Monday, July 24, 2017

GRAND Mesa Part II

Boy I was hungry!  I heard thunder in the distance and figured it was the perfect time to get out and have the sandwich  I packed before the rain caught me. 

 



I found the perfect perch to sit and admire the view while I ate...I walked out to the end of this path and found the right spot!







I watched a hawk soar across the valley while I munched...pretty awesome!!

Back on the drive...there was a cow jam! They literally were milling around right in the road...I inched


through them...I found this brand especially disturbing...



only a deranged mind could do such a thing to a beautiful animal...*sad*


at the end of this 12 mile gravel road is the old observatory visitors center...it is no longer open, sadly but it is still a beautiful spot at the end of the mesa...and beyond is an actual weather observatory...but it off limits. 


I saw this road leading down off the Mesa...hmmm and 


Upon closer inspection I saw a waterfall!!


can you see it?? 



I decided that I wanted to see that waterfall!!  The main road drove right beside the brink of the water...


and then the road continues...to the old visitors center...


stunning views...



complete with a resident Clark's Nutcracker...



and some cute little beggars....










I left and headed for the Switchback road seen above...I had intended to go only as far as the waterfall...sorry bout the quality of this photo...my camera is not doing well... had a system error message! 




here is the first switchback...


I had to make 3 of the switchbacks to actually see the waterfall...but there was no place to turn around and the weather was swiftly changing!



SO I just kept going....down... using 1st gear practically all the way...



the road is gravel and it's not really bad lower down the upper section was very narrow..



then it widened and the aspens came in on both sides..


slowly but surely the storm keep building...







the rain was falling in the distance and back toward the way I had entered the Mesa..on the Scenic  Byway so kinda was happy I did NOT go back that way...it took me about an hour to get down.



I finally got back to blacktop road, and now it was a race to outrun the storm...


In some spots it was SNOW instead of rain!







I had such a great day up on the Mesa, I want to go back to do the upper area beyond the Land's End turn off, there is SO Much more to see up there.


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

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The GRAND Mesa.

Thursday I headed up to the Grand Mesa Scenic Byway.  The last time I visited this mesa it was after Labor day and it sleeted and threatened to snow...so this is my first summer visit.  The Grand Mesa is reported to be the largest flat top mountain in the WORLD!  It is over 500 square miles in area and about 11,000 in elevation!  Its such a beautiful place with over 300 lakes! I did not see all 300 but the ones I did see I enjoyed!

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 I'm not the only one who was out enjoying the day.  I cheered this young man on as he reeled in this gorgeous catch.  He did release it. 


the wildflowers were just amazing, not just in one place but everywhere up on the mesa!



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I took a hike down a trail 


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Saw this robin perched up high...and then down on the path came this fellow!! Do you know what it is?  I was not exactly sure...



it is a weasel, a Pine Marten!  He was so cool!! He stopped and studied me for a while, then he  turned calmly off into the vegetation.  What a cool encounter!  They actually live in trees! See those claws?

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After the hike I drove higher up the byway where more beautiful lakes were surrounded by wildflowers!  

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and beautiful mountain bluebirds hunting from rock perches...

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the Scenic Byway climbs up and up and there's so many pull overs to check out the scenery....and I took full advantage of them all!! The clouds did start to darken, but I was not going to let that deter me!

Lands End is a side road that is a Scenic Byway all of it's own...and you can see the end of the Mesa here..


and on this trip up this was my planned destination...Lands End. FS road 100.  It had come a quick shower but it was only spitting when I turned.  



I pulled over right away to check out this very pretty lake..



and saw some movement...a bird moving along the rocks and pumping his tail up and down...it took a while to actually get my camera on him....he was so quick...but finally I did....turned out to be #401 for me the American Pipit. 

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Exciting stuff!! Farther down the Lands End road, I came upon some still blooming columbine!

 


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Such a stunning plant! My next stop was at the Raber Cow Camp...back in the day these cabins were put to use when the wranglers and cowpoke brought stock up here for summer grazing..

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...what a beautiful place to spend the summer!!


Then it was time for a lunch break so I wanted to find the perfect spot for lunch with a view...


....this post is way too long so I'll stop Will try to get part 2 up quick because every day is a new adventure!!


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