I went for a different hike today because the tram was closed. I had hiked up to about 8,800 feet and gone close to 5 miles when I came across a two hikers who had stopped to photograph a flower. I was glad to see that they had stopped because I might have overlooked it. It is a Pulsatilla otherwise known as a pasqueflower. Since it blooms around the time of Easter, it has the name pasque which means: of Easter.
Larger images will be over in the Journal when I post all of the images there.
The two men also told me about a flowering cactus that they had seen just a short ways up the trail. I had almost decided to turn around because my boots were bothering me but the idea of finding a flowering cactus so high up the mountain so early in the season intrigued me. I had seen the first claret cactus in bloom down around 6,500 feet and I could not imagine another cactus blooming so high on the mountain.
Commonly known at a mountain ball cactus, its scientific name is Pediocactus simpsonii. It is one of the most cold hardy species which it would have to be, seeing as I found it in a very narrow range on the south peak approach above 9,300 feet. It grows very low to the ground and is not of significant note except when it is blooming.