Showing posts with label Pikes Peak. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pikes Peak. Show all posts

February 02, 2018

A Chance for Bear Cubs on Pike's Peak

“To me, it is cruel to keep an animal like this in a cage,” [Cec Sanders] said. “No guarantees on what happens to them. But at least they get a chance.”  (Video: Denver Post.)

The Denver Post profiles some southern Colorado wildlife researchers and their orphaned bears, in connection with . . . I don't want to call them "bear-human" conflicts, because it's pretty one-sided.

Actually, as our non-winter wore on and the bears got fatter and fatter, the Sanders (whom I know) were feeling forgotten, wonder if Colorado Parks and Wildlife was ever going to come collect the bears.

On the other hand, they realized that the relatively warm and dry winter might not click the bears' hibernation switch right away. (Possibly related,  about two weeks ago, something walked away with a suet feeder that had been hanging by my house — nothing left but its dangling chain.)

July 21, 2013

Colorado's Redwoods

The Big Stump, a fossilized redwood, was once the pride of a commercial resort at the site. The tree would have been a "little" larger than the ponderosa pines now growing around it.
Taller and faster-growing, Colorado's redwoods were in all respects better than those in California — except for having flourished 34 million years ago, before a series of volcanic eruptions suffocated them.

Flash forward to the 1870s, when residents of Colorado Springs could take an excursion train west into the mountains and wander through the petrified logs exposed on the ground, chipping away bits to take home and place on the mantelpiece or in their flower beds.

Visitors chipped away so industriously that the logs are gone, except for those still buried. A generation later, two adjacent commercial establishments controlled the fossil beds, each one part dude ranch, part museum, and part fresh-air resort.

Only in 1969 did the area become the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, which also showcases fossils of quite a few plants, vertebrates, and invertebrates, preserved in volcanic ash.

M. and I stopped by in June 2013 for the first time in (non-geological) ages. We found the new park visitor center and more trails and signage than we remembered.
Too many visitors don't get far from the vistor center. That is actually a stump in the pit, surrounded by a supporting band of steel.

I poop on your signage.
The easy half-mile Ponderosa Loop Trail includes photos of the previous commercial establishments at the fossil bed, as well as a time line of geology and life at the site. Here a modern dinosaur appears to have left some comments on one of the signs.

The monument covers 6,000 acres, and there are 14–15 miles of hiking trails, depending which brochure you read.

We walked another three-mile loop, which crossed the Homestake Pipeline, part of Colorado Springs' water system. The pipeline carries water from a collection system near Aspen, with its flow shared by Aurora and Colorado Springs.

(It's amazing how many Springs residents think their water comes from snow on Pike's Peak, and Aurorans probably don't think at all about it.)

Despite its significance in our hydraulic civilization, the pipeline rates no signage on the hiking trail. Apparently it does not fit the narrative of the fossil beds.

The cleared strip marks the route of the Homestake Pipline through the hills west of Colorado Springs. It was built just before the national monument was created.

July 13, 2013

Blog Stew with Birds and Mulch (Colorado Springs edition)

• Fascinated by birds, a high school student tracks survival in nest boxes after the Black Forest Fire.
Five years ago, Alec entered fourth grade at School in the Woods as "a wilderness kid" and came out a budding ornithologist. The small Academy District 20 school with an environmental science focus introduced him to the world of birds, and he wanted to continue his education.
• The summit of Pike's Peak is crowned by a dreary early-1960s gift shop and snack bar. Colorado Springs is thinking of re-doing it. The article fails to mention another summit fiasco, in the early 1980s, as I recall, when some Oklahoma millionaire gave the city the "gift" of bright lights up there, replacing the solitary light let let Springs residents estimate the height of clouds at night.

Upset that the summit now looked like a K-Mart parking lot (upon which the Oklahomans could gaze from their home in the swanky Kissing Camels subdivision), citizens demanded the lights' removal, and the city acceded.

• Black Forest has not only a "bird boy" but a "mulch lady," according to headline writers at The GazetteOnce again, it is the Question of Biomass:
On a recent evening, more than 345 people arrived with trailers bulging with slash they cleared from their property. It generated about 702 cubic yards of mulch. The Black Forest fire has gotten mitigation procrastinators off their duffs, she says. They are taking in twice the amount of slash and sending out about half as much as usual.

January 01, 2011

Hardly Auspicious

Denver Post photo of AdAmAn Club members starting up Barr Trail.
I was at a New Year's Eve party last night where when one person mentioned going out at midnight to watch the fireworks shot from the top of Pike's Peak, someone else already knew that the traditional display had been canceled this year due to weather.

Members of the AdAmAn Club (because they "add a man" annually) "had to turn back just a mile from the summit."
Pikes Peak Ranger Jay Vickerman told The Gazette that temperatures were 25 below zero [F.] and winds hit 70 mph.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the Pikes Peak fireworks had ever been canceled before.
In my memory, they were always fired, even if into heavy clouds.  The pyrotechnics themselves are hauled to the summit by truck in advance of the event, while club members just carry their own personal gear up on the Barr Trail.

Funny how the cancellation of an event like that makes you feel like something has gone subtly wrong with the cosmos.