Colorado 2012–The Medicine Bow Mtns & the Snowy Range, the last days

Melinda went out one evening hoping to catch some of that dramatic sunset color on the peaks.  She didn’t have success in that department, but she ended up with several good shots of moose . . . and she wasn’t even on the hunt!  There they were, grazing by the side of a backroad she had turned off on, looking for a suitable foreground to the skies.  She just stayed by the truck and shot away.  Then, the next morning we ran into the same group of bulls again. This time in the early morning. We watched them munch on willows for awhile, oblivious of our cameras. Fortunately, no one else came by to disturb the beasts.

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Brooklyn Lake has a number of cabins around it. Maybe a dozen. They are apparently on long term leases with the Forest Service. One afternoon before dinner we hiked around the lake, 1.68 miles. There are huge, huge pine trees, most of which are dead. We’ve all heard about the build up of organic matter because of fire suppression. We saw it first hand. Sadly, this place is a tinder box waiting to go up in flames.

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The wildflowers add the touch of life to an otherwise dismal and decaying scene.

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Wednesday afternoon they eased the fire restrictions to allow fires in the fire circles in the campgrounds. We had planned on departing the following morning, but this was just too tempting.  It just isn’t a complete camping experience without the ambiance of a campfire.  How could we leave with only this one evening fire to enjoy? We made the decision to stay around one more day, making use of some of the plentiful logs lying around.  Chris selected a nearby pile and split a bunch of firewood. Soon we had a really good fire blazing away and keeping us warm as the evening temperatures began to drop.

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Thursday morning dawned clear.  Chris built a morning fire and Melinda went around the lake to catch the first rays of light hitting the mountain behind our campground.

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An hour or so later, we were enjoying breakfast around the campfire.  And then we were off.

We took a trail into the backcountry that led to two lakes, North and South Gap Lakes.  Known to hold trout, the South one was even suppose to contain Cutthroat Trout, the only species that Chris has not caught on this trip.  Even though the wind was blowing too strong off both the lakes, inhibiting Chris from casting his line, the scenery along the trail was fabulous.

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We caught sight of a small pika collecting greenery which he was probably using for nest-building.  He made several return trips which kept us captivated.

Melinda even counted coup with the capture of yet another wildflower photo to add to her collection.  The magenta primrose likes to grow near water, and the alpine gentian is her newest addition.

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Parry Primrose

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Alpine Gentian

The day remained uncharacteristically blue-sky and clear.  Most other days have been clouding up by early afternoon, sometimes bringing showers and storms with them.  Our last day was easily the best day.

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We ended the day doing the things that we enjoy the most.  Chris fished Lake Marie, lying at the base of Medicine Bow Peak it appeared to be the clearest of all the alpine lakes he fished.

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Lake Marie

The gods of flyfishermen graced him with one good catch.  Three others got away.

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One last brookie

Melinda found a little-used trail nearby that led down into a small canyon.  Water flowed down from the lake, cascading through the small gorge.  More wildflowers brought added enjoyment to the trail.  As the sun began to set behind the peak, the setting seemed to epitomize what this Snowy Range had brought to both of us . . . a very pleasurable experience.

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We had one last campfire as the light was fading.  A great way to close out another wonderful trip.  And then she noticed the fire in the sky and had to go out and make one more shot.  Her day ended where it had begun, with the colors of the setting sun giving a great backdrop to the mountain behind the camp.

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From the Snowy Mountain Range,

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Chris and Melinda

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About airstreamtravelers

An Airstream Flying Cloud suits our lifestyle perfectly. The two of us are now spending several months each year on the road. We hope our posts and accompanying photos give a vivid description of where we travel, illustrating to our followers what's out there, just beyond their horizons.
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