Monday, May 31, 2010

Post 100: Memorial Day

This is a milestone post for my little blog, #100. If you recall, post #55 came just earlier this month, so it would seem I've been a little busier blog-wise this month of May in my wanderings than before. May is fast becoming a favorite month thanks to the amazing color and life around Colorado at this time of year.

We set out for a Memorial Day hike just outside of Idlevale, a little community up Hwy 74 on a very winding road outside of Morrison. With Nick sitting in the middle between Sam and Jessie, he found it quite entertaining to let himself slide left and right on the switchbacks to squish the girls. We had the windows and the sunroof open to enjoy the 70° temps and very light breezes out of the north. Soon after you leave the town of Morrison you begin to hear the roar of the creek down below the road, which adds to the charm of the drive.

I missed the earlier unmarked turn-off and we found ourselves at the main entrance to Lair O' the Bear (the infamous Courtney and Tori lost hike starting point) where we had to turn around. It seemed half of Colorado decided this would be an ideal spot to spend Memorial Day, too. It took us 15 minutes to get out of the completely full lot to go back down the highway.

The unmarked lot at the far end of the trail still had room, though, and by 10:15 we'd set out to enjoy the creek.

There are a number of great little spots to visit the water and wade, although the runoff from the mountain snows right now make this a very frigid wade and the waters are running pretty fast thanks to a very wet winter.

Due to the higher altitude, a lot of the trees here are just beginning to bloom while those around our neighborhood are nearly finished.

Evan did not seem to mind the very cold water. He is most definitely a water dog. Every time we approached the creek, he'd dive in and lay down. There was one spot where Sammi had his leash and he got in up to his neck before she could get him back out. He was having a blast, but getting awfully muddy in the process.

Nick had only been along this creek once before and Jessie had never been. On the other hand, Sammi and I seem to have the whole area memorized for perfect sitting and picture spots along the way.

This is one of Sammi's preferred spots.

And here is a favorite picnic area where, when the waters calm down mid-summer, you can wade all the way across on the smooth stones.

The trail winds away from the creek briefly before crossing at one of three bridges in this area.

Here's the upstream shot from the center of bridge #1.

And here's the downstream picture at Bridge #2. Right along here is another popular area with picnic tables and hordes of little kids.

A mallard pair were sunning themselves, oblivious to the shrieks of all the little kids playing along the banks

Once you get away from the noise, the trail gets quietly charming.

Crossing back over the bridge to head for the picnic basket, this shot is downstream as the creek starts to descend. Driving back towards Morrison, there are some spectacular drop-offs, although no easy place to hike alongside the water.

There are times when being alone with your dog is just perfect.

Evan and Katy stop and get a drink of water at our selected picnic spot while Bob goes to fetch the basket and blankets.

Evan prefers laying in his drinking water.

So while we wait, here comes three mallards, flying in formation, low over the water going downstream. Since we're sitting on the rock watching upstream, we get a great view, although I'm not quick enough with the camera and zoom to get them clearly. I can only spot two from the shot below.

The grilling of burgers would come later, but I'm of the mind there's no better Memorial Day tradition than one of a picnic by a creek in the mountains of Colorado.

But that's just me. :)
Sunday, May 30, 2010

High Line Canal

A nice walk along the High Line Canal this afternoon, although a few storm clouds were hovering about.

The prairie dogs have a sweet spot along the trail, but they were not very welcoming guests. They fussed and fussed as we walked along.

Evan spots and smells the wildflowers.

It's mostly down in a meadow, but a few spots along the way have slightly grander vistas to behold.

The blooms on this tree looked like pink pine cones.

Passing back through, we got another stern talking to.
Evan didn't seem too worried though.