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Colorado, 2005

I took a little vacation to Colorado before school started. Keewi couldn't come, as she had to work. I met up with my sister, her husband, my mother, and other relatives, and went on various hikes and such. These photos are all taken between Rocky Mountain National Park and the Wyoming border.

Photos with people in them are at the end, since they are presumably of somewhat limited interest.

Rocky Mountain National Park
We drove up from Denver through the park, and it was a lovely sunny day with partial clouds. The third photo is not great, but I just love the meander of the river across the valley floor. The fifth photo here shows a gorgeous glory, a rainbow-like apparition (but not a rainbow!) that can sometimes be seen at the antisolar point; here a rising fog in the valley below us provided the perfect medium for a glory to be seen.
River views
These photos are of the North Platte river as seen from the porch of our cabin, showing the variety of clouds we got over the course of the week. We got rainbows almost every day, since a storm would blow through each afternoon and then clear to sunshine by evening; but the last photo in this group is the only rainbow I had the presence of mind to photograph.
Ranch views
These were taken around the ranch we were staying at, and again you can see the wonderful assortment of clouds as the weather changed. (This is, after all!)
Mt. Zirkel: Rainbow Lakes trail
We went on a hike up the Rainbow Lakes trail, which is recommended. A few good views out across the North Park, lovely flowers and aspen, lush and peaceful. The butterfly in the third photo is a fritillary, I believe; perhaps a Northwestern Fritillary, perhaps a Mormon Fritillary, perhaps something else, they are not easy to identify. The flowers I will not even attempt to identify here.
Ridgeline photos
A short hike along a ridgeline on the ranch property yielded a variety of lichens (I don't know much about lichens, but I find their forms and colors interesting), and I saw a few new wildflowers on the hike back down along a streambed. I have spared you close-up photos of the mostly decomposed antelope we stumbled upon in said streambed, although it was interesting. :->
Mt. Zirkel: Big Creek trail
I think I'm remembering the name of the trail correctly. More than 20 miles of dirt roads to get there, a whole lot of mosquitoes, and evidence of heavy logging everywhere you looked. The falls at the end of the trail were no great shakes. Not recommended. The last three photos were taken on the drive back towards Cowdrey, which was more fun than the hike itself; the last photo shows a sundog being cast into virga from the stormclouds above, which was a lovely sight.
I spent a lot of time trying to get the perfect hummingbird photo, hanging around a feeder on the back porch of the cabin. I got a few that I think are pretty good, after much experimentation. I believe the only species we see at the ranch is the Broad-Tailed Hummingbird; some of these photos show various "tells" quite clearly, such as the way their tail is longer than their wings, and the pattern and shape of their tail when spread. All of these are of females except the fifth, which is the only shot I got of the male the whole week. The male rarely visited the feeder, while the females were there for much of every day. Some of these photos could be taken for a Rufous Hummingbird, but I believe they are not, chiefly on the grounds that I have never seen a male Rufous at this site. If a better birder than I would like to weigh in, I'd be interested to hear more thoughts.
The first photo is of my uncle fly-fishing in the North Platte, and the second is of my aunt, uncle, and two cousins. The rest of are my immediate family, except the last, which is of me. My sister thought I looked funny with my sandals hanging off of my belt pack, although I of course think I looked outdoorsy and rugged.

These images copyright © 2005 Ben Haller. All rights reserved.