First off, there was barely any snow below 7000 feet except on the steepest of north-facing slopes (where there is still enough to inhibit field work); second, there was a lot less mud than I expected. (We are lucky enough to have a south-facing hiking hill, and our snow and mud sample might be considerably biased!) Third, as far as plants and other green things, we found hints of grass and other tiny growing things here and there, including these green leaves poking above last year's mounds of dried leaves.
These little plants will bloom with yellow flowers when they get tall enough. (That's a half a wool-gloved finger in dark blue for scale.) My haiku about them:
Tiny paintbrush leavesNever mind that they won't grow up to be Indian paintbrush; it's the thought that counts.
poke up through snow-melt mudflows:
Spring, mostly hidden.
Mudflows, what mudflows? Little mudflows - and larger ones here and there, especially higher on the hill - some coming directly from presently melting patches of snow; others possibly coming from water oozing underground and then out to the surface (or the snow has all melted directly above the seemingly source-less mudflows). Here's a small mudflow near the bottom of our hill.
Many, like this enlarged part of a slightly larger mudflow about half-way up the hill, had active bubbles in gooey, muddy water: the bubbles can be seen above in the lower part of the mudflow to the right of the boot. These bubbles dry and leave relict bubble shapes, which can be seen in the upper part of the mudflow mostly above the boot. This mudflow, like many, had no apparent or immediate snowmelt source on the slope above it.
The still wet mudflows will eventually dry and harden into an almost concrete - like these two side-by-side flows above - which we saw about one year ago today. A dime was carefully placed on the right mudflow for scale.