Yesterday the Big Horn Sheep spent most of the afternoon in our yard, munching away. We kept saying they were like lawnmowers, eating everything in sight! It is such a special treat to see them so close that we didn’t want to bother them. This one had eaten so much that he decided to lie down and take a nap right outside our bedroom window. He stayed for quite a while but then they go back up high into the mountains later in the afternoon. He was just so content, Phil and I kept snapping away with our camera.
We noticed that some of the elk have lost their antlers already. They lose them this time of year, rubbing them against a tree or shrub, and then they start growing back very soon. By “rut time” in September and October, they all show beautiful racks of antlers once again. This elk must’ve just lost his antlers because he has the “knobs” where they used to be. In the next couple of weeks, the antlers will start growing and will look like they are covered with velvet throughout the summer.
The fallen antlers are a great source of calcium for the little rodents such as the chipmunks, groundhogs, mice, squirrels, marmots, etc. in the wild. Even though it is tempting to try to find these fallen antlers, remember it is illegal to take them out of Rocky Mountain National Park.
It’s that time of year when Lakes Estes is still frozen down by the marina, but the rest of the lake is pretty well thawed out. It might get a little ice crust on it if the temperatures go well below freezing during the night. When Phil and I were walking around the lake, I noticed these tracks that walked all the way across the lake. We couldn’t really tell what kind of animal it was, but it couldn’t have weighed too much. We were surprised that any animal would venture across the ice this time of year and so close to the edge of the ice. The water was only a few yards away. I was surprised they made it across without falling in! I loved the picture. Anyone want to guess what kind of animal it was?
There was a Winter Storm Warning for Estes Park yesterday and today until 6pm. The snow started after lunch yesterday and accumulated pretty fast. I went out about 4:00 and shoveled about 6″ and then Phil and I both shoveled another 6″ after dinner. We went to bed thinking, “Oh no! There’s sure to be 20″ on the ground by tomorrow morning.” When we got up there was only about 2 inches of new snow and by 8 am the sun started to poke through the clouds.
We decided to take a ride about 10am and thought it might be fun to see what Lake Estes looked like with all of the new snow. It was just gorgeous. The trees were still laden with huge clumps of snow. The sky was beautiful. It was the perfect morning for a walk around the lake. We took this photo looking over toward Lumpy Ridge from the Lakes Estes Trail. I can’t remember how many times I said to Phil, “What a spectacular morning!”
I just loved this picture of Old Man Mountain after the snowfall the other day. You can see why it is named Old Man Mountain from the silouette of his face on the right side of the mountain. Old Man Mountain is the oldest documented sacred Indian site in Colorado, dating back 10,000 years. It was a very sacred place for the Native Americans where they would have their vision quests on top. It’s exciting to learn about the history of Estes Park and the role that the Native Americans played many years ago.