Saturday, June 11, 2016

White Ranch Park - Summer Unfolds

Summer at White Ranch

It’s really hot and dry down at White Ranch Park in Golden, Colorado. Van Bibber Creek is running low and slow as the rocky watercourse cascades through a grassy, green gulch.

On a warm Saturday afternoon there’s not a cloud in the hazy sky. Ascending the steep Belcher Hill Trail on such a dusty day is definitely a sweaty endeavor.

During the climb, a looping traverse opens up and offers sweeping views across an impressive valley. To the right is Ralston Reservoir and the Hogback is an arched ridge connecting a rugged rock formation known as the Devil’s Thumb.

Back down at the bottom, the forest canopy is a priceless sanctuary of cool shade. Compared to what we usually see in the high country, the place is bursting with all kinds of colorful birds.

The black-headed grosbeak sings with passion and a Bullock’s oriole is a flash of brilliant orange in the tangled brush. Donning a black mask, the blueish scrub-jay is a striking creature while a spotted towhee’s fiery red eyes seem almost supernatural.

As summer unfolds, the usual cast of characters continues to return. The tourist season is one of my favorite times of the year because back are the aspen, irises, columbine, hummingbirds, bluebirds, squirrels and of course the thunderstorms.

Van Bibber Creek is running low and slow

Belcher Hill Trail

An impressive valley

A long ridge connects Devil's Thumb

A cool sanctuary

Black-headed Grosbeak

Western Scrub-jay

Spotted Towhee

It's tourist season

Summer is one of my favorite seasons

2 comments:

  1. I'm looking for the devil's thumb but I don't see it. Is it in your photo or visible from a different angle?

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    1. It's difficult to see here as the pictures are more wide format. It sticks up out of the left side of the ridge. I'll try and get a zoomed in pic saved somewhere for you to look at. It's an unusual rock formation.

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