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

The Colorado Trail

June 3rd, 2015 · 1 Comment

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Sharon and I hiked the Colorado Trail yesterday. Of course, we didn’t hike all of it then. Nobody can, because it is almost 500 miles long, running from Denver to Durango.

But we hiked part of it. Actually, we hiked the first 3.1 miles. And back another 3.1 miles. That was enough for each of us. We were on the trail from 6 a.m. until noon, and by that time the weather had become hot and humid.

We hiked up from where the South Platte River debouches from Waterton Canyon into the plains. Walking within view and sound of the water almost the entire morning, we appreciated that we were near the headwaters of one of the world’s great rivers. It is in fact the fourth longest river in the world. To make that calculation you of course have to include the streams into which it flows: the Platte, then the Missouri, and finally the Mississippi. It runs for almost 4,000 miles, draining almost all of the center of our country.

Before coming to this place that neither of us had ever seen before we had read that this part of the Colorado Trail was famous for the chance it offers to see Rocky Mountain Sheep. As we walked up the trail through Waterton Canyon we kept scanning the ridges on both sides in the vain hope of seeing these big animals. Actually, because I know how rare the Rocky Mountain Sheep, are I wasn’t surprised that none were to be found.

But on the way back we spotted a ewe and her lamb hundreds of feet up at the very top of the canyon! They were standing on the skyline in what I think of as the classic view of Rocky Mountain Sheep. The lamb looked so small that it must be only a few days old. The ewe on the other hand looked a little worse for wear because this is the season that she sheds her coat.

The Classic View of Rocky Mountain Sheep

The Classic View of Rocky Mountain Sheep

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The sheep delighted us so much that we watched them for well over an hour. During that time we spotted several other families, including one across the river and up on the rocks of the canyon.

The Lamb Stopped Here, Apparently Reluctant to Jump

The Lamb Stopped Here, Apparently Reluctant to Jump

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Another one of the ewes wanted to cross from the rocks on the north side of the canyon to the south. The only way there was across the Colorado Trail just where we were standing and watching her.

Sharon and Another Wild Animal

Sharon and Another Wild Animal

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We went to Waterton Canyon mostly in hopes of seeing birds during the spring migration. We were not disappointed. Just a quarter of an hour after we arrived we spotted one of my favorites.

An American Goldfinch Sings

An American Goldfinch Sings

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I was even able to photograph one of my least favorite birds, the American Yellow Warbler. This is a stunningly beautiful bird, but it has frustrated my attempts to photograph it for so long. It usually hangs out partly or completely hidden inside trees and shrubs, and when it comes out into the open it flits around so fast that its image is hard to capture. But one of them sat in the open long enough to make me really happy.

‚ÄčAn American Yellow Warbler Is Nice to Me

An American Yellow Warbler Is Nice to Me

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Sharon and I made a great start on the Colorado Trail. And there’s a lot more to come.

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Posted in: Photography

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Gretchen // Jun 3, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Good job the sheep shed their wool because sheep shearers are scarce in the mountains. Some of my sheep also shed.