Up at the lake, the trees have tortured branches, bent like arms, curled down as if they were wilting. The lake is blue and cool and filled with mini-trout (cutthroat and rainbow) that are attracting catch-and-release fishermen. We hear there were mountain goats at the lake, but the fishing population must have scared them into the hills.
Instead, we find a ptarmigan shuffling down the trail ahead of us. He scuttles into a thicket, where I snap his picture each time he peeps out to see if I'm still there. We descend from the lake, crossing the hunting station of a hoverfly--a patch of sunlight in mid-air above the trail. I can see the insects he is darting after, respectable bites the size of gnats, but I can't tell if he is catching them. He had better be getting energy from the sunlight, because his wings are beating furiously and continuously, and must take a prodigious amount of fuel.
We return to the parking area, where I paint a meadow with blueberries and silver-trunked trees.