Showing posts from November, 2017

Evergreen Lake - Wonderful Waterfowl

Evergreen Lake On an exceptionally beautiful morning at Evergreen Lake, a dusting of fresh snow was hard evidence of a cold night. As the transition to winter gradually occurs, the last bit of open water was vanishing beneath a veil of thin ice. Clouds of moist air began to disperse but they diffused the low light, resulting in an effect of milky atmosphere. Usually during the quiet season, you won’t glimpse a single soul in the vacant wetlands but on that day we observed a pair of wonderful waterfowl. Perched on a rocky outcrop, a double-crested cormorant was drying its wings down below the dam’s spillway. Distinguished by piercing blue eyes, this prehistoric-looking creature was probably just passing through while on his way to a much warmer place. Around on the far end of the blue reservoir, we encountered one of my favorite species, the American dipper. It was a pleasant surprise because I normally see this chunky, little bird farther downstream feeding in the fast-flowi

Chief Hosa Trail - Peaceful and Beautiful

A study in contrast Looping casually behind a historic chalet, Chief Hosa Trail is a hardened pathway that passes through forests of Douglas fir, lodgepole and ponderosa pine. Devoid of much activity during this season, autumn is a fine time to bask in nature’s glory. The enlightened track circumnavigates a broad ridge that knifes through the wilderness, sharing with the keen observer a study in sharp contrast. By traversing the hillside, you’ll encounter two distinctly different ecosystems. The north-facing slope is mired in an eternal shadow where giant fir and spruce trees envelope the lush undergrowth of glossy ferns. Once inside you’ll discover that deep snow is ever-present and white aspen glow against the dark backdrop. The south-facing slope is flooded with bright sunlight where the ponderosa pine are twisted above an open scrubland of yellow grasses. Out there the rocky terrain is wide open with far-reaching views that extend all the way to the Continental Divide.

Little Bighorn Valley - Colored Pencil Drawing

"Little Bighorn Valley" Colored Pencil It’s springtime on the northern plains and the Little Bighorn Valley is a kaleidoscope of lively colors. From the rim of this lonely overlook, one can review Montana’s remarkable landscape. Carving a rugged valley within the vast prairie, a winding river comes rushing down out of the big, gray mountains. You can barely catch a glimpse of the water as its concealed by a sprawling forest of cottonwood. The lush treetops form wavy bands of foliage that are highlighted with lemon yellow. The trees are mostly green and modeled with dark shadows that appear more blue as they recede into the distance. The sweeping hillside is steeper than it looks as it blends smoothly into the canyon floor. Just below the summit, a small patch of scrubby woodland has found its niche in a crease of earth called a coulee. Blemishes of sagebrush are stippled randomly throughout the countryside’s quilted patchwork of fresh growth. Flowing across the p

Genesee Mountain - Bursting with Beauty

Genesee Mountain trail When heading up out of Denver, the first big peak you’ll encounter is the wonderful Genesee Mountain. A network of well-worn trails spirals around its flanks, taking you all the way to the top. On a cold November morning the colors are dull and gray but the spectacular setting is classic Colorado foothills. The steep, grassy slopes are golden ochre and covered by an old-growth forest of ponderosa pine. Erected at the precipice, a sturdy flagpole flys an American flag that’s tattered from the constant barrage of blowing wind. The historic guidon is a beacon of national pride and it’s determined flight is a symbol of the pioneer spirit. Every Flag Day since 1911, an organization called the Daughters of the American Revolution has replaced the shredded banner with a new recruit. Off towards the west a patriotic path, inspired by the Stars and Stripes, descends gradually into a wide open meadow. After you break out of the woodland, you can get right up c