Three weeks ago, Lake Mountain (9000 ft) was covered in snow, and Gull Lake was still mostly ice, as you can see in the photo above.
Now, the first grass and flowers have appeared around the lake.
and Spring Beauty always bloom first.
We scan the lake for ducks and spot several varieties, too far away to identify.
The birds above are Wilson's Phalarope, we think. In phalarope species, typical avian sex roles are reversed. Females are larger and more brightly coloured than males. Females pursue males, compete for nesting territory, and aggressively defend their nests and chosen mates. She lays 3 or 4 eggs in a ground nest near water, then sashays off on a southward migration, leaving the male to incubate the eggs. Once hatched, the young feed themselves.
A bluebird peeks at us over a still-bare aspen limb.
We see deer,
and an elk taking an afternoon nap.
Near the trailhead, at 7800 ft, barrel cactus sports yellow flowers.