Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Flower for the Day 8-28 Butterfly Weed

We are back from vacation to more 
prosaic activities like watering and weeding.
This wildflower is exciting to me because I 
have been unsuccessful in transplanting it 
from the wilds. It is butterfly weed and came
from seeds sent to me by my medical school
roommate Charlie Singleton.

It's orange color is quite striking. Now I have both iron 
weed and butterfly weed.

The garden is quite dry and the flowers  are on the 
wilted side.I missed the bloom of about thirty Surprise 
Lilies but the the empty stalks remind me that it happened.

USA Pro Challenge 8-24

On the day before our departure the USA Pro Challenge 
presented Stage Six of the seven day professional bicycle race. 
Starting in Loveland pro cyclists came up the canyon to Estes Park, 
went by Tom Hornbein's place on Devils Gulch road, 
through the town, around Mary's Lake road, back through town via St. Vrain road, 
down the canyon on US 34, finishing in Fort Collins. Here we are watching the breakaway group climbing the St. Vrain hill. 

The large breakaway group.

The peleton is about two and a half minutes behind.

The peleton whizzed by so fast it seemed that they were
going down hill.

I was clicking away and had to step back so I 
wouldn't be hit.

The end of the peleton.

Then came the stragglers.

Also enjoying the race right down from us was basketball 
great Bill Walton. The peleton caught up with the breakaway
group with three miles to go. Stage Six was won by 
Slovakian rider Paul Sagan in a very tight finish. The next
day the last stage was held in Denver. The entire race itself was 
won by Tejay van Garderen a cyclist from Fort Collins.
It was very exciting but all three Sessions boys were so busy 
snapping pics that we felt we missed 'seeing' the race. It was
great fun about 4 minutes from our cabin.

Mcgregor Falls Hike Illustrated 8-23

Lumpy Ridge trail

Black Canyon Trail

The road across the meadow from "The Pear" sign.

Trailhead just inside the park.

False falls.

Mcgregor Falls:  .8 miles from trailhead with 
450 foot gradual  elevation. My camera battery went 
dead as I tried to take more images of the falls.
Time of the hike: 7:30-11:30 AM

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ptarmigan 8-22 Addendum

          Addendum:  My bird expert in Estes Park indicates that these birds are
          in the grouse family  but are not a ptarmigans. Rather the photo shows
          a female Duskey grouse and chick (Dendragapus obscurus) which is in
          the same genus but has different coloring and markings. The duskey grouse
          is a forest dwellar native to the Rockies but does not have feathery legs.

Kathryn Mikesell Hornbein
1317 Devils Gulch Rd.
Estes Park, CO 80517
970-577-1832 (home)

Flower for the Day 8-28 Blazing Star

We are back in the heartland welcomed by 
some serious heat and humidity. Blazing Star 
which is liatrice  is a great transitional flower 
as it is in my wildflower garden now at home
and was plentiful along the trail to Mcgregor 
Falls last week in RMNP.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ptarmigan 8-22

Ptarmigan are in the grouse family and are commonly seen by the trails in 
RMNP. Photo by my nephew Rob Sessions. Ptarmigan undergo a seasonal 
plumage change, from spotted brown in the summer to white in the winter.
Its genus name, Lagopus (in Greek) refers to its feathered legs.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bears above the Dream Lake trail 8-21

This mother and cub were above the  Dream
Lake trail several weeks ago. Photo by my niece 
Kathy Sessions. The human/bear interface 
continues to be high drama in Estes Park and 
RMNP. Despite attempts to create a safe environment 
for both bears and humans unwanted results are 
occurring. Bears cannot be transported to new 
areas and one had to be put down last week. A 
fed bear is still a dead bear. 

It turns out that some black bears are not black.
Some are brown or cinnamon.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Flower for the Day 8-20 Mystery Miniature Follow Up -Fillaree Storkbill

           An Estes Park friend has identified this as Fillaree Storkbill,
           (Erodium cicutarium), with its red stem, fern like leaves,and its 5 lobed
           lavender flowers. It has striking little flowers.

Lawn Lake Trail 8-15

I took a lengthy hike on the Lawn Lake trail.

The trail follows the Roaring River which begins in Crystal Lake
and flows through Long Lake and ends in Fall River in Horseshoe Park
in RMNP. In 1982 the dam at Lawn Lake collapsed and water from
the Roaring River washed down debris creating an alluvial fan in the 
valley below and ultimately all the way into Estes Park.

On the way down I shared the trail with this young mule deer

Evening on Trail Ridge 8-19

Jan and I drove up Trail Ridge for the sunset and the
moonrise. The colors  and light shading were spectacular.
Here are Chapin, Chiquita and Yipsilon Mountains right
to left  from theAlpine Visitors Center. Jan thought this
large nearly empty parking lot would be a great place for
a Full Moon Party.
The full moon came into view as we came down.

Mushrooms Wild Basin 8-21

These mushrooms were growing by our 
picnic site bythe North St.Vrain Creek in 
Wild Basin last week. You can see how
large they are by the dime on the top surface.
Can anyone name them?

Flower for the Day 8-20 Mystery Miniature

These tiny flowers were by the trail. My 
local source thinks they might be 
in the Pink family. Any suggestions?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep 8-19

These Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep were seen 
from Trail Ridge Road in RMNP several weeks ago. 
Hunted to near extinction by the 1950's the herd 
now numbers over 350.Their primary home is in the 
Mummy Range in the northern part of the park.
Photos by Rob Sessions.

The rams and the ewes hang out separately. Last year
I saw a herd of ewes on top of Little Chapin.

Flower for the Day 8-19 Flower in a meadow of yellow

This is my flower in a meadow by the 
Storm Pass trail.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Room 8-15

The Other Side, Estes Park Colorado

Picnic in Wild Basin 8-21

We had a restful lunch by the North St. Vrain
Creek in Wild Basin. After lunch we found some
huge mushrooms and then walked up the Wild
Basin trail to  the Lower and then the Upper
Copeland Falls.

Bonus 8-15 Some more RMNP Small Mammals

Pica - just off Trail Ridge Road.  Photo by Rob Sessions. 
This small mammal in the Ochotomidie Family is also 
known as the "whistling hare" due to its high pitched alarm 
call. They live above timberline.

Marmot  Also in the ground squirrel family, genus 
Marmota. Marmots are highly social, live above 
timberline, and also have a loud whistle.

Flower for the Day 8-16 Harebells

Campanula rotundifolia. A bluebell in the bellflower
family. These wildflowers are growing in Wild Basin
along the North St. Vrain Creek. We have been so
busy with wild life we have shorted the flowers which
are plentiful this summer because of the extra rain.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Picnic in Endo Valley 8-14

We had a nice picnic in Endo Valley at the start of
the Fall River Road with Sharon Collins and Tom Eskin.