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

Caribou Ranch‏

January 30th, 2011 · No Comments

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Yesterday I went back to Caribou Ranch Open Space after trying on Thursday. I had gone there then with my friend Sharon, but as soon as she leaned over to put on her snowshoes, her back went out. She’s still not well, but I was able to try again.

Caribou Ranch is 20 miles west of Boulder at about 8,800 feet in the Rockies, and it has snow. I didn’t think that it had enough, however, for snowshoes, so instead I put on my new Microspikes for their first real test. As a replacement for my old YakTrax Pro they worked flawlessly on the ice that I encountered.

Unlike wearing snowshoes, the Microspikes couldn’t stop me from sinking deep into the snow whenever the crust broke under me. But the going was considerably faster and generally easier than it would have been with snowshoes.

For a January day in the mountains the weather was glorious. While the thermometer never topped 40°, I had full sun and only a light breeze almost all day.

I took advantage of the great weather to make the entire 4.5 mile lollipop loop. In past years I often stopped at the large meadow in the middle. Here the DeLonde Family homesteaded in the 1870s. I can see why.

The DeLonde Family Homestead

The DeLonde Family Homestead

Click on the picture above to enlarge

We have an ancestral memory, I think, of love for meadows, grasslands, and savannas. Richard Manning says it well in his book, Grassland:

Always I believe that the rush of freedom I feel on encountering an open vista of grasslands is racial memory of a time when our species learned to run among those first wide open spaces. Knowledge of nature brings a love of nature, and both were necessary adaptations for survival by primitive humans. We relied on a deep knowledge of our environment as much as we relied on our opposable thumb. Because humanity’s deepest memories were formed in grassland, this is where our deepest knowledge and love lie. To this day, we feel at home on a bluff overlooking a meadow. The preference for a room with a view is a grassland ape’s relief at being freed from the confines of the forest that hid her enemies.

Closeup of the DeLonde Barn

Closeup of the DeLonde Barn

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But my favorite shot yesterday was a simple view of nature. Here is nothing but the skeleton of a common mullein plant in the winter’s snow. I love it.

Common Mullein in Winter

Common Mullein in Winter

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