Spring Break Hike in Conifer

This week I visit Flying J to hike. Here the snow from two weeks ago still lies heavy in the many shaded areas under the trees. The shadows, dead grass and animal tracks are all that change the white landscape.

I enjoy the crunch of snow mixed with ice hiking early. By 8am mud is already taking over the areas in the sun. Each day the islands of open ground expand under the trees. The moist brown mulch from the pine trees draw my attention to the tree itself. In warmer seasons the ground and trees meld together and it’s all the trees, the forest I see.

This park is home to many small, black Abert squirrels. They are shy so instead of seeing them sitting on a log, usually they appear in motion, running from tree to tree. Today I didn’t see one, but I saw the remains of their meal on the trail, Ponderosa needles and little pieces of bark.

Next week work starts again, and I will walk in the afternoons. Then I will enjoy the difference a few hours can make watching the shadows as they close the day.

Yak

This yak was born last summer and lives with a small group. I watched it stay with its mom for months. Then follow its mom. And finally venture out on its own.

Home base for this group surrounds a pond and is next to where they are fed. In the pond are often local geese or some Canadian geese that stop while flying through. Neither the geese or yak seem afraid of each other, or to have much interest in each other.

At Christmas time I saw the young yak walking of the frozen pond. It would walk to the middle of the pond and check out the dog house that had been home to the geese. Looking closer at the pond yak tracks crisscross and cover it. Apparently this new adventure is fun. I wonder is this will change the relationship of geese and yak.

Marshdale

Between Evergreen and Conifer is Marshdale. The sleepy looking area needs close inspection to find hidden history and trails.

For instance behind Marshdale Elementary is Denver Mountain Parks Conservation Property. Trails here may be best known to fourth graders who climb each spring while learning about Indians and checking out the wildlife. Starting up the trail is an old column of gray rocks. Students have added small painted rocks in the crevices leaving bright splashes of color.

New custom homes dot one side of the property. Another side has small cabins from the early 1900s. Like the column of rocks, new and old sit side by side.

Happy New Year Snow

This winter snow has not been often or heavy. On New Years Eve the snow fell lightly on and off all day and throughout the night. Waking up in 2019 the first thing to greet me was the cold.

Last Walks of 2018

Tonight there will be snow so today I’m enjoying cold weather with lots of sun at Elk Meadow. The fields are beautiful with tall grass bending gracefully in the morning light. Shadows play against the golden grasses and old buildings dot the landscape.

Bison

The bison stand in groups facing away from the wind. Yesterday the wind came up with gusts of 50 miles an hour. Today it is calming down, but not giving up.

This year there were more than eight bison born. Two I saw were white like the one on the far left in the photo. The babies are sheltered behind the group.

Elk

 

School is in session and most of the elk are happy to share the soccer field.

A couple of large males roam their section of females; walking and bungling during rutting season. Usually you see groups of females, babies and young males, but the big guys. This is the time of year we see the large males for a couple of weeks before the herd moves to higher ground.

Eagle

Last year an eagle showed up at Evergreen Lake. If you were lucky you’d see him fly past patrolling the lake. You might even see him swoop down to the water and carry off a fish.

Speculation about where he came from and why he appeared never brought answers and now that he appears to be a full fledged resident.

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