A obscure trail in Alderfer Park descends into a quiet drainage called Coneflower Creek. It’s a fascinating experience wandering deep inside this lost valley where springtime has barely begun.
Its banks crowded by stands of barren aspen, the shallow stream is slow moving because the big peaks that fill it are still locked in a fierce battle with snow and ice.
Blending beautifully into the rocky mountainside, an abandoned homestead and its historical outbuildings are a tangible record of our region’s earliest settlers.
It’s interesting to observe how the wildlife reacts to our sudden appearance. Mule deer are activated into a state of heightened alert and a cottontail becomes frozen solid while a downy woodpecker ignores our very existence.
The gray clouds don’t mean snow but they do suggest the possibility of a dramatic weather effect. Almost every afternoon during the monsoon the sky unleashes a torrent of heavy rain, thunder and lightning.
At the end of the excursion as the evening light shines through a veil of transparent clouds, the ambiance creates a solemn atmosphere that complements the peaceful solitude of an isolated wilderness.
|Mule deer on full alert|
|The big peaks are locked in battle|
|Ice and snow|
|A frozen cottontail|
|A historical record of early settlement|
|Spring has barely begun|
|The wildlife is interesting|
|A solemn atmosphere|
|The woodpecker ignored us|