Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Confronting Beauty

Thompson Divide is a place of natural beauty and controversy.  

For several years the residents have been fighting the Gas n Oil industry over fracking leases, and natural gas "wells".....currently the leases have not been renewed but its a constant battle in and out of courts to save our beautiful mostly unspoiled wilderness!  I can't tell you how many petitions and letters I have been part of this year alone.  You may want to check out the Coalition and join the fight. 

A drive back towards Aspen on Hwy 82 then a turn onto 133 south towards the town of Carbondale will take you to the Thompson Creek Road, (CR108) 

ranch land on both sides of CR108

....and then the dirt rd off that follows the gulch this huge area  is known as Thompson Divide.   There is public land there...and a campground snuggled under the big pine, fir, spruce, and aspen trees.   A lot of people visit this area on horseback.  

I drove the dirt road as far as I could then it got steep, narrow, and rocky so I turned around the first chance I got...

Forest Service road getting way too narrow...

The road crosses the Thompson Creek, it was a bit muddy with recent rains...

One can get the best unobstructed views of one of the high peaks...Mt. Sopris.  This is the ELK Range in the Rocky Mountain Chain.   Sopris overlooks the town of Carbondale like a mother hen...at 12,966 ft. 

Mt Sporis

 It is hardly one of the High Peaks of this area but it sure is a good looking mountain.  It has twin peaks! There is a hike up to the summit about 12 miles in length.  The peak sits in the Maroon Bells Wilderness area I hope to take you there soon!!

Because Maroon Bells is one of the most photographed peaks in Colorado, and I haven't been there since 2008, Aug 25th.  I know one thing that changed is you can't go up in your car during the hours of 9-5, they put in a passenger bus to take visitors up since it was so heavily visited....so I have to go early or go late or ride the bus in. 

Down by the creek I found Golden Crowned Kinglets, a not so focused shot as they were as fast as could be, and they were in a mixed flock of Mountain Chickadee, and White Breasted Nuthatch.  

Golden Crowned Kinglet

I had my head set on finding a Red Crossbill but so far I have struck out every where I've gone...I felt sure these cones would be full of crossbills...lol.

I read this area is also good for poorwills, hammond flycatchers, and bushtit.  Struck out on all 3 did see another imm. mountain blue bird right at the beginning of the dirt road on a power line.  

here's a closer look at Mt Sopris...tiny little bit of snow here and there

I arrived about 10:30 AM and left about 2:30 PM, it was awesome to explore this area...got home and found this Cooper's hawking the feeder birds...took this through the glass door...he is a real beauty he saw me and took off, saved our feeder birds from an attack.  

till next time....

Every day is a new Adventure.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Motherlode...

For some time my Feedjit has not been working so I installed an in "Real Time" one, now both are showing up! I'm just going to leave it as is in case the other one dies again!  I enjoy seeing where everyone is from...here we went to lunch at the Elk Creek Mining Co. Bar & Grill.  They have this burger called the mother lode, and they challenge anyone to eat 2 and 2 orders of their buffalo chips in 45 mins or less and your meal is free!
If you like meat you may be up to the challenge...I think my son JT could easily get his name on a plaque. 
Do you think you could eat this meal in 45 minutes or less???  Two Motherlode Burgers with 2 sides of Buffalo chips!  Not me I had the daily special and on  Thursday it comes with a $4 Mojito! 

so far there's 3 plaques, with 13 winners since 2008...

$4 Thursday Special Mojito

Elk Creek Mining Co Bar & Grill in New Castle

the Basalt Chamber of Commerce is in this old RR Car

A few days later we took a drive east back towards Glenwood Springs and picked up hwy 82 south  through the town of Basalt and then onto the Frying Pan River Road, one of the prime fly fisheries in this area.  

not even the weekend yet

it was kinda overcast and it sprinkled on us a bit
 the road follows the river...

And then once we got up higher we took a dirt road off the main road to a spot where we had hopes of having a picnic...we love picnics cause it's a way for us to get out in nature and Mom can be included.

... it drizzled so we hung close to the van and ate...which was okay as we soon had some, uninvited but a 10 on the cute scale, company

and he brought some friends....

and they brought some friends...

Steller's Jay

"Hey, get back here with that bread!"

...back on the drive we found all kinds of   "aww" moments...like someone's hollyhock flowers

and Mother Nature's flowers adorned the Reservoir...

Ruedi Reservoir 

 My camera is still having problems the lens seems stuck a little and that is why the black circles are in the corners. Sometimes I take the time to edit them out and sometimes I don't...this is the Apsen Yacht Club Marina in the corner of the lake below...

We stopped at this day use area to use the facilities...a family was there paddle boarding...or something similar!

I think a couple of the kids had some problems!  LoL

got mud?

and they walked barefoot on gravel...OUCH!

We turned around in the settlement of Meredith....at the Post Office my sis retired from , it's extremely quaint...

then it was time to head home...

roadside pine siskins

...add our names to the mother-lode plaque of wonderful day trips!

Every day is a new Adventure.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Rifle Arch Trail Hike

So Thursday morning we were up early again, and little sis and her husband brought us biscuits from McDonald's for breakfast, and took over the nanny sitting so off we went! Lucky for us it was partly cloudy, for this hike is in completely different terrain.  We leave the town of Rifle, and head about 7 miles up highway 13...

the roan plateau in morning light

...and to the trailhead...mostly out in the open but up in the higher elevation juniper/cedar/pinyon forest.  This one  is not long either....2.4 miles round trip.  

right away we scared 2 coyotes that we assumed were trying to snag a dove as there was a flock on the ground...we spooked the doves and the coyotes 

The trail crosses this thorn scrub meadow and then takes an uphill turn I turned around here and snapped the shot of the meadow we just crossed.  

that's the trail down there....we just hiked on, that thin ribbon in the dirt...and the highway beyond where we drove in 

on top of the hill there is a nice view to the West....

part of the Roan Plateau...then the trail heads downhill and across another thorn scrub open area...

and as you look ahead more trees come into view and another uphill...the arch comes into view a little...

Can you see it yet?

passed this gray flycatcher, 

AND a new bird for me, a horrible photo of the what I know as the Plain Titmouse, only to find out they were split way back in 1996..LoL so here it is the Juniper Titmouse. (the other is called the Oak Titmouse)  I think plain is the word, but sure looked good to me!
# 407!

Here is the arch! It's quite large...

there's a large boulder field right under the arch so we got a little closer and called that good...

this is a full sized tree on top there...

and from the ridge on the way back....

Another fun day in paradise!!

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.