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Outdoors

  • Cattails and muskrats and long winter evenings

    (Reprinted from Nov. 23, 2007)

    The cattails are withered and brown, and ice has formed in the shallows. Evergreen Lake is about ready for its long winter sleep. Soon ice will cover the lake, snow will fall and the black-and-white world will appear rather desolate and lifeless. However, there will be more life there than most people realize.

  • Red crossbills may appear in foothills any month of the year

    Reprinted from Nov. 12, 2008

    On Wednesday, Nov. 5, our salubrious fall weather came to an abrupt end. Overnight, 12 to 15 inches of snow fell in the high mountains. We had only a skiff of snow here, and the day was bright and sunny, but a wicked wind out of the northwest brought our first really cold weather. Old King Boreas nearly blew us off the mountain.

  • Dark-eyed juncos bring color to fall bird feeders

    (Reprinted from Nov. 3, 2010)

    I am writing this on Sunday, Oct. 31. This has been a beautiful autumn Sunday with temperatures ranging from 60 this morning to the low 70s this afternoon.

    A light breeze is keeping it from being warmer, but the sky is at its best Colorado blue. I am still at Elk Run Assisted Living, disappointed that I need to stay a bit longer, but I now plan to be home with some of my family by Thanksgiving.

  • Witches and bats and bears — oh no!

    (Reprinted from Oct. 28, 2009)

    I am sorry to say that I made an error in my article of two weeks ago. In the article of Oct. 7, I wrote that grizzly bears “had been all but eliminated in the contiguous 48 states.” This is not true, and I apologize. I checked this information in the book “Bears of the World” by Lance Craighead, and assumed it to be up to date, for he is an authority on bears and it is a fairly recent publication.

  • There’s more to turtles than shell games

    (Reprinted from Oct. 21, 2009)

    A reader of this column recently phoned to ask me if there were any turtles in Evergreen Lake.

    Yes, indeed, I have seen turtles in Evergreen Lake. However, turtles are far more common in the rivers and ponds on the plains, mostly below 5,500 feet.

  • Bike path opens from Genesee to El Rancho

    While CDOT Executive Director Shailen Bhatt was in the midst of his speech, a cyclist zipped up the trail behind him to join his fellow bikers in the crowd. It was hard to blame the eager cyclist; after all, the trail he'd just biked had been almost 11 years in the making.

    The Colorado Department of Transportation and other organizations commemorated the official opening of the Interstate 70 bike path from the Genesee buffalo overlook to El Rancho on Sept. 28.

  • Evergreen Lake is too congested for ospreys to nest

    (Reprinted from Oct. 7, 2009)

    The first two days of fall brought quite a few migrating birds to Evergreen Lake. A cold front moving down out of Canada brought cold rain followed by the first snow. I am not ready for snow yet and hope we may still have some Indian summer weather.

    The strong cold front also brought a flurry of late migrants at the lake. On the first day of autumn, a large flock of 200 or more mallards was on the lake. They were certainly not the local yokels that nested here but a big flock of migrants.

  • The sound of elk bugling buffets the fall landscape

    (Reprinted from Sept. 7, 2006)

    Once more it is time for the “bugling” of the bull elk to flow down the mountains. This eerie, wailing sound is part of the rutting season and as much a part of the Rocky Mountain autumn as the turning of the aspen leaves.

    The first call reported to me this year was on Saturday, Aug. 26. A bit early but not too unusual. The calling will continue through September and dwindle in October, with still a few last calls heard in November.

  • New trails opened at Staunton State Park

    Hikers at Staunton State Park now have two new trails to explore after more than three years of planning, and both ultimately provide up-close of Elk Falls.

    Launched in mid-September with a ribbon cutting, the Chimney Rock and Elk Falls trails both begin about 5 miles from Staunton’s main parking lot, with the latter trail being an offshoot of the first. According to park manager Zach Taylor, both trails have been envisioned since the 1990s but were not formalized until 2010.

  • Volunteer poop patrol cleans up popular off-leash area

    Volunteers cleaned up 430 pounds of dog waste at the Elk Meadow off-leash park on Saturday as part of Jeffco Open Space’s National Public Lands Day event.

    The park, which Open Space employees said is “being loved to death,” has seen a lot of traffic in recent months, with many visitors not monitoring where their dogs go or what they do — or doo — while off-leash.