Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Moments in Time: Photos Of The Week

Moments in Time: Photos Of The Week: You can click on the pictures for a larger view. Click it again for a really big view . One more Mt Lion shot and a black and white macro shot of a blue flax blossom

Monday, October 10, 2011

Rockin in the Rockies

Got out to see a friend's band play at one of the local watering holes last Friday night.  Sleepy Dave played at Silver Tongued Devil, in Green Mt. Falls debuting his new Marshall West Band. The bar recently did a major renovation to the stage area, adding sound dampening panels to the ceiling, a new house PA system and some nice LED stage lighting.
It's been a long time since I photographed live bands and this was my first time doing it with a quality digital camera (Nikon D7000). Digital is great. You get to dial in the exposure by previewing sample shots instead of depending on luck and prior experience then waiting to see what the film looks like when it comes back from the lab. Man I wish they had these things 30 years ago.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Moments in Time: Photos Of The Week

Moments in Time: Photos Of The Week: You can click on the pictures for a larger view. Click it again for a really big view . Mt. Lion Mam...

Friday, September 16, 2011

Moments in Time: Photos Of The Week

Moments in Time: Photos Of The Week: You can click on the pictures for a larger view. Click it again for a really big view . Antelope Canyon...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Deer vs. Kitten Face Off Part Deux

So Little Gray has been polishing her stalking skills on the hordes of grasshoppers in the yard, and decided she is ready to tackle
bigger prey. First rule of a good stalk is, of course, "Stealth".

Rule number two, "Gain and hold the high ground."

Rule number three, "Intimidate your prey with the 'Stare of Death'".
Gotta work on that "Stare of Death" thing.
 Oh well, that was an epic fail. Back to grasshoppers.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Summer's Hummers

One of the most uplifting sights to see as winter slowly releases it's cold, hard grip on the high country is the arrival of the seasons first Hummingbirds. By contrast, when the little speedsters leave for warmer climates, a sense of the impending return of snow and cold fills me with reflection of what was accomplished during the short summer months and I start to make a mental list of what will be my goals for next summer.
This week I noticed the departure of the Rufous Hummers. These little demons of the Hummingbird clans is a ferocious defender of feeders and territory when they are here. They are the last to arrive and the first to leave every year. I didn't get any photos of the Rufus this year. Just another thing on the list for next year.

Soon the Broadtails will be gone too. I'll miss the little sparkling streaks of color and their signature tweeting flights.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Dawn Cracked Hard, Like A Pool Cue," Tom Waites

Yesterday my fishing buddy Eric called @ 5 am. “I’m headed up the pass if you still want to go fishing today.”
The night before I had a long jam session with some friends at a local venue and tossed back a few beers after the jam at the T-Bird bar in Florissant. ” Dazed from being shaken awake by the ringing phone, I replied in something resembling English, “I’ll be ready.”
Eric pulled into the driveway and knocked on the door. “Can I use your bathroom? I just had a bear stand up and look in my passenger window when I slowed down to go over that speed bump around the corner.”
While Eric took care of business I loaded my gear in the back of his truck and soon we were on our way, destination yet to be determined. “I heard the Tricos are heavy on the Dream Stream,” he said.
“OK, sounds good.”
After some small talk about 3wts and numbers fishing on small water, with big dry flies, we changed our minds and decided to hit Alma Wildlife Area and Tomahawk Wildlife Area to chase brookies, browns and rainbows.
Climbing Wilkerson Pass we stopped to try and get some photos of two of the biggest bull elk I’ve ever seen. Still in velvet these two bruisers were a beautiful sight to see in the faint light of dawn. As we got out of the truck and crossed the road the two looked at us and casually trotted away toward the tree line, heads back, antlers nearly scratching their rumps.
On the drive between Hartsel and Fairplay we saw small patches of golden leaves on selective aspens that grow in the shady areas on hillsides.
 “Fall is coming.”
“Yup, browns will be staging for the spawn soon.”
We arrived at AWA  shortly after sunrise. The sky was overcast, but not threatening. A light breeze was blowing and the morning temps were in the low 40’s.
“Smells like Fall.”
We geared up and headed off toward the maze of beaver ponds and channels that broke up the thick patches of willows and sedge grass. I tied on a size 16 Elk Hair Caddis and Eric a size 14 rubber legged stimulator, a deadly pattern of his own design.

Making our way through the willows, low and stealthy as possible we slogged through the boot sucking mud and got into position to make our first casts to rings of rippling water.
Eric, “Fish on.” 
Me, “It’s gonna be a good day.”

After catching and releasing innumerable numbers of wild brookies and browns we loaded up again and headed for Tomahawk, with a short stop at the Brown Burro in Fairplay for a little lunch.
We drove to the lower parking lot and headed up river fishing every fishy run, riffle and pool. I got into lots of rainbows, Eric was hooking up with browns. We walked and fished up river about a mile taking fish after fish, again on caddis and stimulator patterns.

We called it a day around 4:30 and recounted the days catch as we walked back down river to the truck.

“I love pitching large dry flies to eager fish on an August day in Colorado.”

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Moments in Time: Photos Of The Week

Moments in Time: Photos Of The Week: "You can click on the pictures for a larger view. Click it again for a really big view . Great Blue Heron, Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refug..."

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Deer vs. Kitten Face Off

There is this nice buck that has been visiting the yard lately. He met the yard cats this morning, giving the kittens a little practice in stalking prey. Stupid cats.

Little Big Cat goes for position, while Little Gray ponders a frontal attack from the cover of a wild rose bush.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The End is Near

This winter's record snow fall has resulted in an unusually long and high runoff even for some tail waters like the South Platte.. The South Platte is still experiencing extremely high flows, making fishing challenging for some and wading dangerous for all. The good news is the worst is over and flows are now past peak. Hopefully the high flows haven't been too much of an inconvenience. Good fishing everyone.
 Here are some charts showing the stream flows over the year for various locations on the South Platte.The red line represents this year's flow the blue line represents historical flows.

South Platte above Spinney, above 11 Mile Res, near Lake George, below Cheesman Res.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Moments in Time: Photos Of The Week

Moments in Time: Photos Of The Week: This week Moose in Velvet and Bristtlecone Pine and Rainbow "You can click on the pictures for a larger view. Click it again for a really big view . Bristlecone Pine and Rainbow ©2010-2011 Robert C..."

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Place of Ancient Men...and Monsters

On the rim of Picket Wire Canyon with the Purgatory River below
(Click on any picture for a larger version)
I’ve always been kind of a natural history buff on a casual level. Old things just seem to exude a mystery that I can’t resist. When I come across places that have ancient sites I have to stop and imagine what was going on when these old things were new.
The history of native people and early American pioneers has held a particular fascination for me, so when I found out about an area in southeast Colorado that is awash in history of men and monsters I had to go and explore it.
The place is Picket Wire Canyon, and it’s located southeast of La Junta, Colorado. Here in the canyon of the Purgatory River ancient foot prints of dinosaurs, Native American rock art and archeological sites of early Spanish and American pioneers are scattered about waiting for the curious to find and explore them. 
Stone rings can be found on some of the promontory rises
 that overlook the river
Here in the canyon some of the earliest people to inhabit the area were called the Apishipa Focus people. They were a hunter/gatherer people who lived here from around 1200 A.D. – 1350 A.D. Very little is known about  these ancient inhabitants but they left there mark on the land and rocks for eternity.

 These Apishipa people were replaced by tribes of Plains Indians beginning with the Apache, then Comanche and Cheyenne. Evidence has been found of occasional raids by  Kiowa, Arapaho, and Ute as well. All the tribes left there unique rock art to mark their presence.
During the period that the Plains Indians occupied the canyon, incursions by Spanish soldiers occurred. Artifacts, including armor, have been found in the side canyons and near the river

The road that follows the canyon up river was once a stage coach road. Passengers, passing cowboys and stage personal left their mark as well. From telegraph lines to stage stops and even carvings in the rock walls along the road there is testament to the passing of these early Americans.

The ruins of the Dolores Mission

 Early Spanish American settlers started a small community called Dolores about half way up the canyon. Little is left now except for an adobe ruin of the Dolores Mission and the grave stones in the yard of the mission.

 Undoubtedly the most intriguing and fascinating ancient wonder here are the long trackways left by Apatosaurus  and Allosaurus on the muddy shores of an ancient shallow lake. There are over thirteen hundred visible dinosaur tracks that make up about one hundred different trackways on the banks of the river. Apatosauus (the dinosaur formally known as Brontosaurus) was a huge herbivore, while the three toed carnivorous Allosaurus was a cousin to the infamous T-Rex. These tracks seem to show a dance of life and death that was routine for these two characters during the Jurassic Period. 

There are few places I know of where you can walk in the footsteps of so much natural history in such a relatively small area as Picket Wire Canyon. If you enjoy natural history and have an explorers streak, this is a place you can spend days on end discovering fantastic historical treasures.