Friday, November 15, 2019

American Bison Trail - A Secret Passage

American Bison Trail

Tucked away in the Front Range Foothills, a discreet meadow is home to Colorado’s treasured herd of buffalo. Broken by rocks and ice, a muddy pathway circumnavigates the sturdy enclosure while offering unobstructed views of the Continental Divide.

The American Bison Trail traverses the lower slopes of Genesee Mountain, winding its way through an old-growth forest of ponderosa pine. The morning sun has just slipped over the ridge so bright light floods into the open woodland.

Sequestered in the backwoods, the trail is a secret passage through the wilderness that even the locals don’t know exists. One of the most common inhabitants in this netherworld is the cautious mule deer but encounters with this shy creature are transient.

It is pretty quiet in the deep interior but if you listen closely, you’ll hear a whole chorus of resident birds. Crows drift across the treetops as woodpeckers and nuthatches tap tree bark while Stellar’s jays squawk noisily, disrupting the peaceful ambiance.

Tiny, black specks graze in a golden grassland unfurled below an impressive expanse of blue mountains and big white peaks. The hardy beasts are settled in the center of the pasture so a long camera lens is required to reach out and capture their shaggy silhouettes.

Sweeping down from the high country, an autumn chinook eats through the frost still drifted in the dark shadows. It is a clear day and the calendar says it is fall but down in this secluded valley, the deep snow and bitter cold make it feel like the dead of winter.

The Continental Divide

An expanse of mountains and white peaks

A ponderosa pine forest

A discreet valley

Shaggy silhouettes

The wilderness

An open woodland

A secret passage

The sun has slipped over the ridge

The deep interior

Feels like the dead of winter

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