Gift #1013: Lair o’ the Bear Park

And now we come to my most beloved park, Lair o’ the Bear.  My mom and I spent 2 days here.  It’s the park we visited most frequently when we lived in Denver and it holds lots of memories for us.  Although one of the smaller parks in the area, it boasts a wide variety of habitats.  There’s trails that takes you up to rocky outcroppings in the mountains, down past meadow grasslands full of wildflowers in summer, and along the banks of a wild stream nestled in the roots of the mountains.  There’s lots to see here and I love observing how the ecosystems change depending on what trail you’re on.  This park has it all.  Here’s a brief photo tour of some of the highlights.

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I’ve no idea what this tree is – perhaps a locust of some sort?  It appears to be in the legume family.  If anyone knows, please tell me.  I’d love to know what to call this beauty.  After all my years living there and visiting, this is the second time I’ve seen them in bloom.  The first was last year – apparently they have a pretty quick bloom time.  We caught the tail end of it this time, but it was still really exciting to see them again.

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While on the meadow trail, I caught sight of this wild poppy.  Most of them had already bloomed, but this beauty was still in its prime.  I love poppies!

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I also love thistles!!  For the past couple of years, they’ve been my favorite wildflower.  Whether in spite of or because of their bristly nature, I’m just fascinated with their form and texture.  I especially like them when they’re just about to open and the stem and bud meld in a wild fusion of green and purple.

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Here’s the crest of the Bruin Bluff Trail, which takes you up from the parking lot through a steep rise up from grasslands to ponderosa pine forests.  Just when you wonder if you’re going to reach the top or not, you turn a curve and there’s the bluff!!  (It’s actually not a grueling hike at all, I’m just exaggerating).  We used to climb all over those rocks when I was a kid.  I think the formation has changed somewhat over the years, but it’s a great picture spot.  After that, there’s a slow descent down the sunny side of the mountain and into aspen groves, before you come out upon the creek again and finish up the loop to the parking lot.

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Here’s a shot of my beloved Bear Creek.  (I took many, many pictures of the river).  Oddly enough, this is the only park we hike in that has a river.  It’s lovely to hike along the banks and listen to the river’s voice.  It was loud and trilling this time as it was full from snow melt this spring.  Jubilant water droplets sprayed up from rocks and birds sweep across the river snatching up insects.

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We stop at an obliging rock to dangle our feet in the icy water after a long day of hiking and to do some knitting.  Here is where my skein of blue/green yarn was birthed into a shawl.  I wasn’t planning to bring this yarn with me, but it kept insisting it was meant to come to Denver and I think I agree.  It melts into the lichen-colored rocks most beautifully and will be a treasured project for that reason.

Blessings to you,

Sarah

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