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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa


June 16th, 2011 · 2 Comments

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The park ranger told me that Calypso Orchids, but not Fairy Slippers, were in bloom along the Beaver Trail. When I told her that I was confused, she pulled out a guide book of Rocky Mountain Wildflowers and showed me what the orchid looked like. The first line on the page said “Calypso Orchid.”

Then I pointed out that the second line called the flower a “Fairy Slipper.”

This morning I hiked Golden Gate Canyon State Park in search of the rare Fairy Slippers. I knew that this spectacular orchid bloomed along the Beaver Trail. But I also knew that it bloomed for only about two weeks.

My friend Barry came along for the hike. Even though he has lived in Boulder for most of his life, like many people here he hadn’t previously discovered this wonderful state park less than 25 miles southwest of us. I guess we just have too many good hiking trails that are even closer.

A Few Fairy Slipper Orchids

A Few Fairy Slipper Orchids

Click on the picture above to enlarge
A Close-up of One Fairy Slipper

A Close-up of One Fairy Slipper

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Two out of three of my wildflower guidebooks call this flower a Fairy Slipper. So I won’t be switched to call it a Calypso Orchid.

The guidebooks say that it is a small flower about 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. Two of my guidebooks say that it is an endangered species.

“You should consider yourself very lucky,” one of these books says, “if you see this spectacular flower.” But I already knew that I am a lucky man.


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Posted in: Photography

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Fran Stearns // Jul 2, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    I drove to that park last Fall from SH93 but could not locate a walkable trail. Where can I get a map?

  • 2 David Mendosa // Jul 2, 2011 at 6:06 pm


    So sorry! Golden Gate Canyon has some wonderful trails. Besides the Beaver Trail that I wrote about here, my favorite — which I hiked yesterday — is the Horseshoe Trail to Frazer Meadow. The visitor center can give you a good map on paper; it’s the same as the one the park has online at


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