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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Bear Canyon

October 1st, 2014 · 2 Comments

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The Bear Canyon Trail is one of several trails surrounding the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The trailhead is less than three miles from my apartment in south Boulder, but I ​hadn’t hiked it ​before​ Dave Sutherland, a Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks naturalist,​ ​introduced me to it ​two years ago ​in​ the s​pring.

​Since that time, I’ve hiked this lovely trail alongside Bear Creek many times. But this is late summer, and it’s not birdy now between the spring and fall migrations.

Still, the weather was perfect for a hike. When I got to the trailhead about 6:30 a.m. the temperature was already in the 70s, the air was still, and hardly a cloud was in the sky.

The Bear Canyon Trail runs up the canyon just below my favorite building in Boulder, the Mesa Laboratory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, which sits atop Table Mesa at 5,950 feet. It’s one of very few buildings here in the Front Range above 5,750 feet because in 1959 Boulder approved the “Blue Line” amendment to our city charter restricting city water service to altitudes below that level to protect our mountains from development.

This building is exactly two miles due west of my apartment, from where I can see it 560 feet above where I live. Designed in the 1960s by I.M. Pei to look “as if it were carved out of the mountain​,​”​ ​it brought great acclaim to the ​Chinese-born American architect​, who is​ often called the master of modern architecture. ​

Pei, who is now 97 years old, says that his inspiration for the building came partly from ​”​the places I had seen with my mother when I was a little boy​, ​the mountaintop Buddhist retreats. There in the Colorado mountains, I tried to listen to the silence again​, ​just as my mother had taught me. The investigation of the place became a kind of religious experience for me.” Wanting the building to exist in harmony with its natural surroundings, Pei also drew inspiration from the cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park in southeast Colorado. ​

​Boulder's Best Building Sits High Above Bear Canyon​

Boulder's Best Building Sits High Above Bear Canyon

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At another draw about a half mile further up the trail I looked up in hopes of seeing some of the deer that I had often seen there. And there they were.

​Three Mule Deer Look Up

Three Mule Deer Look Up

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​On my return down the trail I stopped to study the late season flowers.

​This Chicory Is Old but Still Beautiful​

This Chicory Is Old but Still Beautiful

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​A Colorado Mountain Soldier Beetle Feeds on an Aster

A Colorado Mountain Soldier Beetle Feeds on an Aster

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​This is a Ladybird Beetle, Although I've Always Called it a Lady Bug

This is a Ladybird Beetle, Although I've Always Called it a Lady Bug

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​With the migrating birds are still far away, only the residents remained in Boulder Canyon.​ One of them came close to check me out and landed almost at my feet.

​This Spotted Towhee Looks Puzzled

This Spotted Towhee Looks Puzzled

Click on the picture above to enlarge

​I’m guessing that this bird has never seen a big lens before. Could it have thought that it had encountered the fabled cyclops?

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Posted in: Photography

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 MARGE Gledhill // Oct 29, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    BEAUTIFUL JOB WITH THE PICTURES–
    and article

  • 2 David Mendosa // Oct 29, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Dear Marge,

    Thank you.

    With metta,
    David

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