Solitary, Persistent Prairie Sunflower
This single prairie sunflower plant served as a guidon of sorts for our ascent up a 700-ft (213m) sand dune in Great Sand Dunes National Park. Our goal was to see the dune field we knew exists behind the "front ridge." We had been climbing for nearly 45 minutes, were exhausted, and had topped a few ridges only to find a larger ridge or sand dune behind them.
Finally, we spotted this solitary sunflower growing near the top of a sand ridge and I made it my goal to photograph the flower - even if we never laid eyes on the desired dune field.
As we neared the flower, it was not the peak of another ridge that came into view behind it, but rather a peak in the Sangre de Cristo mountains behind the park. That was our clue that we had only to climb another few yards/meters to see the dune field that was our true goal. This flower helped provide some measure of motivation to continue the grueling climb.
Hail the Lesser Sunflower (Helianthus petiolaris)!
Juried into Nature Visions Photo Expo 2017 (Flora).