Butterflies and bees and other insects were everywhere on my hike today. I never saw or photographed so many. These other-worldly life-forms fascinate me, and I love to capture their strange beauty. They offered so many wonderful photo ops that for the first time I carried my camera in my hand, turned on and ready to go, almost all the way. As a result, I took 222 pictures, using both of my camera’s memory chips and batteries.
Even though I put on insect repellant before I started my hike, I didn’t need it. No bad biting bugs like mosquitoes were along this trail.
But near the end of the hike, I was quite literally minding my own business. I was taking a pee a way off the trail, and I must have infuriated a bad bee that lived there. It stung me. Fortunately the sting was on my arm and not my private parts, but it still hurts.
The trail I hiked, named after the civic activist and writer Anne U. White, is in the foothills just a few miles northwest of Boulder. It runs through the narrow Fourmile Creek Canyon. I hadn’t hiked this easy 3-mile roundtrip trail for a year, preferring to hike in the high country when I could.
But I couldn’t hike up in the mountains today for a couple of reasons. The roads through Rocky Mountain National Park that would take me to the Chapin Pass area where I want to go next have been closed since the storm blew through on Friday and Saturday. Can you believe a big snowstorm in the middle of August!
The second reason was that my morning started with an appointment at my dentist’s to have my teeth cleaned and to have two old fillings replaced. Those silver fillings, which contain mercury, did not meet closely enough together, so the deepest pocket in my gums formed there. Knowing how important it is to prevent inflammation, which most commonly starts in our mouths, I decided months ago take care of it.
Since my dentist is only a block from the camera store I prefer, I went there next. I told them to scan in the 100 35mm slides that I took in on Friday in TIFF rather than JPEG, as I originally requested. It will cost me $50 more, but it’s a lossless format.
While I was at the store I wandered over to the tripod display. The one that had caught my eye on Friday was only 1.2 pounds and $30. While it’s a bit heavier than the 1 pound $575 Gizmo Traveller tripod, I compromised and bought the less expensive one.
With my new tripod in my daypack, where I used to carry a second water bottle, and my new polarizing filter in my pocket, I was ready to hit the trail. But only after a lot of thought.
Normally, I like to get out at or close to first light. That’s the most beautiful light for photographs. Since I got a late start this morning, I figured that in the narrow Fourmile Creek Canyon at midday the lighting would be as good as it ever is. In fact, it was a glorious day — clear, sunny, warm but not hot, and no wind. Perfect for hiking and for photography.
I like the butterflies better than the bees, especially after the bee attack early this afternoon. I certainly didn’t mind it when one butterfly landed on my arm when I was taking a picture of two or three other butterflies on a flower:
Like me, most of the flowers are past their prime this late in the season in the foothills. But, also like me, some of them are nevertheless going strong. I used my new tripod for this shot:
Before I left this wild place, one of the butterflies let me get really close to it: