Giving Thanks

Today I’m giving thanks that I spent my day out in the wilderness instead of fighting Black Friday crowds 🙂 Cold but beautiful upon arrival at Eleven Mile Canyon, the cold and fog were bone chilling, the eagles absent and sunrise appeared non existent. It didn’t take long before my hands and feet

Sunrise in the Rockies

were so cold that I decided to give up on waiting for action by the river. Kevin would be arriving soon and I decided to just wait it out in the truck. I know, what a wimp right?

However the instant I turned around I spotted a peak, one that I have apparently never noticed before… This time it was enshrouded in fog and the morning sun was shining right on it. I’ve probably looked at it a million times, but I had never seen it glowing with such glory!

Red Tailed Hawk in Eleven Mile Reservoir

Kevin and I decided to hike over for a quick look at the other side of the dam where we saw a lone goose and some really cold icy looking water. We heard one lone bird on the west side of the canyon calling out from a really good hiding place and we decided to just head over to Eleven Mile Res for free state park day. The reservoir proved to be even colder and foggier than the canyon but we took a quick drive through the park in hopes of spotting the eagles. No eagles, but we did see a really miserable looking prairie falcon sitting on a fence post. I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen one before, but according to my ebird app, I have a new life sighting with this capture! That can’t be a bad thing!  As stealthily as possible we got out of the truck to capture an image. I quickly grabbed this shot of him on the fence post but he quickly flew away below

Scenery in Eleven Mile State Park

the fence line where I couldn’t get focus on him. By the time I was able to get an in flight shot all I could get was a distant flying away image, certainly nothing to jump up and down about.

A short hike on the hiking trails revealed some spectacular stark beauty. Something about the cold and

Scenery in Eleven Mile State Park

snow inspires me… I can never resist the opportunity for these captures! We hiked around an inlet in the lake in hope of spotting bald and golden eagles on the other side but it quickly became apparent that the fog was going to obscure our view of the northeast side of the reservoir from seeing much of anything so back to the truck we went for a return trip to the canyon.

Doe Mule Deer in Eleven Mile CanyonThe view was much better upon our return to the canyon so we decided upon a road trip into the deeper reaches along the beauty of the pristine South Platte River, thinking just maybe… the eagles might be fishing in some of the deep pools in the calm parts of the waterway…

Fog and Snow in Eleven Mile Canyon

Once again, no luck with the raptors, but we did spot a small herd of mule deer enjoying the lush grass on the other side of the river. One particularly cute doe proved to be my favorite of the day 🙂 There were also a couple of magnificent scenes in the snowy icy waters of the magnificent canyon that merited a stop and a few captures.

At first I was thinking the day was a bust photographically but after loading my take for the day onto the computer it turns out I am actually pretty happy with what we experienced. Of course any day in the wilderness is going to be a day in the city hands down!

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Autumn Beauty in Eleven Mile Canyon Colorado Sights and sounds of a beautiful autumn morning in magnificent Eleven Mile Canyon Colorado including amazing fall colors, bald eagles,  and mule deer. Don’t forget to subscribe if you like and don’t want to miss the next episode!

Eleven Mile Canyon Fiasco V2

Go to Eleven Mile Canyon they say… “It will be fun!” 😦 So I’ve been thinking about Eleven Mile Canyon for six years now. Tried to go one other time on a whim, went past a sign near Florissant that said Eleven Mile Reservoir. After a few miles of horrendous washboard dirt road and ugly Pike National Forest desert wilderness I finally gave up. Came to a sign pointing back to Florissant so I just took that turn for a few more miles of teeth rattling, shock absorber busting washboard road 😦

Today’s plan was much better. Using Google Maps I located the correct turn off of highway 24, which was actually in Lake George. Sure enough, Forest Service signs pointing to Eleven Mile Canyon on CR 96 and the promise of miles of pristine flowing water of the South Platte Headwaters. Unfortunately if you stay on CR 96 it just becomes CR 244 which leads to the same butt busting washboard roads that the one from Florissant leads to with no pristine flowing river in sight anywhere 😦

Herd of Mule Deer Bucks

Eventually I did see a sign at a turnoff that said “Eleven Mile Canyon” 5 miles. Took the turn and saw another sign with little pictures of a dirt bike, an ATV and a Jeep. Stopped short and looked over the single lane Jeep road and decided to call it a day. I knew I had to be getting close to Guffy though so I just kept going on the road I was on hoping for imminent delivery onto the paved 112.

A couple of miles later I came to a T in the road, one way to the reservoir and the other to Guffy.  I did actually drive the two miles west to make it to the reservoir this time and managed to get this picture without having to pay to get into the state park, which by this time I was in no mood for 😐

Eleven Mile Reservoir in Summer

As a bonus I saw the above nice looking buck mule deer hanging out in the wilderness of the Pike National Forest. He had a couple buddies but they quickly talked it over and decided I wasn’t a welcome addition to their little club and took off. I got a few shots of them running away but nothing worth bothering to process in Photoshop.

Now that I’m home looking at the map more closely I can see the error of my ways and may give it another shot some day.