The Alpine Tundra

For me, the most magical area, in the Rocky Mountains National Park, was the Alpine Tundra.  Although it was a bit of a hike, it was well worth the climb!

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Elevation 12,005 feet above sea level

“The alpine tundra is a land of contrast and incredible intensity, where the sky is the size of forever and the flowers the size of a millisecond.” ~Ann Zwinger, Land Above the Trees

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The tundra is a very special place.  Strained by bitter winds and cold, only the strong survive.  Even in the summer, the temperatures are very cool.  The trees that border the tundra grow only an inch in diameter every one hundred years.  Here, snow can fall any day of the year, with nighttime temps dipping below freezing.  Unfortunately, with these conditions, the growing season lasts only 6-8 weeks each year.

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Alpine Sunflower (Tetraneuris grandiflora)

During the winter, hurricane level winds, over 100 miles an hour move snow across the tundra.  Drifts up to 30 feet high form, providing a protective blanket of snow for plants and animals.  Learning about the winter in the tundra, made me rethink moving to the tundra!

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Climbing just a little higher in elevation, we came across an area with mushroom rocks.

DSC_0660 These fabulous rocks were created with a little fire and water.  Originally sand, silt and clay from the bottom of the ocean, these materials were met with hot magma from deep in the earth, thus leaving us with lighter colored granite.  The mushroom shapes were formed when the granite stems eroded more quickly than the caps.

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There was nothing more magical than playing above the clouds…

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While exploring these rock formations, we discovered this beautiful compass. We felt a bit like treasure hunters!

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Trail Ridge Mountain Index: 12,304 Feet Above Sea Level

I could have sat for hours, watching the clouds and the mountains play.  The high elevation forced us to move slowly, which was a beautiful gift.
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There was a peacefulness in the tundra unlike any other I have ever experienced when traveling.  I felt connected somehow to this “land above the trees”.  This photo describes my feelings exactly…

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Until we meet again…

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…

♥Roda

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40 thoughts on “The Alpine Tundra

  1. We’ve been there last year Roda! At the bottom of the mountain it was sunny and warm. At the top for 30 minutes we got thunder and snow!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I know the feelings you describe from my own backyard in Nevada and I’m glad you got to experience this feeling of the deepest gratitude and inner calm. The knowing of belonging and having arrived at a place your soul can recognize and call home. Be careful, that feeling is very addictive and has not let go of my heart since the first time I felt it. ❤️🦋

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I would want to try and sit and look a little longer, too. Climbing mountains has that effect. You walked so long to get there and the view is the reward.

    Liked by 1 person

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