Showing posts from October, 2017

Red Rocks Park - Garden of the Angels

Garden of the Angels By the end of October in the Colorado foothills, the birds have slipped away, the first snow has loosened and most of the leaves have fallen. Luckily, lower down near Morrison there’s still enough color to brighten your day. On a gorgeous, golden morning at the Garden of the Angels, autumn’s palette is composed from red, yellow and orange. The little creek that flows gently through this geologic wonderland is still lined with lush cottonwoods. With the world famous amphitheater set as its centerpiece, this unique state park is currently known as Red Rocks. It’s a surreal place where sandstone slabs are tilted precariously, thrusting upwards towards a deep, blue sky. Stair-stepped trails weave through the preserve, offering a fresh viewpoint at every turn. If you’re able to position yourself at just the right angle, you’ll see pale foliage set against dark shadows, creating a striking contrast of color and tone. The search for a last bit of this year’s

American Kestrel - Heart over Height

American Kestrel The American Kestrel is North America’s smallest and most widespread falcon. This pocket-sized bird of prey is extremely adaptable as she can be found anywhere in the Western Hemisphere from Alaska to the tip of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. The most colorful of all the raptors, she is distinguished by brown wings as opposed to the male’s beautiful slate blue. Perceiving her identity is practically unmistakable while she’s perched on a small pine scanning the grassland for her favorite food; grasshoppers. She owes much of her success to a broad diet that includes almost any insect, lizards, snakes, mice and voles. She’s a ferocious predator that has the ability to take red squirrels and small birds especially sparrows while still on the wing. She’s the fearless matriarch of a tight-knit group as both parents are equally active in rearing the young. Often, the whole family will go out on a hunting foray as it’s an effective way to teach the fledglings how to s

Bear Gulch - A Dragon's Den

Bear Gulch Bear Gulch is a steep ravine knifing through the forested foothills of Genesee Park, Colorado. Once you enter into the forbidding chasm, a rocky trail goes downhill all the way. Upon leaving the land of brilliant light, this seedy underworld is thick with thorny brush and tangled trees. A murky creek cascades quietly through the secluded gorge. Further in, the trek heads down a slippery slope where every step must be taken with extreme caution. A misstep at this position could result in a fall filled with painful repercussions. At the soggy bottom, water falls over black boulders and broken logs. The sun’s rays barely make it to the base of the canyon but where they do, autumn bushes glow with yellow when set against the somber shadows. Closed in by rock and mud, the narrow crevasse is cold and damp. You’re separated from the sky and sunny topland but there’s still a bright side to being stuck inside this complicated scenery. The consolation garnered from desc

Butterflies and Bison - Beauty and the Beast

Painted Lady Butterflies During a sunny Saturday while searching for the elusive Genesee bison, a seemingly insignificant insect stole the show. In one day, we must have seen a thousand painted lady butterflies perched on purple thistle and yellow rabbitbrush. The painted lady prefers the warmer climate associated with the desert southwest and Mexico but after an especially wet winter, they have migrated north en masse. During the hurried return south this fall, their population has exploded. Fueled by favorable weather conditions and abundant food, they are churning across the American landscape like a cloud of orange smoke. This rare phenomenon is one of nature’s great spectacles, containing an air of mystery and unparalleled beauty. As for the beasts, we found the buffalo grazing peacefully on a steep hillside near the forest’s edge. At one time, more than a million of these impressive animals roamed without hinderance across the vast Great Plains. With their numbers gr