Little is in flower. Along the margin of the trail we walk, there are a few late season composites that have weedy proclivities. Fireweed release fuzzy fruits. Petals have shriveled on the white rhododendron, and its fruits swell. The once lovely, saffron flowers of menziesia, a cousin of the rhododendron, have browned. In lieu of flowers, we turn our attention to huckleberries, and eat as we walk.
We cross Canteen Creek on stones, and I find among the grasses of the far side gentians in flower. Little is as lovely as a gentian flower.
The blue of these gentians is like the summer sky boiled-down to pure essence of blue. That distillation feels especially concentrated in mountain light. I know when I find gentians in these mountains that summer is about to fade. The still, cool blue of gentians has foreshadow of ice.