Monday, June 25, 2012

Cache La Poudre

Pronounced Pooder Falls.  It is where the French cached their gunpowder when they were in the area.  The French  fur trappers were caught by a tremendous snow storm in the 1820's and hid gunpowder along the banks of the river to lighten their load.

It is the Cache La Poudre-North Park Scenic Byway where you can experience Colorado's peaks, prairies and parks.  It is a beautiful drive, all 101 miles one way leading to Fort Collins.  

The byway travels through Poudre Canyon, and over Cameron Pass

at an elevation of 10,276'.

Following are just some shots of some of the beautiful views along the way.

These are the jagged Nokhu Crags.

You've seen the beauty and now for the beast.  The beetles have killed a lot of the trees as evidenced in this photo.  Now the fires!

This is the smoke we saw and had no idea what was happening.  This was the day it all started, and we found out about it later that evening on the news.

The geology in the area was quite interesting.

We saw many floaters and kayakers on Colorado's first National Wild and Scenic River...Cache La Poudre River.

This is the Baldwin Tunnel.  Convict labor crews blasted the way through the rock making a direct route between Walden and Fort Collins.

This moose is at the visitor center right off the byway.  It is made from barbed wire.

We really enjoyed our road trip through this area.  This was our very first road trip.  There are more to come.

Until next time...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Colorado is Burning

Some of you have been wondering about the fires that are burning here in Colorado, and if we are in any danger.

There are 8 different fires that are presently burning right now.  Fires have burned over 91 square miles.  The last I heard, 189 homes have been destroyed...the most in the states history.  The news stated some of the later fires were arson.  Can you imagine???  We see smoke billowing above the mountains around us, but we are in no danger here.

Colorado is not the only state having fires.  Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Nevada are also having their fair share.

Let's pray for the safety of all those courageous firefighters.

Until next time...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sagebrush to Spruce Trees

It was time for a road trip.  We left the wind and dust behind to travel to Steamboat Springs for the day by way of Rabbit Ears Pass.

One stop we made was to the Botanical Gardens for a little stroll among the flowers.

The Blue Columbine, Colorado's state flower.

This Black-billed Magpie was posing among the Johnny Jumpups.

On the drive over,  we saw this herd of Elk.  Notice the calves with their spots!!!  They just kept coming out of the woods.  We counted about 20 with 8 young.  

On the way, we passed this trail, Bruce's Trail.  We had to hike it because one of our son's name is Bruce, so this one's for you!!!

The road through town is closed for market days every Saturday.

This fellow was doing a bang up business with his baked goods.  We just had to have some banana nut bread, our only purchase.

The Mustangs were in town showing off.  They also had a timed race.  These two just happen to be from Texas (license plates).

Next was the gondola ride to the top of Mt. Werner.  We had gone over to Steamboat Friday and did some of the things on our list.  They had just closed this ride because of threatening weather.  We were so disappointed, BUT the fellow told us if we would come back tomorrow we could both ride for the price of one...$40.00.  Since there are so many things to do there, we returned Saturday.  You will notice we are wearing different clothes????

A view from up top showing the road we came in on.

The Vista Trail at the top was a fun little hike.

The kissing aspen trees...liplocked.

When we got back from our mountain top experience, this was going activities.  There was sidewalk art, an obstacle course, a rock climb, and bungee/trampoline jump.

This child looked scared to death.  All I could think of was how much our grandkids would have loved all of this fun.

This was probably the thing I enjoyed most.  A hike down to Fish Creek Falls.

The pause that refreshes...I always have to do this.

A good ending to a good day...actually two days.  We spent a great deal of time here, just relaxing and listening to the babbling brook.  We saw an American Dipper zip by while we were there.

I still have an unfinished list of things to skating, going down the alpine slide is always fun, and taking that dip in the hot springs.

Until next time...

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Facts About Arapho

There is a staff of six employees here at Arapho NWR.  It was established in 1967.  It has a total of 23,464 acres made up of a mix of sagebrush-grassland uplands, irrigated and sub-irrigated meadows, wetlands and riparian areas.  There are 4 satellite refuges in Wyoming:  Pathfinder, Bamforth, Hutton Lake, and Mortenson Lake.  Also, the refuge has acreage on Pole Mountain about 6 miles southwest of headquarters and 2,176 acres on the Chandler Ranch unit nearby.  Elevation ranges from 8,100 to 8,700 feet.

We are located in an intermountain glacial basin called North Park. There is a six mile auto wildlife tour.  We have a one half mile loop Moose-Goose Nature Trail where you can walk through river riparian area and a meadow where I got the photo of the moose.  There are as many as 15 to 20 moose on the refuge at any one time.

There are only two trailer pads at the present but more are planned.

I thought South Texas was bad with wind and dust, but this area is maybe even worse.  The nights are very comfortable getting down in the 40's.

Ann Timberman is the project leader and Charles Mathis is deputy manager.  Charles is our supervisor.

There is a total of 88 wetlands, but some are dry!!!

Until next time...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Orientation Day

Now it's time to learn about this refuge.  Our fellow volunteers and friends, Kurt and Virginia gave us a tour of the area.

Here we are side by side, Kurt and Virginia on the left and us on the right.  You will notice, we both have Hitchhikers.  Isn't the sky beautiful?  

This is headquarters and it is in walking distance from our rigs.

Of course, we had to have lunch and this was our choice.  They just happened to have a reuben sandwich and it was delicious!!!

How about this Wilson's Phalarope in breeding plumage?  This I spotted at one of the wetlands.  

This is taken at one of the overlooks.  The refuge is in a valley with mountains all around us.  More about the refuge in a later post.

This is one of my favorite landscape shots.  This is the Illinois River that snakes around as seen from the overlook.

At this refuge, we have White-tailed Prairie Dogs.  The eye smudge is characteristic and since there is research going on in this town, they are painted in black...therefore no white tail on this guy.

This is the Moose/Goose Nature Trail with a nice boardwalk.

And how appropriate is this???

Big Daddy was just around the corner.

Until next time...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

"Oh give me a home, where the buffalo roam, and the deer and the antelope play."  We were given a home at Wichita Mountains NWR where the buffalo roamed, and now we have a home where the antelope play.

The fastest mammal in North America at 40 miles per hour!!!  Females usually produce twins and we were fortunate to get this photo even though it is not the best.  This is the first time we have ever seen baby Pronghorn, much less twins!!!

Females have shorter horns lacking the prong.  Some times they have no horns.  When they become alarmed, the white rump patch is flared and erect.  

Until next time...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Colorado State of Mind

We are here and entered the state 4 days ago.  However, Colorado is not all that colorful...little snow and no rain.  

Our first night was in Lamar at the Country Acres Motel and RV Park and we were greeted by this Scaled Quail.

Our first bird for Colorado this season.  We were also threatened with quarter size hail, high winds, and rain!!!  That seems to be following us around since we left south Texas.

Our next night was in Cheyenne, Wy. to avoid the high mountain passes.  We stayed at Terry Bison Ranch.  The next morning, we took interstate 80 and dropped down to Walden, Colorado where we will be volunteering at Arapho NWR for the summer.

We were driven around today by fellow volunteers and friends, Kurt and Virginia as they introduced us to the refuge.

Computer access is going to be rough and I better get off  before it cuts me off as this is the third time I have tried to post.

Until next time...