Dec 212010

(This post sat in the drafts folder for too long, so I am setting it free. :) )

Original railway across the mouth of Coal Creek Canyon

This year’s closure of highway 72 due to an impact with the bridge by truck have caused more closures than even this year’s train derailment. As such our family trips and commutes between Coal Creek Canyon and Golden/Boulder/Denver have been via Golden Gate State Park and/or Flagstaff (passing Walker Ranch & Gross Reservoir.) These trips have been longer than usual, but glorious in wildlife & scenery.

Coming down through Golden Gate State Park of a morning allows iconically Colorado views of Elk browsing through sun-light streaks and Aspen trees. That atop priceless views out to the snow emphasized mountain peaks of the continental divide. Easier in spring than in the blizzards of winter, and a fantastic drive.

Bighorn Sheep on Highway 6

One return trip we elected to come up Highway 6 (towards Blackhawk, then along Highway 119.) I always enjoy the sights of Bighorn sheep along that route, and maintain it is the local place for Coloradans and tourists to get some fun close-ups of sheep (from the luxury of their car.) This trip was no exception, with 5 males with huge horns right by the roadside. Hugh horns, solid and powerful. Wonderful.

To make another change we took a route via Boulder, Flagstaff mountain and Gross Reservoir. Suddenly a bobcat crosses the road right in front of us. Rather than disappearing into the woods the bobcat chose a group of rocks and bedded down. The cats tail was long, perhaps a foot long, with a white tip.

Interestingly this tail hardly stopped moving, the cat flicked it continually. Note: how the magpie are crying their disapproval at the cat, and a hummer buzzes on by.

Long-tailed Bobcat Video

Here is an unedited clip.

All in all…

All in all, despite quite a lot of disruption to our schedule and increased journey times, there was some real upside to exploring new routes in/out of the canyon.

Jan 272009
Frosty Shrub

Frosty Shrub

One of my 2009 goals is to get outside more, at/before dawn if at all possible. I chose today to make progress on that goal. Not my warmest choice.

There was a frost on the ground, trees, everywhere. To say it was frigid would be an understatement. The snow was loud and crunchy underfoot, but preserved tracks wonderfully with fine detail. Tracks of a fox showed it excitedly following after a pine squirrel we’d seen stashing cones in the wood pile, but who was long gone high in a tree. I thought I saw some more rounded tracks, perhaps three legs not four, but later in full daylight I knew I was kidding myself.

I stood amongst the shrubs and trees, looking down the draw and waiting to see if movement caught my eye in the early morning light. I knew I was hoping for another encounter with Tri-Bob, but I wasn’t expecting to be that lucky. Any movement, any sign of life would do. I was practicing slowing myself down and being in the now, just enjoying the nature around. Hard to do when the wind blows icily through your clothing.

The Turkey chatted in the distance, no doubt grumbling that the day was starting out without warming up at all. I felt for them, and then I felt for me. What was I doing out in this freezing cold when all who could avoid it were avoiding it? The animals certainly were avoiding it if they could, no morning wave of birds, no scampering of critters. All was silent.

Time to go back home and get in the warm…

Frosty Aspen

Frosty Aspen