Water birds

Watching water birds at Evergreen Lake is fun. I’m allowed to be a stalker, watching their moves while they don’t seem to notice me at all.

I love watching the grebes dive under water swimming up Little Bear Creek. It’s a game to guess when they will reappear. I’m usually surprised how far they travel underwater. And amazed as they dive again and again without slowing down or seeming to tire as they swim up the quickly moving stream.

Watching ducks is more like watching puppies at play. Floating along they tilt foward, leaving only butt feathers visible as they bob like a cork. When they right themselves they act as if nothing has happened. Moms and babies dart in circles and zig zags as if they are wind up toys that have been over wound.

Watching the geese fly over the lake in their v-formation, then drop into the lake I see they have a regal attitude. They form groups as if they are tourists out for the day. They float along grebes, boats and paddle boards without any sign of hesitation or fear.

Evergreen has lots of wildlife, but what makes the lake special is that you get to see it up close.

Summer flowers

This has been a special summer. Spring provided lots of snow and rain to get the flowers started, but something even more unusual happened when rain appeared frequently in the afternoons each week.

Most summers by the end of June the dry heat shows ups by mid-morning and doesn’t stop until late afternoon as the sun sets and the temperature drops. This year late afternoon showers have continued into August. Sometimes the rain is steady and hard, with thunder and lightning thrown in for a little extra punch.


Because of all of the moisture the flowers line the trails as if spring were still here. The colors are strong, and the sun stays behind clouds enough in the afternoons for moisture to have a chance to hang around.

The mornings are dry and the temperatures dip to the high 50s so morning hikes are guaranteed.

In the afternoons sitting on the deck waiting to see how much rain will fall the birdfeeder is full of birds such as the Western Tanager that is flying through and the many kinds of woodpeckers in the Ponderosa and Lodgepoles. The smaller woodpeckers take turns chasing each other around the trees in their jerky little dance while the larger Flicker intimidate with just their size.

Why I hike

I grew up believing exercise was not meant to be fun, involved lots of sweat and caused some pain, but was good for you and needed to be done. Because of this belief I took a jogging class for one of my physical education classes in college in Denton, Texas.

First day in class I was excited when the teacher said after this class we would want to continue jogging for the rest of our lives, that the high you feel jogging is addictive. Hearing that anyone, not just professional athletics could get an adrenaline rush I was hopeful I’d enjoy this new sport.

Day after day jogging remained torture. I did my best to keep up with others in my class, and kept waiting for the jogging addiction to kick in. I did not give up because I needed the class, but I never became a jogger and when the class was over, I threw my jogging shoes away.

Fast forward thirty years and I’m no longer living in Texas. Now I live west of Denver, Colorado in the foothills of the Rockies. I started hiking to learn the wildflowers and to see wildlife. I let go of the voice in my head that said I was a wimp for not feeling pain and found hiking is my sport.

Walking outside is the perfect way to start off my day. After a walk my soul has been fed and any tension has flowed away. It’s as if I feel myself sink into all the beautiful, fun things Mother Nature shows me.

Evergreen Lake

I love early morning to walk Evergreen Lake while it is still quiet.It attracts a lot of visitors, particularly in the summer, but visitors and even most locals wait until mid-morning to show up. This is the time to watch the animals, listen to the birds, and enjoy the mirror like images on the surface of the water.

Near the lake house I found a small group of elk enjoying the water. Walking slowly through the water which reaches the top of their legs, they are not bothered by the ice cold water. They give me a glance and continue on their stroll.

A red-winged blackbird perches on the reeds behind the lake house. The small flash of color contrasts against the light straw color of the reeds and the bright green of the golf course beside the park. It flies from one perch to another, occasionally hidden from sight as it dips into the reeds.

Canadian geese follow each other while periodically calling out. Soon they will be joined b their chubby little chicks.

A cormorant swims near the boat docks. At first I watch the bird expose its body and then sink into the water leaving just a small dark head. Then I watch the bird disappear underwater, playing hide and seek. It is amazing how long it stays down and how far it swims while underwater.

I never know what I will see, but always know I will enjoy walk.

Stained glass

My Mother’s Day gift was a beginning stained glass workshop at Evergreen Center for the Arts. In five hours all six students got the feel for making stained glass and walked away with a completed project. Even better hanging in the window at home with sunlight coming through, the imperfections are’t visible, just the beautiful reflection of light in the colored glass.

I enjoy the workshops at the art and recreation centers. They give a chance to try a new hobby, to try equipment and supplies, to learn from the teacher where practice leads, to learn shortcuts, to learn how to avoid mistakes and to meet some really fun people.

I took a watercolor class several years ago to paint the wildflowers I was trying to learn. In the beginning family couldn’t guess the subject of my painting, but it fed my soul and got me outside, so that was okay.

I believe the beautiful of the area we live in encourages art classes. When I see the beauty outside my door the urge to catch those memories and to relive the feeling of wonder is strong.

Buchanan Recreation Center

Evergreen has two recreation centers. Being across from Elk Meadow Park this one has beautiful views. Trails surround the center and Bergen Park.They connect under the highway to Elk Meadow and many miles of trails.. The hiking trails are hidden from the highway by trees. Walking you notice nature instead of roads.

There are two ponds in front of the center that don’t quite freeze because of pumps that keep the water moving. The reflection of the center in the water of the open areas is beautiful. This is a view the business complex on the other side of the pond enjoy daily. And in the summer families fish these stocked ponds and play on the sculptures on shore. There is always something to see from the rec center and office windows.

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.

First Big Snow

This weekend we had the first big snow of the winter. If would have been light and fluffy a month ago. Instead of flying off the deck from a broom it taunted the shovel and let your back know if was there.

Yesterday we were cacooned in gray. The temperature was near freezing so it was brisk, not cold. This morning it is cold but the sun is out and the sky back to Colorado blue. By the end of the day the trees with no longer carry their load and patches of grass with appear.

Today is a lazy day to watch the white fall to quickly return to the mountains.

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.

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