2 Herds Of Big Horn Sheep Together In Estes Park

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There are 2 herds of Big Horn Sheep that come down from the mountains this time of year to eat the grasses and lick the salt off of the roads. One has 11 sheep and the other has 14 sheep. We can tell them apart from their markings. We were driving down Fall River Road the other day and there they were, both herds together on the side of the road.  It was pretty cool! We even saw one that was pretty small. A lot of cars had stopped to take pictures and they were getting a little itchy so we didn’t get too many pictures. But it was fun just to see them all together!

There’s Snow Up On Trail Ridge Road In Rocky Mountain National Park

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With the forecast for rain and possible snow next week, Phil and I thought we’d take a drive up on Trail Ridge Road to see what it looked like from the snow last Monday. You never know, it might our last trip up there until spring!

There was a  good amount of snow along side the road as you go up higher. Longs Peak and those other peaks nearby had some snow but Mt. Ida and the peaks on the western side of the parks really got hammered. It was really pretty and looked very wintry.

We drove all the way over to Grand Lake to see the views and hoping to see a moose! A couple of cars stopped on the side of the road on the way back and we thought, “There’s our moose!” It turned out to be a 7-pointer and very beautiful but not a moose! I guess we’re spoiled because we see bull elk all of the time around our house.

It’ll be interesting to see what the weather brings in the next few days. Last year Trail Ridge Road never re-opened after Oct. 9th, which is very early. But then again we had a lot of snow very early last year! Trail Ridge Road usually closes somewhere around the third or fourth week of October or the first week of November…all depending on the weather up top…and doesn’t open up again until Memorial Day weekend!

It Was A Great Day For Hiking Up Cub Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park.

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PT and I went for a great hike yesterday on Cub Lake Trail. The forecast was to be in the 50s with no rain in sight. The wind had died down here at the house but we know by now that  weather conditions in Rocky Mountain National Park are sometimes very different. We did bring all of our winter gear….just in case!

When we got to the trail-head, which is about 10 minutes from our home, the winds were howling and it was cold. We were the only car there. We bundled up in our fleece and Gore Tex jackets, with mittens and hats and set out. It was a glorious day, full of bright sunshine and we were ready for a  good hike. Cub Lake Trail is one of the most diversified of all of the trails in the park. You go through meadows, across a river where you might see an American Dipper, along the old glacier field dotted with thousands of huge balancing rocks and sometimes many elk, through the pine trees, through the aspen trees and on up to Cub Lake.

If you’re lucky, you might even see a moose…we didn’t yesterday. It got warm hiking up the incline but once we got to the lake, we zipped up again as the wind was ripping across the water. The mountains were white with snow covering them. They’ve gotten really hammered in the past week. It was a short stop, just enough to take some photographs and then we headed back down. It was such a beautiful day and a great day for a hike…we were glad that the winds didn’t scare us away.

Wild Turkeys In Estes Park…

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When I walk home from town, I usually make a few detours on the way. I love the walk up Old Man Mountain Road and then on to Fall River Lane. It is so pretty and it feels like you are in the woods. Lately when I pass this certain house, there are about 15 wild turkeys milling about. They are eating and strutting all over the place. A couple of years ago, they would hang out near our house so we are familiar with them. They intriguing part is that there is one “blonde” turkey and all the rest are dark. I was able to get a picture of the blonde one and 2 others as they ran up the hill when they saw me coming. He’s very interesting, don’t you think?

The Stanley Hotel With Lumpy Ridge In The Background

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Phil and I were out on the Estes Park golf course a couple of days ago  in the evening looking at the elk. It’s always a fun thing to do this time of year with the rut going on. You can watch the bulls with their harem and hear their bugling far away.

It was one of those evenings  that was cloudy and almost dusk. I thought this was such a pretty picture of the Stanley Hotel with Lumpy Ridge as its backdrop. It seems that no matter which direction you look in Estes Park, there is always a beautiful landscape to see!

I Never Get Sick Of The Big Horn Sheep…

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When the Big Horn Sheep are on their way back up the mountain after a day’s grazing of our (and our neighbor’s) grasses and plants, they usually walk right by our bedroom window. Of course I grabbed my camera and starting shooting away. This ram just stood there like a sentinel, watching his flock with one eye and watching me with his other eye. They are just so beautiful and amazing to see them only a couple of  feet away.

Taking The “C” Out Of Fly Fishing.

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We went on a walk around Lake Estes in Estes Park, Colorado yesterday.  It is a very beautiful walk around the lake with elk, high snow-capped mountains, birds, wildflowers, kayaking, biking, running and fly fishing.

We always seem to stop at the same places along the lake to look at our favorite views.  No matter how many times we walk around the lake, it seems like the first time and it is spectacular.  And to think it is only 1 mile down the road from us.  Many people walk around the lake and everyone has different types of interests.

Yesterday, we stopped a the bridge to watch the fly fishing.  I do not fly fish (even though I talk about trying it probably hundreds of times).  I have so many other interests that sometimes it is very difficult to fit in a new interest… especially one that has be learned and practiced.

But this time it was different.  We heard some noise above the rushing waters of the Big Thompson River.  Usually all you hear and see is the fisherman, the casting of the rods and the birds flying by.  As I looked down, there was a fisherman casting with a cell phone up to his ear.  He wasn’t even paying attention to what he was doing.  His casting motion was just by memory and he was more interested in his phone call as his voice became louder and louder.

Is the cell phone that important?  Do we need to keep it on when we go out in nature?  If so, stay at home and yap on the phone all day.  There is no use for a cell phone when you go out and experience nature.  Take is with you for safety purposes, but don’t get the urge to answer it.

Let’s take the “Cell” out of fly fishing and let me enjoy watching you cast your rod against the raging river.

The Rut In Rocky Mountain National Park Is Still Going On…

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This time of year is when the Bull Elks “bugle” their rights to as many cows (female elks) that they can muster. Many win the battle and end up with a gathering of between 20-50 cows. Here is a picture of a Bull Elk quite satisfied with his harem and living on the posh Estes Park Golf Course. Once the rut is over, the Bull Elks will leave and spend their winter with other Bull Elks while  the cows will spend the winter together. The rut always brings thousands of visitors to Rocky Mountain National Park to see this incredible display of  courtship.

There’s Snow In The Mountains In Rocky Mountain National Park!

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What a difference from one week to the next! Last weekend we were still wearing shorts and t-shirts, marveling at how beautiful the weather has been and what a gorgeous extended summer we were having! Last year at this time we had already had 2 significant snowfalls. So far this year the temperatures were still in the 70s during the daytime. Not bad for the beginning of October.

And then on Friday, the weather changed. It is still beautiful but we turned  the heat on in the house with temps at night in the 30s and 40s and in the daytime in the 60s. We got out the  jeans and jackets. What a difference a week makes!

Phil and I took a ride into the park to see the snow in the mountains. You can see that it is still autumn at the bottom but definitely winter at the top!

What Noise Does A Dead Tree Make?

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I remember one particular day about 15+ years ago going skiing with my children in Vermont (went skiing with my children since they were 3 years old).

It was a very crowded morning as the snow just fell and the lodge was very busy with 1,000’s of skiers.  Everyone was putting on their boots, getting ready and very excited for fresh powder.  It was going to be a gorgeous day.  Little did I know what I was about to experience.  And that is the beauty of waking up each day.  You never know what you are going to experience… and every day is going to be a new experience, unlike the many days before.

We went up on the chair and gondola for a lot of great runs.  About 11:30am, we decided to go into the lodge for lunch (always try to get into the lodge earlier than the rest of the crowd).  But this day was extremely busy and the lodge was already crowded… and there was a lot of noise, clanging, people talking loud, people shouting and people having a great time.

I have noticed over the years (with cell phones), that there is a lot of noise in public today.  Usually, a person would be walking down the street and looking around… enjoying the day. But now, people have bluetooth in their ears and talking loud while they are walking around (even when they are enjoying the day walking around a lake, etc.)  Everyone has a need to talk all the time.

So… let’s get back to my skiing with my children as after lunch we decided to ski backcountry as this would be the best time for our strength to take that challenge.

We took the gondola up and started to trek through the trees as my son-in-law knew a very special place to start our run.  As we left the crowds, I started noticing quiet… very quiet and no noise.   All I could feel and see was the falling of tiny snow flakes all around.  Each flake that landed on my ski parka did not make a sound.  Suddenly it became totally quiet and it became a surreal experience.  There wasn’t a sound around and everyone stopped at that moment to experience it.  And what a moment it was.

And just when everyone had enough of that magical moment… skis were turned downhill and everyone started off… screaming and yelling and having a great time.

There is a time for silence and a time for noise.  Let’s just not forget that there is a need for the balance of the two.

What noise does a dead tree make?

Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park outdoor adventure and outdoor photography blog. Explore the RMNP Blog and the Estes Park Blog to discover ALL the amazing, hidden beauty that nature has to offer.