Footsteps Trailhead

Beautiful morning for a hike and Grouse Mountain is my go to trail for getting some exercise for me and my four legged hiking buddy. Still have my eye on the distant trail, but not enough time today. The Sangre De Cristo were extra beautiful this morning so I decided on the dead end road around the east side where it looked like there might be a better view.

As I neared the cattle gate I spotted an intriguing flag that I had never noticed before… Obviously I was obliged to check it out and much to my surprise it is a trail flag marking a zig zag pathway through the barrier, probably designed to keep Motorcycles out. No view, but I did find a shortcut to the distant mountain I have been eyeing 🙂


Got a shot or two with my phone cam and some great shots with my Canon on the way home. No time to process those today, but I should have them on my website soon, be sure to click the links to the left or in the menu if you are on a smartphone!

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Picture Perfect

Pretty darn chilly here at 9,000 feet high in the Colorado Rockies today, enough to put on a hoody to type this blog post anyway! Not complaining though, this weather is the reason I live here, definitely not a fan of being hot. Tourist at the post office was complaining and hoping it was going to warm up. Nice post office lady at the desk just simply said, “It isn’t.”, lol. I knew it was going to be a good day when Pikes Peak came into view this morning. Storm clouds were already starting to flow across the north face. I love it when it does that, so picturesque 🙂

Sunrise StormThe deer also seemed to be happy about the cool wet weather, the vegetation is so lush this summer, better than it has been in years. Got this shot of one of the doe mule deer. Haven’t gotten one this nice in a while! She stood still and I had time to focus and steady the camera for quite a few good shots with my 70-200 zoom lens. As I look at the picture I am happy to see such awesome definition, even the hairs on her face standing out and she has such a beautiful neck. Even the sun was in the right place shining through the clouds for those perfect catch lights in her eyes. Picture Perfect 🙂Beautiful Doe

As I climbed high onto the ridge on the north side of Ute Pass I was surprised at some of the aftermath of this summer’s abundant rain. Many parts of the trail have been covered by rocks and mud. I’ve been hiking these trails a long time but I have only known drought, fire, evacuations and way too much afternoon sun! Back in the day when I was training for the Leadville Trail 100 on the Barr Trail I could count on rain and storms at 2:00 p.m. like clockwork. Of course this had to be factored in to the training runs, you never want to be on the peak when the lightning starts striking! In fact today reminds me of the weather on my first attempt at running 100 miles in Leadville. It started raining early in the day that day and rained all day and all night, finally clearing early in the morning as the last of the finishers were approaching the finish line.

Hoping then that the long drought is over and the cool rainy weather pattern is returning to the parched mountains. Maybe the long drought in my life is coming to and end as well. I had a productive day, lining up homeowners insurance for the house I am hoping for in Cripple Creek. Also made it through a complicated process to provide salary verification to my prospective lender. My agents are all telling me things are progressing smoothly, but still for me it seems like too much to hope for, like a surreal dream that I never thought would be possible again.

It’s going to be a perfect evening to get some rest… the occasional sound of light rain falling on the roof, a little hot chocolate, some nice music and my furry friends all snuggled around me 🙂

These photographs and others including some beautiful deer that I recently had the pleasure of photographing are available for purchase as prints and royalty free stock on my website. Beautiful wall art products such as prints on glossy metal and acrylic sheets, canvas and traditional frames and mattes can be seen on the regular website while stock images can be purchased from the image licensing portal.

 

Steve Krull is a prolific sports and nature photographer selling prints and stock images online as S.W. Krull Imaging at various sites and agencies. Click this link to view all the products and services offered by Steve Krull and S. W. Krull Imaging. Additional services include, wedding photography, portraiture and model portfolios, and event photography. Additional products include fine art stock imagery, prints and gift items

 

The Clearing

Continued my exploration of the new trailhead and trail system that I have been working for the last couple of weeks. After encountering “the gate” I had to branch out in a new direction and the cool cloudy morning we are having seemed just the day to do that. So early this morning the puppies and me forged ahead further than before, hoping to find a route up to the top of the ridge and maybe yet another view of the majestic mountain across valley.

Sunset on Pikes Peak

Beautiful summer sunset on Pikes Peak Colorado

By then little old Kitsu looked like she was getting tired so I decided we would just keep going back to the beginning. Just as we were getting ready to head back up the switchbacks I noticed a car driving in the woods! I watched to see what it was going to do when I figured out where exactly we were, at another trailhead parking area that I have used before.  It is also the place I came down to the time I descended the back side of Bald Mountain, and swore I would never hike again, incredibly steep there! Well anyway, I know where I am there and from my new trailhead I am happy to discover that I can go anywhere on the entire ridge from there, from inside Woodland Park all the way to Rampart Reservoir if I wanted!

Black-Bears-4I wonder how many miles and how many hours I have spent hiking that trail system? I have hiked it in summer, winter, fall, rain, snow and near darkness. I have seen deer, elk, bear, coyote, bobcat and all kinds of birds including eagles and hawks. The trails and the forest on this little patch of the Pike National Forest have been an amazing source of peace for me for almost a decade now, I feel so fortunate to live so close to such solitude. Countless pictures I have taken along the way, many of which can be viewed in my Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak fine art image  gallery. The commercial stock version of those images can be found by clicking here. Many more can be found in my wildlife gallery.

Definitely looking forward to many more miles of trail, changing seasons and abundant wildlife on this ridge now made accessible by my new favorite trailhead 🙂

 

Steve Krull is a prolific sports and nature photographer selling prints and stock images online as S.W. Krull Imaging at various sites and agencies. Click this link to view all the products and services offered by Steve Krull and S. W. Krull Imaging. Additional services include, wedding photography, portraiture and model portfolios, and event photography. Additional products include fine art stock imagery, prints and gift items

The Dilemma

Just when I thought I had found the superhighway to the high peaks of the Ute Pass northern ridge, I find myself thwarted by a gate and a no trespassing sign 😦  I finally got an early enough start in the cool of the day to really take a run at that trail with the doggies. We were making good progress when all of a sudden I saw a fence… then a closed and locked gate followed by the totally rude sign 😦 I had no idea that someone owned that section of the Pike National Forest… How can you own a national forest anyway?

Storm clouds and snow on Pikes Peak Colorado

Storm clouds and snow on Pikes Peak Colorado

Well, back down we went… It was getting hot by the time we reached the bottom anyway. I did notice on the way down however, there is another trail leading southeast. I’m pretty sure it is the one that connects to some other trails that go all over the mountain, including up to Bald Mountain. But, that exploration will have to wait for another day.

Had a nice lunch with my friend while closely watching the temperature and the clouds. Landlord won’t let me leave the doggies at home, not that they would appreciate being home without me anyway.  Be that as it may… if it gets too hot I can’t leave them in the truck camper while I work. Even though it is well ventilated it still heats up in the sun when the temperature is over 79. Kind of amazing… 79 is borderline, but 80 or 81 is too hot. Well anyway, the dilemma… work too much and I get too tired to enjoy life and lose money at my photography and writing, work too little and I don’t have enough money to enjoy life or do my photography and writing. So whatta ya do…

Anyway, today it suddenly jumped to 89, a real rarity for the mountains and I can really feel the heat beating down on the roof and south window… Fortunately I had the foresight one summer to install a window air conditioner and I have it and the fan going full blast! And as a sign that the Almighty is watching down on me, I just noticed yesterday that I had made a good print sale to make up for today’s lost wages, a nice winter scene on Pikes Peak 🙂 Reminds me of the Bible verse, “My God shall supply on my needs according to His riches in Glory.”.

 

Steve Krull is a prolific sports and nature photographer selling prints and stock images online as S.W. Krull Imaging at various sites and agencies. Click this link to view all the products and services offered by Steve Krull and S. W. Krull Imaging. Additional services include, wedding photography, portraiture and model portfolios, and event photography. Additional products include fine art stock imagery, prints and gift items

Rough Start

Wasn’t sure I was going to make it out this morning… I don’t know, maybe it’s the damp weather, or maybe just too many hours on the loading docks this week, but when I awoke this morning it felt like a bomb had exploded inside my body. Got up, turned on the coffee pot and just sat here hoping for the pain to subside. Three different times I have broken my coffee drinking hand and it was really slow to come around but finally I was able to hold the coffee mug. The hot ceramic felt good in the palm of my hand as I tried to decide whether I wanted to face the day…

Finally the dogs started to grumble and I knew there was no possibility of going back to bed. Thought about just taking a slow walk up through the forest gate and up the road, but definitely was not in the mood to try to get past the troll. As I started moving around trying to feed the cats and get dressed, the pain in the rest of my battered temple began to reside and I decided on a trailhead to Bald Mountain that the troll doesn’t know about and probably could not get to on her best day. Would love to see the old crank try to negotiate the barbed wire fence…

Bald Morning 3The doggies were so excited about the new trail and the new smells that it was worth it just to see how much fun they were having! The beauty of the unhindered view of Pikes Peak, the fresh air at 10,000 feet and the utter solitude of being in a place that few others are even aware of also aided my mood on such a wonderful day to not have to go to work. Sadly the wildflowers are once again a mess this week so I didn’t bother to shoot with my DSLR, but I did snap a few of the scenery with my smart phone.Bald Morning 2

A couple hours of fresh air and both me and the doggies were tired and ready to head home. Thought about stopping at Bierwerks for lunch, but as we drove by I noticed that the place was quite populated with families with their children and after a week of enduring the din of screaming kids at Walmart I just could not face it. Maybe it just me, but I wish there was still someplace for adults to go… Used to be coffee shops and bars were pretty reliable sanctuaries, but no more.

Picked up a few supplies, ate some lunch and now listening to the rumble of an approaching thunderstorm. Pretty quiet at home today save for the snoring of the cats and dogs. I think it is going to be a peaceful afternoon for a nap. Maybe I will get an idea for a real adventure tomorrow, more sleep tonight will get me on the road much earlier in the morning, in time to beat the traffic and catch the beauty of the morning light cascading onto the beautiful Colorado Rockies… somewhere.

 

Steve Krull is a prolific sports and nature photographer selling prints and stock images online as S.W. Krull Imaging at various sites and agencies. Click this link to view all the products and services offered by Steve Krull and S. W. Krull Imaging. Additional services include, wedding photography, portraiture and model portfolios, and event photography. Additional products include fine art stock imagery, prints and gift items