Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Ft Collins, CO (again)

Biking Town
On our second tour of Ft Collins, we've tried to see some areas we haven't seen before. We got on our bikes one day and did a circle through the city. Here's one of our favorite spots, this long pedestrian bridge crossing the river to Laporte.
At several water-crossings you can see this "High Water Marker" from the 1997 flood. These signs blow our minds considering that most rivers are running at a trickle in these late summer months.
Route 34
Another day, we headed out for a hike near Loveland but instead found ourselves driving back into Big Thompson Canyon (Route 34 from Estes Park). It was such a pretty drive, and we both felt that we couldn't enjoy the scenery the last time, so we said "what the heck" let's drive up "a ways". But then the wonderful happened...BIGHORNS! We knew there was a herd of them in here, but couldn't believe our luck to see about 20 of them...grazing next to the road! We were lucky that there was a pull-off right across the road from them, so we stopped and watched the herd move about. They didn't seem to flinch as cars sped by or semi-tractor trailers chugged past, but when a Harley thundered past them, my gosh they all ran for the hills. Even the little babies with their pointy stubs just jumped up these boulders as if their legs were spring-loaded. So, of course, I thought since it was our lucky day that we might find the other 100 bighorns around the next bend, I encouraged Andy to drive just a little bit further. Before we knew it, we were back in Estes Park.
At this point it was raining a little and storm clouds were capping the summits, but what a breath-taking view. We already forgot how stunning this area is with mountains seeming to surround the little town. On the way home we decided to take a slightly different route, via Rte 43 thru Glen Haven. What a great loop drive. So, we never got our hike in that day, but it was a great day anyway.
Devil's Backbone
Today we did the hike we intended to do yesterday. Devil's Backbone is an interesting geological formation that, in our minds, resembled the spikes on a dragon's back. This linear formation, in my estimation, is only 10-20' thick and seems very delicate with holes or windows spotting the stone allowing you a view to the west of the park. We did all three sets of loop trails within the park, totalling 7 miles. Each loop provided different scenery along the way, so eventhough we did this hike midday in some intense sun, it was worth it.
Miscellaneous Animal Shots
The wildlife in the flatlands hasn't been as dramatic as in the mountains. When hiking/biking in the urban areas, we've seen more birds, butterflies, and a bazillion grasshoppers...every step causes a flurry of grasshoppers, with little bodies bouncing off of you in their uncontrolled flights.
This large one is pretty in pink.
We only saw one of these red ones. It could be a Painted Grasshopper - I tried to look it up on the web - found What's That Bug website. It's a funny site for people like us who don't know one insect from another.

I took this picture of the butterfly because I thought his face was interesting - looks like a Mardi Gras mask on his face. When I blew it up on the computer I noticed the grasshopper for the first time. So what do you think...is the grasshopper coming in for a sneak attack? Or is it frisky?

Ok, so maybe there are some mammals around town...a young mule deer with his little spots and big ears.

So what if this guy isn't wild. I figured with a mug like this he deserves to be on my blog! Llamas are used more and more as pack animals out here. This one was seen at a Llama ranch. Their wool is also used to make yarn.


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