art director / designer / photographer

Field Notes

Hiking in the Maroon Bells


A couple weeks ago I spent a few days with some friends of the family in Gothic, Colorado, home of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. Krehe and Kathy Ritter have been working at the lab for years. Spending summers outside doing extensive field research in the high altitude mountain air surrounded by abundant wildflowers and craggy peaks. Don’t get me wrong, its not at all easy. They spend hours on their knees, looking through a magnifying glass, identifying, tagging, and tracking wildflower and insect species throughout the Summer.

As you can imagine they are in sick shape! In their 60’s to mid 70’s they can still hike me into the ground. Krehe took part in the “Golden Age” of Yosemite exploration during the 1950’s and 60’s and was on the first party to climb the North face of Mt. Conness in the Yosemite backcountry. We spent a “rest” day hiking into Hasley Basin in the Snowmass-Maroon Bells Wilderness. The mountains were covered with wildflowers as far as the eye could see. Krehe and Kathy stopped frequently to identify flowers or bumble bees. One of them would excitingly blurt out the Latin name and the other would counter until coming to a consensus on a name. There were a lot of Latin names flying around that day, I’m hoping that half of it will stick in my memory.

Here are some photos from our hike. Thanks for stopping by!

Randall LevensalerComment