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

Mitchell Lake

October 17th, 2014 · No Comments

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Sharon and I didn’t expect to see birds when we hiked up to Mitchell Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness of the Rocky Mountains. We had just returned from the Pawnee National Grassland, which is famous for its birdlife. The mountains aren’t, and we had never seen any birds on the lake before.

But I’m an optimist, so I took my long and heavy lens on my camera anyway. I would have been awfully sorry if I had left it at home.

I had to get up before 5 a.m. in order to get to the Mitchell Lake Trailhead by sunrise. The day lived up to its prediction of full sun and no wind, but we didn’t quite expect it to be so cool. We had been having temperatures in the 80s in Boulder, and it was 39 degrees when we reached the trailhead. But it eventually warmed up to 62 degrees when we returned to my car.

The trail to the lake is easy, only 0.9 miles, but we stayed two hours there. That was a lot longer than either of us expected, but we had a good reason.

The lake was lovely in the early morning light.

Mt. Audubon, 13,223 Feet, Towers Over Mitchell Lake, 10,735 Feet

Mt. Audubon, 13,223 Feet, Towers Over Mitchell Lake, 10,735 Feet

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I saw a plant of my favorite color at my feet when I was photographing the lake. I don’t know its name, so I call it “Pretty Plant.” I was busy photographing it when Sharon called out to me.​

Pretty Plant and Mitchell Lake

Pretty Plant and Mitchell Lake

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She had spotted three Mergansers at the far end of Mitchell Lake.​

Three Migrating Mergansers on Mitchell Lake

Three Migrating Mergansers on Mitchell Lake

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We waited in hopes that they would come closer. Two hours later they did.​

The Chase Is On!

The Chase Is On!

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Success!

Success!

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That’s one big catch. And if you or I had caught that fish, we would have cooked it for half an hour or so and taken almost as much time to eat it. But this Merganser immediately swallowed it whole.

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