July 21, 2012

Moss Campion at Sentinel Pass

Our hike to Sentinel Pass yesterday revealed that summer is well underway and even the high elevation wildflowers are coming into full bloom!  The rocky slopes at the top of the pass yielded some impressive moss campion plants.

Moss campion at Sentinel Pass on July 20, 2012.

Moss campion are worth getting down on hands and knees for, with a smell like warm, liquid honey.  They grow as pincushion mats, and are very slow growing.  It takes up to ten years before the plant first blooms, and it can take a quarter century for a mat to reach 15 cm in diameter (7 inches).  Moss campion can live over 100 years in the Canadian Rockies, and the record plant, from Europe, was 180 cm across (82 inches), and 350 years old!

The next few weeks will be a wildflower extravaganza in the Lake Louise area.  Some of the best trails include Helen Lake, the Valley of the Ten Peaks, Stanley Glacier and Bow Summit Lookout.