Nov 062008

I took the day off to go do some exploring in Colorado.

I decided to go to Rainbow Lakes to look for moose. A year or so ago my wife, daughter, dogs and I had come upon a mother moose with twins here and I wanted to see if I could encounter some more. I always enjoy the anticipation of believing a critter is there, and actively looking for them. I was not disappointed.

The dirt road was open all the way up to the campground (last time we’d snowshoed from down below) and despite a little snow it was an easy drive. Almost at the camp ground was a field of willows on the left, and up against the trees were two big moose sheltering from 21 degree weather; snow and bitterly cold wind. I watch them from the car without disturbing them, and proceeded on to my hike. Amazing how one brief encounter can really make a day.

I hiked the easy trail to the lakes seeing nobody else, and little but squirrel and other rodent tracks. I couldn’t quite stop myself heading up to the bowl above but I didn’t see any ptarmigan or other critters that I hoped I might. Frankly, I think “only mad dogs (Otto) and Englishmen (me) go out in the midday snowstorm.” (BTW: I had GPS and a lot of survival gear, and a big black dog for company, so I’d taken precautions.) Anyway, I am sure Rainbow Lakes is a crowded family/fishing spot in the summer, but today it was a wonderfully secluded winter wonderland. I’d recommend enjoying it before the gate is closed or the road gets too covered.

On the way home I saw some skittish elk [5] near Nederland, and I hope to see the large herd at the bottom of Coal Creek Canyon when I go down next.

A bit cold and blustery, but a beautiful day in Colorado. One to welcome in winter, and enjoy our wildlife neighbors.