Flowers are starting to bloom in the Arctic, even up high on the barren ridges.
The flowers of the ridges are quite different from the flowers found in the river valleys, and on the lower tundra.
They have adapted to cold, windy, dry, and generally, rather harsh conditions.
They grow very low to the ground. This one (photo) rises on a stem less than one inch from the ground surface.
Their petals form a parabolic shape, not unlike a satellite dish, to capture heat and provide a windless refuge for pollinating insects.
One of the most remarkable things we observed while hiking the ridges throughout the day, is that the flowers follow the low arctic sun throughout the day and night. Their parabolas piont towards the sunshine. The effect is most dramatic on clear days with bright sun.
It's easy to breeze by Arctic vegetation, especially up high. At rest breaks, we took our time to study the flora and get a feel for what life is like two inches off the ground on a high Arctic ridge.
This flower's beauty is appreciated only upon such close inspection, and you don't notice it while walking along. Like the variegated colors of its petals, the filaments that provide defense against dessication, the intricacies of its sexual center.
I wonder what it might be like to carry an 80 pound pack in the Arctic, whereby much of this micro beauty would be missed because of your lack of will to climb to the high ridges and peaks...