It was a beautiful morning above the treeline this morning, actually difficult to describe in words… Wonderful cool, calm and colorful experience, the kind that makes me glad I live in the mountains. The trek
started out with a bang as a young buck and his mate galloped through the mountain grass about a quarter of a mile from me. I grabbed a couple of shots before they disappeared over the ridge and then looked around to see if I could figure out what they were running from. I’m sure it wasn’t me as I was nowhere near, perhaps it was a coyote down in the valley below.
I spotted a red-tail hawk in the tree tops about a quarter of a mile away, pretty close to the trail that I would be traversing near there. I set up my camera for a hawk in flight and hoped he wouldn’t take flight before I could get there. No luck there, I looked up every once in a while to see if he was still there and before I could get anywhere near him he disappeared into the smokey morning mist while my eyes were on the trail.
After that there were no more animals to be found, just a few colorful aspen trees in their lonely stand against the harsh high country existence. I found the starkness of the moment compelling as I spotted image after image in the distance… some dead aspen in the foreground against a colorful grove below in the valley. Another small aspen stand with the rugged peaks of the Pike National Forest in the background.
Eventually my hike came to an end and I had to decide whether to continue my drive in search of more color, or to just call it a morning. It occurred to me that I still needed to scout out the Pony Gulch Homestead Trail on the other side of Cripple Creek so I drove on over there while scanning the tree tops and hillsides for hawks and deer. The GPS took me on a dirt road that I have not yet explored and up a steep hill that I’m not sure will be passable in the wintertime without a 4×4…
I located the trail head and hiked back in about a quarter of a mile to assure that the Alltrails GPS route matched the path that appeared before me. As I strode along the unfamiliar route, the welcome sight of a series of cairns appeared before me. Others have mapped out the path and left the trail guides for those who would follow 🙂
Anyway, it was a great morning and these pictures turned out even better than I had hoped!
These were my favorite pictures of the dozen or so that I’m going to publish later this morning. Please feel free to visit and follow my Instagram page for the rest of this morning’s plus hundreds more!
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