Conditions can be harsh on the tundra-like plateau atop Beartooth Pass between Montana and Wyoming. Even here, at 10,000 feet above sea level, wild flowers abound when spring finally arrives…and sometimes before true springlike conditions actually exist. However, a keen eye and slow, methodical pace is necessary to really notice the variety of foliage interspersed among the short grass and rocks.
Below you will find an image of the landscape, showing the “tundra” as it appeared yesterday. The temperature dropped to 33 degrees Fahrenheit, accompanied by blowing sleet and snow. Certainly the overnight temperature was well below freezing, yet these hardy plants thrive here.
A very different aspect of the wild flowers here are that they tend to be very small, much smaller than we commonly see in lower elevations across the west. In fact, none of the blossoms in the slideshow below were larger than the size of a dime, and most had a very low growth habit. (Mouse over the slideshow to access the controls.)