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5 January 2020 Ruth Moorhead, Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Button Rock Preserve, Boulder County, Colorado

January 5 -- Six family members convened from Fort Collins, Longmont, and Highlands Ranch to hike a few hours
to the Button Rock Preserve and Ralph Price Reservoir outside of Lyons in Boulder County.


April -- We moved to the mountains!! It was a surprise to us, even; we had been looking at places around 8,000'
for a couple of years. One day in late February, we did so again, and then decided to go see another one
located higher up and farther west. Our offer on it was quickly accepted; we sold the house we lived in
after one weekend's showing, and six weeks later, over a week's time, we moved our household [all but one drawer
full of favorite, daily-use utensils] and our several vehicles to a smaller house at almost 9,700'
amid ponderosa pines, Douglas-firs, aspens, and wide, grassy mountain meadows.


May -- The camera goes on walkabouts with us, not every day, but often enough to catch suggestions
of the season's progression. Less snow on the mountains, more leaves on the aspens and shrubs.
You can't see the birds, but they are here, too; I hear a new species almost every time we're out.


May 21 -- A trip to a nearby National Monument to add to my National Parks gallery brought us the l-o-n-g way around the edge.


May 24 -- A stay-at-home day (it snowed), so I took a few images from inside, looking out. We enjoy our views!


May 26 -- We walked a route we hadn't done before, although I had wanted to from arrival here, going up the hill
that forms our dining-table view. This takes us across another meadow and into the Pike San Isabel National Forest
through a wide swath of aspens that we have come to regard as 'our aspens,' and into a north-slope mixed conifer forest.


June -- We continued to walk in our vicinity, 1 to 4 miles each time out.


June 17 -- As an excuse to go back to the grocery store after forgetting essential items on Tuesday,
we spent Wednesday going to Cottonwood Pass, an hour or so beyond it. Flowers were everywhere,
and snowmelt streams were sometimes our actual paths for this delightful foray.


July 1,2 -- A campout with relatives in Eleven Mile Canyon Recreation Area, Lake George, Park County, Colorado.


July 4 -- A neighborhood walk cut short by a thunderstorm, hail, and rain
showed us that the sego lilies and scarlet gilias are in bloom here.


July 8 -- We escaped to the neighboring county to explore new territory,
hiking down to Rough and Tumbling Creek and crossing into the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness.


July 21 -- Farther away and higher up, with FAR more people; Mayflower Gulch is easily reached by
Denverites seeking more reasonable temperatures. It also has a trail that was once a road,
so it's wide enough for safe-and-healthy distancing.


July 23 -- A trip toward Buffalo Peaks had us hiking through thunder, rain, and hail to cross
the North Fork of Salt Creek at the edge of the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness.


July 27 -- Back to our own neighborhood forest, our thousand-acre backyard.


July 29 -- Again approaching Buffalo Peaks and this time entering the Wilderness,
via Rich Creek, and departing via the South Fork of the South Platte River.


August 3 -- Best capture yet of "our" deer, whom we call Rosie the Recliner;
she comes at random and lies down for an hour or so (it's her cud-chewing time)
near our house, sometimes up against the garage wall outside our dining area.
Today's visit was in a better place for me to get a photo.


August 4 -- We tried to reach our town via the east end of a 4-wheel drive road called 7-mile Road,
but were stopped by a short, slippery incline a couple of miles in. This time, I had the camera with me,
so I got to take some photos. The previous try, a day or two earlier, in the other direction and without the camera,
had also been unsuccessful for the same reason; my VW just isn't a 4-wheeler anymore.
But we will need to return to that earlier approach because there are some spectacular rocky views.


August 11 -- A return to Cottonwood Pass, just a hop and skip away from home now.
We went past the summit to a little-used trailhead called Timberline Overlook,
and enjoyed a summer afternoon hiking up a ridge above 12,000 feet.


August 13 -- We drove up another 'mystery road' between us and town, County Road 305
(which returns to the highway via CR 315) finding another lovely rocky canyon
and the road that was built on the railway that had been the Midland Colorado's path;
now it is used by cyclists and hikers.


August 15 -- An image of the "cage" around our rhubarb plant to keep it away
from the rabbits and deer; it was built from the 2x2 pieces that used to surround the deck on our former house.


August 25 -- After a week of thickly smoky air from wildfires in California,
we escaped again toward Cottonwood Pass, but hiked in a spruce forest well below the summit.


August 26, 27 -- When our driveway was graveled a couple of weeks ago, it was with crushed concrete
that had, unknown to (or at least not admitted to by) anyone, a surprising quantity of sharp metal hardware still in it.
This is supposed to be removed with magnets in the process that produces it, but um, wasn't.
We began finding it the same day it was laid down, collecting a third of a 5-gallon bucket of it,
and have continued to find it as the weeks have gone by and our three vehicles have rolled over it.
These two days' catch was with a set of magnets swung pendulum-fashion in an orphan sock, the most effective method I have tried so far.
We have alerted both the contractor and the gravel supplier.


31 August -- We took the RV to the repair shop, so while I waited there for its arrival, I took photos of the clouds.
Unfortunately, the image sensor in my Canon is filthy [I gather that's a well-known problem with the Rebel], and I didn't have my Fuji or Panasonic.


September 6 -- We walked up into "our" aspens to catch the start of autumn.


September 8, 9 -- A taste of winter, in the form of several inches of snow, blanketed the region.


September 12-15 -- A camping trip to visit relatives long unseen gave me images of two new National Park Service units,
Colorado National Monument and Curecanti National Recreation Area. We also visited the North Rim of
Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, to add new photos to that gallery.


September 21 -- My Panasonic Lumix is now my active camera, as I've given up using my Canon until we can find a way
to have the image sensor cleaned...again, and more lastingly. Today's adventure was back into 'our' aspens in our next-door national forest.


September 22 -- After a routine trip to the recycling center, post office, hardware store, and grocery store,
and another stop at the gravel purveyor's office, we went back to the west approach to 7-mile Road
for some awesome rocky photos, picked up some fall color in Castle Rocks Gulch, and returned home via Mushroom Gulch.


September 24 -- My newest camera arrived today--a Samsung Galaxy A20 phone! The photos, though, are from my Lumix
on my morning walk, just to keep catching the local color while we have it and before it turns off for the next 7 months!
It will take me a while to learn how to do this flat camera thing, so I haven't begun carrying it yet.
Also, it doesn't have all the edit capabilities I need. [Later note: The Samsung is now awaiting return instructions.]


September 25 and 26 -- A few from my morning neighborhood walks.


September 27 -- I finally agreed to follow Randy up the mountain behind our house; it ended up being 1,000' of elevation gain.
The reward was not powerful outward views (because of trees); it was a rock cliff maybe as much as a half-mile long
if we counted all its separated pieces. The cliff was home to a species of wood rat (packrat is another name)
that builds (or built, long ago?) voluminous stick-piles in sheltered places (none of the "trinkets" so well-known
from packrat reports, were visible anywhere) and establishes latrines that appeared to us to have been used for centuries.
Research since then has confirmed that very long-used latrine accumulations are known to 'amberize'
(it's called amberat at that point), and internet images look just like what we saw.


September 28 -- We needed to return to a rocky knoll at the edge of the pasture that we first visited May 17,
before the cows came and before I had the stamina at this elevation to trudge to the top.
The autumn aspen-painted views were splendid, the walk exhilarating...and I had forgotten the data card for my camera.
Randy insisted I use his Nikon, but I couldn't get it to work consistently, so I put it away after just a few images.


September 30 -- We revisited Independence Pass, last seen June 17, to try to go farther on the Lost Man trail than we had before...
and were stopped this time by road work just past the summit. We probably could have walked past the gate
and down to the trailhead at the next turn in the road, but instead we hiked upward along the Continental Divide Trail for an hour
(Randy went longer and farther, for the 360 views).


October 4 -- Packing a lunch this time, we walked up and away from our back fence into the forest to enjoy the aspens.
One image we'll have to just remember, as we didn't get it recorded, was the yellow aspen leaves fluttering down
in response to a little flurry, moving toward us from about 50 feet away.


October 5 -- After grocery shopping, I requested another trip up County Roads 315 and 305 to see what autumn was doing
up there in the hills...Good choice!! And then we crossed the highway to revisit Castle Rock Gulch, too.


October 7 -- My 'little walk' this morning went into the National Forest via the road leading to Mushroom Gulch
and back over our stile; just a pleasant little circle. Then in the afternoon, I returned, circling in the other direction,
with a helper; I needed to show the size of what I believe is a badger hole.


October 8 -- Neighborhood glimpses during my 'little walk'


October 9 -- He asked if I'd like to go anywhere before returning home from grocery shopping, and I remembered that
we had wanted to explore the North Cottonwood Creek road west of town. Off we went for a fine adventure,
stopping at a local wildlife area first, and stepping out briefly (we weren't dressed or shod for hiking)
onto the Colorado Trail and the North Cottonwood Creek Trail.


October 10 -- Wanting to take advantage of the last autumn color in our roaming area, we headed up the hill to 'our aspens' once again.


October 11 -- A freaky little snowstorm came through, mid-afternoon, dropping white blankets on places around us
measuring 10,000' or more and giving us a suggestion of dampness for a little while; we hopped into the car
after the sun came out to see what we could see.


October 12 -- We figured a trip to the RV repair shop was worth a side adventure; today's was up the east side of Weston Pass;
the howling wind was icy so I stayed in the car and sewed while Randy scampered up the flank of Weston Peak.


October 13 -- Our after-grocery experience today was to search out the confluence of North Cottonwood Creek and the Arkansas River.
We came near it, but will need another trip to attempt to actually see it, from across the river; we don't know yet if there is an accessible trail at the right place.


October 16 -- Randy learned of it from one of his maps, and pointed it out on our way home from Denver yesterday,
so today we visited High Creek Fen...it's late enough in the season that we encountered no mosquitoes or deer flies,
and we saw ample to make us want to return in another season. Lots of wetland-only plant species, and a pair of mountain bluebirds.


October 17 -- Back to Brown's Canyon National Monument...after all, if you have a Monument just on your way home from grocery shopping,
by all means, go there. We climbed a creek bed and were thoroughly well rewarded.


October 20 -- Going into Castle Rocks Gulch from the top end in order to reach Mushroom Gulch, I had Randy stop
so I could get an image of the rock outcrop just across the highway; I'd never been able to stop for it before
because the highway begins narrowing and turning there and has no place to pull over.
And, once we were in the Gulch, I took one pic of the beaver pond too.


October 21 -- Back up the mountain with a neighbor friend to show him the wood rat nests and amberat accumulations (see Sept. 27);
he was suitably impressed. I got better pictures of it this time.


October 22 -- Another combing of our driveway gravel with a 7-pound magnet borrowed from that same neighbor brought up
another accumulation of sharp metal pieces. We're annoyed. BUT: I finished the task the next day, finding more, yes.
And the gravel company's owner came up to discuss the situation after getting one of my somewhat irate email messages
[with the WRONG photo, darn it all], so maybe something useful will be happening...and I won't have to do it?
But we're not holding our breath. [And as of the end of December, still nothing.]


October 24 -- A short walk in the howling wind, and I got a glimpse of our becoming-winter surroundings.


October 25 -- Another, even shorter, excursion, and another glimpse.


October 26 -- Repeats of what I took on the 24th, only now the terrain is all blanketed and sparkly. And it's even colder, although less windy.


October 27 -- Today's photo was from inside, looking out at the waning sunset light on 'our' mountain.


October 29 -- An early afternoon walk in Kaufman Pastures, seeing how the snow made lines and patterns.


November 4 -- A delightful revisit of Great Sand Dunes National Monument and Preserve. This was nicer than our first trip,
because Medano Creek wasn't coursing between us and the dunes, and we could easily access as much as we wished to of the sand.
Oh, and it wasn't raining or windy. We went separate ways (he wanted to climb to the top, but opted to favor a twisted ankle
and just went to a low-level peak); I wanted to just see whatever I could at my pace and in my time. Fabulous results...thank you, God!


November 6 -- Looking out our north windows again at the sunset light.


November 11 -- We forgot it was Veterans' Day and the Post Office would be closed, so we found ourselves footloose in town;
we walked part of one of the trails along the west bank of the Arkansas River.


November 13 -- Intending to drive a road that runs in the rocky hills between Brown's Canyon National Monument
and Castle Rock Gulch, we had to back down and turn around before we had gone even a half mile.
So we hiked up an unmarked side canyon by a fishing access parking lot outside of the Monument instead.


November 15 -- I slowed our neighborhood walk by taking pictures.


November 18 -- The triceratops in our back yard finally caught my eye as I searched for pine needles.


November 19 -- Instead of crossing the ridge that flanks our back fence, I walked the length of it, discovering dead aspens at the top
and enjoying the views across our neighborhood.


November 21 -- Another walk in the neighborhood.


December 4 -- Coming back from another walk in the neighborhood, I let my eye roam about our own property.


December 16 -- Yet another neighborhood walk, this one took us across the lengthwise axis road and onto the next-lower ridge.
It had snowed the day before; I put these two images into my 'Winter' gallery even though it's not precisely winter yet.


December 29 -- We stayed in to enjoy the new snow; these three photos are through the den windows.

Canon EOS Rebel T5i ,Tamron 18 - 200 mm

other sizes: small medium original auto
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