A Day in the Rockies: Big Mammals

And I don’t mean people. We had phenomenal luck, helped by the fact that we were on the road early and spent a long day (12 hours) in the mountains. The first thing we saw were Big Horn Sheep, right by the road. I was on the wrong side of the car, but still got a decent look as well as a few pictures. (Thank you, zoom lens.)

Big horn sheep, right by the road
Another sheep, just up the hill from us

Later, as we were hiking into Long Lake, everyone we passed kept telling us to look for the moose. They were “just ahead”, “not that far” and “right on the trail”.  We had chosen the Long Lake hike because a gentle quarter-mile walk brings you to the lake and meadow surrounding it, with a great view of the stream and surrounding mountains. But our wild moose chase turned the walk into something more like a mile hike, which Mom and Dad found especially difficult because, as Dad noticed more than once, “They need more oxygen up here.”

He was really really really big. If it weren't for the drop off between us, he would have been too close, too.

Totally by chance, I got the best look at the moose, and possibly the best picture. The others were still coming up the trail when I was thinking “Man, is he BIG” and pushing the button. One of the other people who was nearby and taking pictures got a little too close, and the moose decided to move off. Fortunately, he headed down the trail towards my family, so that  they got to see him as he walked through a meadow and into the forest.

Disgusted moose heading into the woods

Having seen two of the big mammals of the mountains, Kurt and I wanted to score a third — elk. We see them all the time when we are in the Estes Park area, so we were hopeful. But despite staying later than planned and driving into more remote parts of Rocky Mountain National Park, the best we could do was a mule deer.

We didn't see her until we got out of the car...

At least she had the decency to be right in the parking lot where we couldn’t miss her.

Tomorrow: a little little wildlife.


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Kit Dunsmore

Kit Dunsmore has believed in the magic underlying the muggle world since she was a child searching for the Shetland pony pooka she was sure was hiding in her back yard. She learned early on that books were magic doors into other worlds, and that she could revisit a beloved character or place by opening the right book. As she grew, she decided she wanted to make magic with words, too. Today Kit writes about things she loves: poodles and dragons, witches and artists, quirky underdogs and loyal friends. Whether her setting is 6th-century England, the imaginary Twelve Kingdoms, or an art-obsessed version of modern America, magic always finds its way into her story. She enjoys turning fairy tales inside out and watching characters sacrifice everything to reach their goal, but she also believes in happy endings. When she isn't writing, Kit experiences magic by making things with her hands. Over the years, she's made quilts, fabric sculptures, collages, sweaters, and blank books. Her newest interest is learning how to spin her own yarn, a skill guaranteed to strengthen one of her many delusions: that she is a self-sufficient pioneer woman. She also thinks she is a hobbit, a witch, an artist, and a good cook. Living in the foothills of Colorado, Kit enjoys the giant skies and prairie landscapes which suit her need for wide open spaces. In addition to hiking through glorious scenery with her husband or imagining herself living in the Middle Ages, Kit works as a pillow for her miniature poodle and polishes the next small piece of her handmade life.

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