Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Loveland, CO–Boyd Lake State Park

For those who watch the news you may have seen the stories about the Colorado floods. While I am currently in Colorado Springs where there has been some flooding and problems, much of the damage was around Boulder and north, which includes much of the area I visited during my stay in Loveland.

When I was in Colorado a few years ago I had visited Boyd Lake State Park and remembered that they had a great biking/walking trail, so I decided to stay at the state park during my visit to Loveland.   I enjoyed walking and biking the trail every day during my visit in early August. 

On my trip years ago and this trip, I drove through Big Thompson Canyon several times – it is a beautiful area.  This is Hwy 34, which is the main road from I-25 (Loveland) to Estes Park to Rocky Mountain National Park.  Currently a lot of Hwy 34 is closed due to flooding and major road damage.   Rocky Mountain National Park is closed, but the main road through the park is open to emergency vehicles as it is now the only road into Estes Park. 

Below are a couple of pictures I took of Big Thompson Canyon as I was driving through this canyon about a month ago.


The last picture I believe is the start of the curves in the picture below.  This picture was taken of the floods that occurred in mid-September.  You can see that a good bit of the road has been destroyed. 


Other pictures of the damage to the road through Big Thompson Canyon.  These were taken off the internet.  love_flood_big_thompson_canyon2


One of my day trips I drove part of the Peak to Peak Scenic Hwy and then drove through part of Boulder, thru Lyons and back to Estes Park.  Lyons is one of the towns that has been completely cut off from the floods.  While driving thru the area, I was enjoying the drive through a canyon (I think Boulder Canyon) and remember thinking I could live in an area like this.  It was beautiful, lots of outdoor activities, away from large towns, but close enough to Boulder that you could have good shopping fairly close.  After the flood, I think I will rethink my idea of possibly living there.

I enjoyed the Peak to Peak drive very much.  I stopped at Lily lake for a short walk around the pretty lake.

On the drive, I passed the St. Catherine of Siena Chapel – which is more commonly known as the Chapel on the Rock. 

A picture taken just a couple of days ago after the major flooding is below --


It looks like the church is ok, but where you see the brown in the middle of the photo was a creek, trees and bushes.  Note – this picture was taken from the Facebook page of Sheriff Justin Smith who is trying to keep people informed with information about the area.   I didn’t take a picture from the same view, but you can see in the picture below that the area was green.

My next stop was at Brainard Lake Recreation Area.  This area had a nice campground that I would like to stay at one day.  It has an elevation of 10,300, so it was a bit cool.  I didn’t do any hiking, but did enjoy a couple short walks.

Brainard Lake -

Moose in the area -


On the way out of Brainard Lake rec. area, I stopped at one of the smaller lakes, which was covered with water lilies. 

Another day, I drove through Pouche Canyon.  Another beautiful area. 

And of course, I visited Rocky Mountain National Park a couple of times. 

I took the road up over the mountains and to the other side of the park one day.  Just a little before the highest point of the drive I saw a few people watching something, so I stopped.  It was several Big Horn Sheep.  I watched for a while as they ran around.

I also saw several elk on a hillside.  I think it’s the same hill I saw them on a few years ago!

By the way, if you read my blog regularly you may remember my post about the flood in Bannack State Park in Montana (see my Dillion, MT post).  Bannack reopened Sept 9!!!  If you are thinking about going, make sure to visit the Bannack Association Facebook page, which has postings not only about current things going on, but also about the history of Bannack. 

I am in Colorado Springs through the end of the month.  I am not sure where I am headed when I leave here, I need to figure that out. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Buffalo, WY

After Anaconda, I headed to Buffalo, Wyoming for a few days.  I stayed at the Indian Campground and RV park.  While I was there they had a group of 3-wheeled motorcycles (or Trikes).  I was worried that they might be loud, but they weren’t  They were very quiet and nice, even offering all other guest of the park dessert one evening.  They had all kinds of Trikes.  Some just the typical 3 wheel motorcycle and others were one of a kind.  This is not the best picture, but it gives you an idea of the vehicles--


While in Buffalo, I visited the downtown area a couple of times.  Of interest to me was the Occidental Hotel.  This hotel has been in business for 131 years and has had some famous guest, such as Butch Cassidy, Teddy Roosevelt, Calamity Jane and more. 

The hotel has been preserved and invites non-hotel guest to visit some of the areas of the hotel.  The ceiling caught my eye and I later found out that it is the original ceiling, wow it’s 131 years old.  I wonder how many things built today will be standing in 131 years.

One of the day trips I took was to the Crazy Woman Scenic Drive.  I enjoyed this area very much.  Much of the drive is a dirt one lane road, with turn outs in case you meet someone. 

A few places there was room to pull over, which I took advantage of so I could walk around for a while. 

After leaving the canyon area, but before getting back to civilization, I saw several pronghorns.  One fairly close to the road caught my attention.  He appeared to be digging a hole.  After wondering what he was doing it for, I figured it out.

He was taking care of business and I was being rude and watching!!

More scenery from the area --


From here, I headed to Loveland, Colorado.  I’ll blog about that next!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Anaconda, MT

After Glacier National Park, I planned on slowly making my way to Colorado Springs (where I am now).  I had a few weeks for the journey, so I stopped in Anaconda, MT for several days. 

In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s this area was known for it’s Copper Smelting.  One of the places I walked several days was the Upper Works Historic Trail, which was a great walking trail with several stops showing remains from the smelting plant.

The trail overlooks a Jack Nicklaus golf course.  Instead of white sand, they used black slag in the bunkers. Slag is a by-product from the copper smeltering process. 

anaconda_upper works historic trail_2

Behind the golf course, on the hill is the 585 foot brick smoke stack, which is one of the tallest free-standing brick structures in the world. 

I also went to the Warm Springs State Wildlife Management Area to do some bird watching a couple of times.  I didn’t see anything that I had not seen before, but I enjoyed watching the ducks in their daily activities.

Feeding their young -- 

It was interesting watching the parent dive for food then bring it back for the young duck.

Gathering material to build a nest --

Gathering the large family for a family outing???--

Lost Creek State park is a local park that I visited.  There is a very short trail to a small waterfall, but what I found more interesting were the rock cliffs.  Notice the one below --

I did a bit of research after I saw this and all I found was that this is a granitic dike.  Every time I see something like this I wonder what happened thousands of years ago to cause this intrusion into the rocks. 

In this area, there are some towns with interesting names.  I saw the following sign and had to go there to see if I got smarter!! --

Shortly after that, there is another --

Since the drive through Wisdom didn’t seem to work, I didn’t try a drive through Opportunity!!