I looked up and saw ...
... the crescent moon, while ...
... in the ditch along the road, Sparky had at last found enough snow to play in.