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    Archive — trees

    Camping & Hiking up a Peak

    I went overnight camping away up a trail for the first time in several years.

    We climbed up a 12,432 foot peak. Most of the snow was gone, and the flowers were out. We camped in the bristlecone pine, limber pine  and spruce next to a huge willow swamp. Lots of mysterious granite pinnacles, towers, cliffs, and stacks of rocks. A friend called one a stack of pancakes and another a stack of poker chips. Some seemed precariously balanced. There were lots of the undulating, flutey, hermit thrush calls. I had a scary moment crossing a beaver pond. The water was up to my waist, and my flip flops were sticking in the mud. A friend led walking on the interwoven sticks of the dam itself. Luckily a friend led by example, getting a stick to lean on.  Another friend loaned me a second staff. Earlier we had crossed two creeks up higher where they were narrow and faster. Yellow umbel type anise flowers that taste like licorice, shooting stars, bistorts, avens, marsh marigolds, ravens, vultures, meadowlarks, and an elk. The Milky Way and the teapot constellation stood out. The crescent moon was next to Venus and Jupiter.

    When I slow down and am quiet, I notice spiderwebs,leaves, clouds, shadows, birds, dragonflies, ladybugs, froth recurving on the creeks, swaying treetops, and sounds of streams and birds.

    Here are safety considerations when stream crossing a fast or deep stream : undo your waist and chest straps, wear shoes to protect your feet (after taking off your socks to keep them dry), get a tall stick to lean on, face upstream and walk sideways, and put your gear in waterproof garbage bags. If there are two or more of you, make a line facing upstream where the front person leans on a staff, and the person behind put their hands on the waist of the person in front and pushes down on their hips, helping the person in front to keep their footing in a fast stream. The first person shields the behind person from the current. Snow- and glacier- fed streams may be higher in the afternoon after the snow melt.  Freedom of the Hills may have info on this.

    Posted on June 24, 2015

    Star Flowers

    Shooting Star Flowers

    Elk with velvet green antlers at 7000 ‘, shooting star flower by the creek (with its petals/sepals bent back, the neat red zigzag at its mouth, stamens poking out and down, waiting for the buzzing of a bee to release the pollen) , pasque flowers, larkspur, views from 8200 ‘ of the snowclad mountains along the continental divide ( Evans, Squaretop, Greys, the Arapahoes, Navajo, Apache, Toll, Audubon, Sawtooth, St. Vrain, Meadow, Elk’s Tooth, Copeland, Meeker, Long’s, Chiquita, Ypsilon, Fairchild, Hagues, Mummy). Also, the Pourdre running high with crème and froth amongst the haystacks.

    Posted on June 2, 2015

    Birds Return and Trees Flower

    In the last few days  swallows returned to nests  under the bridge on the bike path. A friend at Mammoth Mountain CA,  heard the long eerie call of  the common loon  and the drumming of a Williamson sapsucker on April 12th. A cousin in Chippewa Falls, WI heard a loon call 2 weeks ago, before it continued north. Plum, apple,  cherry, and lilacs all are blooming and spreading their sweet, full  aromas. Irises are abloom. Blackbirds  and meadow larks have been back for several weeks. But there was still good snow last week up by the continental divide for cross country skiing. Ospreys mate and nest by Longmont, Colorado.

    My grandfather, who lived by a lake in Wisconsin,  wrote  the dates on the wall when the ice would form in the fall and when it would break up in the spring.  In Wisconsin, we would listen in the spring when the whippoorwill called  as it stopped  in the wetland on its way  north.   Here in Boulder, I get excited when the poorwills return to the foothills.  Also, the crossbills are neat as they pass thru.

    Phenology is observing and recording the changes in nature. Birds and animals  migrate and mate, plants bloom There are groups you can share you observations with.

    Go here for info and links.
    Go here for bird monitoring.
    Go here for frog monitoring.
    Go here for insect monitoring.
    Go here to find birdwatchers.

    Posted on April 24, 2015