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

Cache la Poudre Corridor

October 5th, 2014 · No Comments

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The best route from Boulder to the Pawnee National Grassland passes through Fort Collins at about the midway point. So Sharon and I stopped there last week en route to a three day trip onto the high plains of northeastern Colorado.

We picked the Cache la Poudre River Corridor Natural Areas as the first places to explore. Just 6 miles east of downtown Fort Collins, where about 150,000 people live, these natural areas attract wildlife to the many ponds and the river. The Cache la Poudre, which means “hide the powder” in French, flows through Fort Collins into the South Platte River out onto the prairie. Its name refers to an incident in the 1820s when French trappers, caught by a snowstorm, were forced to bury some of their gunpowder along the banks of the river.

We started at the Running Deer Natural Area, but in spite of its attractive name, quickly decided to move on to areas with more trees. Prospect Ponds had the trees and the birds.

A Prospect Pond Reflects an American White Pelican

A Prospect Pond Reflects an American White Pelican

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​A Pelican Spreads its Wings

A Pelican Spreads its Wings

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​Two Pelicans and Their Reflections Back to Back

Two Pelicans and Their Reflections Back to Back

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We then walked about half a mile to Colorado State University’s Environmental Learning Center to hike the Wilcox Trail around the Cottonwood Loop. This scenic trail meanders for about 1.2 miles along the river through grasslands, short grass prairie, wetlands, and forests of cottonwoods. I photographed insects.

We saw many caterpillars here and nowhere else. They all had the same coloration although a few were about half the size of most. Babies?

​This Caterpillar Waited for Me to Lie Down Next to It

This Caterpillar Waited for Me to Lie Down Next to It

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​Some Caterpillars Grow Up to Become Monarch Butterflies

Some Caterpillars Grow Up to Become Monarch Butterflies

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Next, we moved on to nearby Riverbend Ponds where this Great Blue Heron was fishing close to the causeway that we were walking across.

​This Heron Uses Its Wings to Get Out of Deep Water

This Heron Uses Its Wings to Get Out of Deep Water

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By this time it was about 1 p.m. and 90 degrees. So we retreated to the shade of some cottonwood trees at the edge of this pond. There we found a log to sit on and water to view as we ate our picnic lunch in nature.

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