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Outdoors

  • Gentians bloom in the area as summer days come to end

    August days have been hot summer days, much like they are in the East, but the nights here are usually quite cool. Clear skies and our altitude bring us start-spangled nights, but often temperatures drop in the low 40s. August is a rich, full month, as near to being full summer as it gets in Colorado. But it also brings the first signs of fall.

  • Denver Mountain Parks stepping up enforcement of no-shooting rule

    Rangers are stepping up enforcement against recreational shooters on Denver Mountain Parks land near Squaw Pass Road.

    Nearby residents have complained that the Denver Mountain Parks conservation area has become more attractive to shooters in recent months. In response, Clear Creek sheriff’s deputies contacted the Denver Mountain Parks system for help, since they don’t typically enforce rules on city of Denver land.

  • A variety of avian life outside my window
  • Haying operation under way at Elk Meadow

    Elk Meadow Open Space is getting a trim — a contractor is mowing and baling the hay to help keep native plants growing strong, according to a Jeffco Open Space spokesperson.

    It’s the first time such an operation has been done in at least 15 years, said Alicia Doran, Jefferson County weed and pest management specialist. Open Space administrators previously held controlled burns to manage plant life on the meadow, Doran said.

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  • Gentians, bugling elk signal end of summer

    Reprinted from Aug. 3, 2011

    The full rich days of August bring the flowering of fringed gentians, the departure of some summer birds and gangly teenage elk enjoying their first taste of independence. The incredibly beautiful fringed gentians are the dominant wildflower in South Park in August.

  • Blue mist penstemons are abundant near Echo Lake

    Just a week ago, a dear friend of mine took me for an outing to Echo Lake. What a real treat it was for me to get out and see the blooms along the way and to have brunch at the Echo Lake Lodge.

    Wildflowers were in bloom along the road, especially the brilliant blue of the blue mist penstemon.

  • Black-headed grosbeak makes summer appearance

    I looked out at the bird feeder yesterday to see what might be there, getting a last meal just before dark. Much to my surprise, there was a colorful male black-headed grosbeak there, enjoying the black sunflower seeds. This is the 15th bird species I have seen from the windows here at Elk Run.

    Actually, this was the first black-headed grosbeak I have seen this year. I have them every year at my feeder at home, but I have already left there by the time they returned this year.

  • Forest Service: Closing areas to shooting is sound recreational management

    A plan to close a 400,000-acre zone of land in the foothills to recreational shooting would help the U.S. Forest Service manage the sport the way it does other recreation on public lands, according to an official.

  • A really cool hike around an alpine lake

    Heading up the mountain to Echo Lake Park, the temperature begins dropping and the scenery becomes magnificent. Sweeping views of snow-capped mountains come into view as you travel along Highway 103 from Bergen Park to your hiking destination around a natural alpine lake.