Summer of Hikes- Pawnee Buttes 5/18/2014

I’ve made it my goal to go hiking every weekend this summer. I’ll post photos from my hikes on here so you can enjoy them!

On the 18th, I geared up in my beat up old hiking boots and drove an hour-ish northeast of Greeley to hike around the Pawnee Buttes. Last time I was up in the Pawnee Grasslands was with my Brothers for our Spring Retreat, and it SNOWED on us. SNOWED in APRIL. Our sponsor came with us, and kept making fun of my pup tent, saying it would fall over. What up, it did not.

Anyway, that’s a completely different story. Luckily it did not snow on me the second time I went out there. When I finally reached the trailhead, there were no other cars there (around 9 am). The first thing I saw, though, were the cows.

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Once they saw me, they moved quickly away, and I continued on with my life. That’s when I came up the small hill and looked out into the distance.

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Talk about BEAUTIFUL. It took my breath away. I admired the view for a few minutes, then began my way down the hill.

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After I got down the initial hill, I was in what looked like a dry riverbed, twisting and turning around and around.

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172 rdhI did enjoy turning around a lot to look at Lips Bluff.

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Oh no- the way is blocked! I figured that rain had washed all of the tumbleweed into a corner. I carefully picked my way around them, and was a little nervous that I might run across a rattle snake. Luckily, I did not.

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Some flowers around the trail.

 

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The only “animals” I saw on the trail itself was this moth and some animal bones.

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While my goal had been to make it to the West Butte, I realized that I was getting tired and should turn back (darn it for being out of shape). I made it back to the trailhead, and after studying the map, realized I was actually relatively close to my goal. Double darn it!

After studying the map, I figured that I made it as far as the second “t” in the Buttes, where it’s labelled on the map. Oh well. I guess that means I have to come back, right?

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On my way out I stopped for a view of the prairie. Those Western Skies, man.

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Also, I ran into these guys! My first real animals of the day!

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Month of Nature #12- “A Doe and her Fawns”

nature12This wasn’t in Custer State Park, but a few miles away from the border near our campground. They were standing only a few hundred feet from the road. The fawns, of course, were not concerned, but the mother was QUITE concerned. She kept tucking them behind her and trying to get them to go back into the trees, but they were more preoccupied with eating. So precious. 🙂

 

Month of Nature #11- “Bison”

nature11Ah. Look at all of the beautiful bison! Custer State Park has a herd of 1,300 in the park, if I remember right, and when my parents and I were driving through we ran into a lot of them. I envy the days before the bison were hunted down- and as far as you could see, there they were.

Month of Nature #9- “Antelope”

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This past weekend, my parents and I took a trip up to Custer, South Dakota. While driving through the National Park, we saw many, many animals! I took a lot of photos. And since I recently figured out how to do panorama photos, I took a bunch for those. Either way, antelope! That’s this photo! That’s all.

Month of Nature #1- “Elk in Velvet”

nature1The other day, Taylor and I went on a hike up in the Rocky Mountains. Not 50 feet from our trail head destination, we saw this guy clomping along the side of the road. He was beautiful! We watched him and his smaller companion for a while. So majestic and beautiful. And they were so close to us! You know an animal is close when I have my telephoto lens on, and have to back up to get him in the shot!

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Walking on the road

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Month of Memories #4- “Squirrel Feeding”

5-3Last summer when I worked on grounds crew, I worked on flower crew for a few weeks. This is part of a patio behind the visitor’s center. Every day when we would go to water the flowers back there, I would place sunflower seeds here on the railing in an effort to train the squirrel in this tree to eat them.

It didn’t work.

A Different Perspective #2- “Ice Birds”

3-2Last night, I went over to Aubrey’s and we worked on homework together. Eventually, she completed hers and went to bed, and I stayed at her kitchen table working on a project while her cat Monkey intermittently watched me, slept, or tried to get me to play with him. Around 4:30 a.m., I finished my project and went to the spare bedroom and tossed and turned a bit. I slept for about an hour, then very abruptly woke up around 6:30 a.m. I decided that the time had come for me to go back to my own apartment, so I ventured down to my car. I sat freezing waiting for the car to warm up and for my newly repaired defroster to kick in. The sun was starting to come up, so I pulled my car forward about a foot so the frost on my windshield would melt a bit. And then I saw it.

On my window, there were thousands of ice specks, frozen in a dance that would soon be lost forever, and could never be replicated in the exact same way again. They looked to me to be like birds, with small, delicate wings, flying into the rising sun. I sat, awed, for a few minutes, and realized that this was the sort of thing that I needed to share. Not having my camera on me, I sped back home and snatched my camera up. By this point the sun was rising more, and the beautiful, pure, cold light of the early morning was fading away into the harsh light of day which would melt my ice birds. Luckily for me, I still managed to snap a few photos of them.

I found today the simple joy of my craft again- finding beauty in things that normally are passed over by more “important” things, or passed off as a nuisance, such as scraping ice off of a windshield.

 

Hey everyone!

So, I haven’t been doing my photos too well, I know. Usual song and dance.

Either way, I have sad news that I haven’t shared yet- my beloved turtle Tordy passed away the beginning of January. Of course, I was very sad, as she is the pet that I’ve had for the very longest.

Today, I was surfing the interwebs and was on one of my favorite picture-sharing sites, damnLOL.com. And I happened across a picture of grumpy old turtles….. and a picture of my Tordy is on there!

tordyIt made me laugh so hard and remember fondly little Tordy.

Linked is the original post if you want to see other grumpy turtles.

Happy February!

Rachel

 

Broken Building #5

1-5Just up the road from the so-called “meth house” (please read my post about it before assuming anything!), there is a much darker house. I drive by it occasionally en route from Fort Collins to Greeley and vice versa. It is nestled back in a thicket of trees and is shadowy and foreboding. The word “sinister” continues to pop into my mind, probably because I just watched Pet Semetary the other night and this house now reminds me of it a little bit. (Note to all of you- if you have never seen that movie, don’t watch it at 1 a.m. by yourself.) Anyway, I was sitting in my car looking at it, when all of a sudden- deer! Wary of me, they ventured to the back of the house. Meanwhile I, wary of the Stephen King death trap house, wandered to the back, keeping at least thirty yards distance between myself and the house.

1-5-1Back view of the Stephen King death trap house.

Anyway, I started having so much fun taking photos of the deer. I think there was five; four does and a buck who all watched me cautiously. It was nice having them there though, because I’d like to think that deer don’t normally hang out around haunted houses.

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1-5-2Yeah. You don’t have to tell me that twice. Eventually I got a bit paranoid enough to leave, so I bid farewell to my deer friends and departed.

Oh! There’s a “For Sale” sign out front. Anyone interested? 😛