Whew! This has been a long week and it’s not even Wed yet! I’m having a hard time motivating myself to do much in the evenings beyond stare and half-heartedly attempt my lace shawl. I’m not sure why I’m so listless, but it’s nothing that a quick mountain romp through the Rockies won’t fix. So who’s ready for a hike? Today’s pictures come from Three Sisters park, which my mom and I discovered about 3-4 years ago. It’s a grand park, with a great mix of trails – easy or hard, short or long, meadow or mountain.. it’s got nearly everything. There’s only one trouble we’ve had with the park – we can never get in a full day of hiking here because inevitably it starts to rain. On this trip, the rain descended just as we were packing up lunch and thinking about heading out on another hike. We had watched the ominous clouds build up.. .
And then after a few raindrops, it was a torrential downpour! We waited it out in the car for an hour until it finally let up a bit. We seized our chance to get some trails in before the next deluge. One of the parks noted features is a large outcropping in the middle of a field. In fact, the park is full of unique rock formations and outcroppings that really make the scenery interesting and offer a thousand options for photography.
I love the mix of woods and boulders. The trails that I enjoy most in this park are the low-montane ponderosa pine forests. One year we saw Albert squirrels playing in this park (they are dark grey with enormous ear tufts) and I was nearly raptured with joy. I’ve never forgotten the experience or the spot on the trail. They didn’t come back this year, but there was plenty else to see. Seed pods attract my attention perpetually and rare is the one I don’t try to photograph.
These were stunning. I also amuse myself on such hikes by taking pictures of unusual angles of pine trees. Their limbs jut out in so many directions that it’s fun to capture them behind the lens. I always get a couple of shots from the inside of the tree looking out on the meadow below.
If we hiked together in person, you’d notice a propensity for dizziness as I’m always torn between looking up at the mountain views and down at what’s at my feet. Forest treasures abound in these woods and it’s thrilling to see what bits of nature you can find there. This park has cast off bits of ponderosa branches and stumps like you wouldn’t believe. They are all so lovely too – windblown into amazing swirly, gnarly shapes!
I do gather small pieces of them that can fit in the hiking bag or pockets. At home they decorate shelves or planters. This year I got braver and some larger pieces came home. I’ve had to put my foot down about absconding with the stumps… though it’s awfully hard. Some of those large stumps are amazing! Ferns linger in the shady bits of the forest where it’s slightly damp. There weren’t as many this year as in the past, but there were still enough to delight, especially when draped across lichen-crusted rocks.
And then another storm kicked up, it got cold and windy, and we hastily retreated back along the paths to the car, racing the storm as we went. Just a few raindrops later we were safely back in the car and headed down to Denver for a tasty dinner. One day we will spend all day at this park with ne’er a raindrop. I’m determined…
Until then, farewell beautiful outcroppings… I can’t wait to see you again!
Blessings to you,