Living – Places: Faves

The real adventure, he thought, is the flow of time; it's as much adventure as anyone could wish.
– Anne Tyler, The Accidental Tourist

Favorite photos – 3

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The marshy areas are full of brightly glowing Golden Glow Coneflowers, which are up to 5′ tall and are just beginning to form their seed heads. [ 21-655 ]

One still immature coneflower surrounded by more mature seed heads

Right alongside Cub lake, there isn't much vegetation coming back from the fire yet, so this cluster of Black-Tipped Senecio really lit up the hillside. [ 21-658 ]

A cluster of bright-yellow flowers with a matching bee

Dream Lake with Hallett Peak and Flattop Mountain beyond. [ 22-682 ]

A view across the lake with the jagged mountains beyond

Hiking up past Dream Lake, a steep trail leads up to one of my favorite views in Rocky Mountain National Park: the view up into Glacier Gorge with a glimpse of Mills Lake. [ 22-688 ]

Looking through pines at Glacier Gorge

When we reached Lake Haiyaha the forecasted storm had rolled over the Continental Divide bringing cold, gusting winds and light rain. Still, we enjoyed sitting on our favorite boulder that juts out into the lake. About 15 minutes after we began our hike back, the clouds pulled back again and we came across this beautiful view across the creek that flows out from Lake Haiyaha towards the basin the lake is nestled in. [ 22-689 ]

Water flowing slowly across a boulder-strewn valley with the mountains beyond

On the trail to Lake Helene, looking back at the mountains beyond Bear Lake. [ 22-694 ]

The mountains surrounding Bear Lake seen above a stand of aspens

One of my favorite views in Rocky Mountain National Park, conveying such a sense of what it's like to be high up, nearly at tree line. [ 22-698 ]

The trail winding across the scree field

Just north of Mills Lake, the outlet creates a picturesque little pond. [ 23-720 ]

View across a little pond with icicles flowing down the rock face on the other side

A beautiful sunny day lit up the freshly fallen snow in our neck of the woods today. We took a hike up the Picture Rock Trail, then turned around to look back south towards our neighborhood. Wow. [ 23-724 ]

The freshly covered foothills of our neighborhood

The Picture Rock trail winds up a valley where farming and rock quarries once thrived. I wonder who parked this implement after tilling a field and then never returned, leaving it to witness the passing of the seasons year after year. [ 23-726 ]

An old tiller rusting in a field

We hiked up the Nighthawk trail yesterday. The very beginning of the trail lies beneath Hatrock, a small mesa that is a sanctuary for eagles and other wildlife. It always looks so freshly beautiful to me.. [ 24-739 ]

Red stone mesa highlighted agains a bright blue sky

We took a walk along the South St. Vrain river this afternoon. It was early afternoon, but the sun was already low in the sky, causing dramatic lighting. I was testing out a new telephoto lens, so my attention was was drawn to things further away, such as this weathered cliff that is along the other side of the river. [ 24-741 ]

Last rays of winter sun on weathered cliffs along the South St. Vrain river

The low winter sun cast exquisitely long shadows. [ 24-758 ]

Three lone ponderosas on a ridge casting long shadows down the hillside

Just as we began our descent back towards the Gem Lake trailhead, there was a wonderful rock formation towering above us. It's easy to understand how Lumpy Ridge got its name. [ 25-798 ]

An interesting rock formation looking a bit like a turtle with a couple creatures riding on its back

Snow falls and melts
Birds come and go
Silence remains.
26-809 ]

A small rock cairn frosted with fresh snow

Delicate white blossoms
floating gently in the breeze.
Last week fashioned from snow,
tomorrow, too.
Today, a gift from an old apple tree.
Springtime in the Rocky Mountains.
26-816 ]

Apple blossoms open to the bright miday sun

I'm one of those fools who values nature's gold more than "real" gold. [ 26-818 ]

Birch catkins glowing golden in the late afternoon sun

We've been having a huge amount of rain this spring, more than I've seen before in the 25 or so years I've lived in this area. Our snow pack up higher in the mountains is well over 200% of normal, and it's still raining down here and snowing up there.

The upside of all this moisture is that our ponderosas are experiencing robust growth, which is wonderful because they went through a sudden and deep freeze early this past winter that left a lot of their older needles frostbitten and turning brown on the ends. It's great to see such a vigorous and beautiful recovery!

I'm also grateful that we got a few minutes of sunshine to enjoy this. We already had one big thunderstorm with a hard downpour and hail earlier today, and it's clouding over and thundering again right now. Crazy! [ 26-824 ]

A tight cluster of pollen cones with fresh needles emerging from the center

Pasque flower blooming earlier today near Little Horseshoe Park, Rocky Mountain National Park. Even with its dog-eared petals, what allure it must hold for nectar-seekers. [ 26-825 ]

Bright yellow stamen peeking through fine-haired pale violet petals

Emerald Lake (10,080 feet) lies in Tyndall Gorge at the foot of Hallett Peak, with Flattop Mountain (12,324 feet) to the right. There were lots of waterfalls flowing down from the last of the snowpack on the flanks of the two peaks, so the music in this little amphitheater was exceptional. [ 27-840 ]

Emerald Lake reflecting the flank of Hallet Peak

Earlier this week, we took a hike in our beloved Buttonrock Preserve, which re-opened just recently for the first time since the September 2013 flood. In places along the creek it is much changed from the raging flood waters that scoured the valley, but there is still so much beauty to be enjoyed. This view was early in the hike, just as the dawn sunshine was beginning to kiss the valley. [ 28-863 ]

Early morning creekside reflected in a still portion on the creek

Milkweed growing at the edge of a horse pasture along the South St Vrain Creek, basking in the late afternoon autumn sunshine. [ 28-876 ]

Exploded milkweed pod with the seed fibers backlit by late afternoon sunshine with cliffs in the background

Ice painting in irrigation ditch along the South St. Vrain Creek.
Mixed natural media, 2016. [ 29-894 ]

Ice patterns, including tiny, small, and larger trapped air bubbles

A couple days ago, the high was in the mid 70s F. We woke up this morning to a different fairy tale. I love living in the Rockies! [ 29-903 ]

Bench on hillside under snow-covered ponderosas

The glacial water flowing down Fall River is so clear that in places where it's flowing gently, you almost can't tell there is water above the colorful rocks. In other places where the water is falling gently, the play of shadows across the rocks is mesmerizing. [ 29-919 ]

Beautiful patterns of light and shadow at play on the rocks in the river bed

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