If you’ll indulge me for just one more day by reading my stories about Snowy Range, I promise to get back to life in the pasture and my two old sweeties tomorrow.

Scout’s honor.

You’ve probably figured out by now that Wyoming is a special place for me. Especially the Snowy Range. If you live close by, you really should reward yourself with a trip to the Snowies.

Just don’t wait too long, because winter comes early at that elevation.

Back to the title of this blog post and a very short lesson in forest ecology.

And life.

Krummholz is a German word that means crooked, bent or twisted wood. It’s used to describe a feature of the sub-alpine tree line landscape. (Who knew I could even put that string of words together. Or care!)

It’s what you’ll find at the higher elevations in Snowy Range – sub-alpine landscape.

What happens is this: continued exposure to fierce and freezing winds (also a feature at higher elevations) causes the trees to become stunted or deformed. They only grow branches on the side away from the wind.

Smart eh?

Sometimes they’re called flag or banner trees. You can see it in the two photos I snapped on our trip.

So here are these trees fighting like everything to stay alive in a less than hospitable environment.

They adapt.

They figure out how to keep on growing, in spite of the challenges.

And they look quite interesting. Beautiful really.

I was paging through one of my old journals the other day, and found an entry I’d written years ago on a trip to Snowy Range. I was marveling at the wildflowers, which were abundant and blooming in such tough conditions. Some were peeking out from a blanket of snow in the middle of July. Talk about a short growing season.

I’d written the now-overworked quote, “Bloom where you are planted.”

All those years ago it made so much sense to me.

Instead of waiting for the perfect place to “bloom,” the wildflowers were an example of blooming just because they could.

In fact, in harsh weather years, wildflowers bloom even more profusely, as insurance for flowers in the coming year.

That Mother Nature is one smart girl.

Thanks Mom, for the reminder!

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