If you've got a few free hours this week, celebrate the USofA the natural way - take a hike.
Zen sends these images from a recent hike on the Mount Esther Trail. You can hike up from Chipita Park or from the Crowe Gulch Trailhead off the Pikes Peak Highway.
Paintbrush popping up through the grasses near stands of aspen,
Cheery, yellow wallflowers
Groundsel and geranium
Open meadows (Feel free to burst out in The Happy Wanderer song)
And a shockingly orange dandelion.
Whatever you do, don't forget your buddy.
Zen says the mix of blooms is fantastic and the grasses are knee deep. He also saw columbine, penstemon "rioting enmasse," daisies, irises, buttercups, cinquefoils and mertensia (chiming bells).
I have to agree with hiker Zen: "What a phenomonal year."