The Hidden Beauty of Tundra

True confessions time: I have played some computer games. Not enough to make me a hermit, but I’ve given up a fair share of weekends to them. And weeknights. And holidays.


Anyway, one of my favorite time sucks is Sid Meyer’s Civilization. It’s a wonderfully complicated strategy game and can take weeks to finish. But it is not beneath me to restart a game of Civilization if my first city is near tundra – those crappy gray hexes that do nothing for your civilization. Tundra = automatic restart of the game.

Then I went out into the real world, you guys. Tundra is amazing. It’s beautiful. Life is smaller, tougher, but that much more incredible for it. You’ll miss it all unless you get right up into it — so go!

Rocky Mountain - 1 (4)
There is a clear line where the trees just say, “This far and no further.” It’s all tundra above that line. It doesn’t look like much, but get in close and it’s a wonderland. Photo by Tricia.

For years I’ve had a bias against tundra and it’s Sid Meyer’s fault. But, ok, mostly mine.

If you’re in Colorado during the summer, and the heat is too unbearable, head up to the tundra. It’s cold and it’s beautiful. The wildflowers bloom into the most unexpected colors.

Moss Campion wildflowers. Photo by Ryan.
King’s Crown. Tiny and tough. Photo by Ryan.

And the animals that wander through are just as magnificent as the flowers.

Rocky Mountain - 12
Elk bucks at 12,000 feet elevation. Photo by Tricia.
Mountain goat! Photo by Ryan.

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