Monday, September 26, 2011

Nature At Its Best!!

Soon we are departing our summer residence.  It has been a good summer--one filled with great adventures, wonderful times spent with brown headed daughter and many hours of relaxation.  The mountains are receiving snows and that is a sign to head south, just as the birds do. 
It seems now is the time when the sunsets are the greatest!  This photo taken from our back deck as we dined--what color surrounded us!  You just couldn't ask for a better dining view.
We took one final summer journey into Rocky Mountain National Park to view some wildlife--hoping that aspens had taken their fall turn to orange, red, yellow and golden and the elk were down from the high country.
Since it was a weekend day, the park was crowded--many had come out to bask in the changing of the leaves.  This view was taken from Many Curves pullout.  In the background is Longs Peak, 14,000 ft.
Not many of the aspens had turned this reddish-purple color, but the ground cover had.  And amongst the lowly ground bushes, summer flowers still burst forth.
We picnicked at Upper Beaver Meadow in anticipation of elk viewing, but all we could see were these postings along the way.  Guess we were at the wrong time of day for elk.  In years past during mid day we had seen elk in downtown Estes, along the roadsides, and some just hopped out in front of our car as we drove Trail Ridge.
Several areas in the park are fenced to allow for vegetation to reseed and grow.  These are the areas that elk have frequented.  The sign reads "20 year project".  Several of the older aspen trees have had the bark chewed off up to 8 feet from the ground--a hardy sign that elk feed here in the cold, snowy winter months.
Through the wires you can see a good stand of aspens and wonderful under growth.
We were off to visit the first campground where we took the kids back in June, 1974.  They remember well and so do we adults!  After pitching our tent, eating our evening meal and climbing into our tent, the rains came and that soon turned to snow!  By morning we had several inches of snow around--fixed breakfast over the campfire (bundled up in layers of garments) and as soon as the eggs hit the plate--instant cold!!  The only thing to do was pack up and head out of the high country.  This visit the campground was closed for the winter--too bad!  We wanted to visit the Big Rock where the kids sat to have their photo taken--oh, well, we'll pull out those photos and remember that time again!
We did continue up the road into Bear Lake parking lot--a much visited spot.  So visited that rangers/volunteers direct traffic in and out; buses pick up at various locations in the park and Estes to deliver to this spot.  We were fortunate to find a parking spot and took the short hike to the lake--where once again, we sat on the banks and thought back to those  many visits to this area when visitors weren't so common.
As to the elk viewing--none existent--except for three young bull elk that were seen at the top of Trail Ridge Road (too far away to take a photo).  We did see one small herd as we exited the park--a bull rested royally as his harem of cows enjoyed their grazing.  A ranger was directing traffic so it was impossible to stop for photos--alas, we did see a few elk and our day was complete.

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