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

Ceran St. Vrain Trail

July 4th, 2012 · 5 Comments

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St. Vrain is an important name in Colorado and New Mexico history. Ceran St. Vrain was no saint, but he was both a gentleman and a pioneer fur trapper and trader, frontiersman, businessman, and soldier. He and his partner William Bent built Bent’s Fort on the eastern Colorado plains along the Santa Fe Trail. The only privately owned fortification in the West, Bent’s Fort was one of the most important trading centers with Native Americans as well as a rendezvous point for fur trappers.

On Tuesday my friend Sharon and I hiked the Ceran St. Vrain trail along South St. Vrain Creek to Miller Rock, about a seven-mile roundtrip. Hiking between 8,000 and 9,000 feet, we had cooler weather than Boulder was experiencing. When I last made this hike four years ago, Longs Peak, the highest summit on Northern Colorado at 14,259 feet, was covered in snow. This time we climbed part way to the top of the rock from where we could see the summit, which is snow-free this summer.

Usually Covered with Snow, Longs Peak is Naked This Summer

Usually Covered with Snow, Longs Peak is Naked This Summer

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But the best part of this hike is the first two miles where the trail parallels the creek that flows from Lake Isabelle, where Sharon and I had hiked two days earlier. The creek flows on into the South Platte River, where St. Vrain and Bent built Fort St. Vrain in 1837.

As we hiked the trail that follows the creek, Sharon and I saw some beautiful butterflies that had seen the tasty flowers there. The butterflies came in at least three colors.

This Fritillary was the Most Prevalent Butterfly

This Fritillary was the Most Prevalent Butterfly

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We Saw Several of these Green Sulphurs

We Saw Several of these Green Sulphurs

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I Wish I Could Identify This Uncommon Butterfly

A Weidemeyer's Admiral (thanks to Lynne Whaley for the identification)

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This squirrel and this chipmunk were the biggest mammals we saw.

A Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel

A Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel

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A Colorado Chipmunk

A Colorado Chipmunk

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Many of the wildflowers we saw along the trail were feeding busy butterflies and bees. But when we passed this pretty blue, it was all alone except for some tiny bugs.

A Parry Harebell

A Parry Harebell

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This wildflower shares its beauty and makes itself attractive. That’s the nature of flowers.

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Posted in: Photography

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Lynne Whaley // Aug 1, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    David — I believe your mystery butterfly is a Weidermeyer’s Admiral (Limenitis weidemeyerii). Evidently there are a number of variations due to the ability to breed with a few similar species. I ran into one on a hike in an open space in Colorado Springs, got some not very good images on a point & shoot, and spent hours on line trying to figure out what it was. Look it up and see if you agree!

  • 2 Jo-Anne Lemaire // Aug 2, 2012 at 8:08 am

    Good morning, Dave. I was looking through my one book on butterflies this morning, trying to identify a butterfly in our yard. I thought at first that I had seen your mysterious butterfly there and could make a snap identification – but there are two very similar butterflies, with slightly differing colours but same general pattern.

    According to The Field Guide to Butterflies – based on The Butterfly Guide by WJ Holland – revised and updated: –
    on page 52 -a) common name of Crimson-patch
    b) common name of Bordered Patch, and a dark version of this is on page 76 – White Admiral (odd name for a butterfly whose wings are mostly black. I can’t find anything more specific, hope this helps to narrow your search. Jo-Anne

  • 3 Lynne Whaley // Aug 2, 2012 at 11:41 am

    I believe the beautiful mystery butterfly is Weidemeyer’s Admiral (Limenitis weidemeyerii) – we saw the same species in an open space in Colorado Springs about 2 years ago.

  • 4 David Mendosa // Aug 7, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Dear Lynne,

    Many thanks. I will check it out as soon as I get home.

    David

  • 5 David Mendosa // Aug 7, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Dear Jo-Anne,

    Many thanks. I will check it out as soon as I get home.

    David

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