Yesterday was a great day here in the Colorado Rockies. We took a short ATV ride as my 83 year old father had just purchased his FIRST UTV. A 4 passenger Kawasaki TREX. This looks to be a very good machine with solid doors and top and windshield. He did fine and we crossed a fast flowing stream with no problems other than I hit the kill switch on my machine right in the middle. Finally figured out what I had done and off we went again.Read More
Looks like my friends are getting hammered out there with the latest snowstorm. Its a godsend to the ski industry and also the farmers and wildlife for the resulting runoff that will occur next spring. This will make the fishing good, sustain the streams and renew many of the lakes there.Read More
I have had the pleasure to be able to talk to a long time valley resident about the early days of logging in the San Luis Valley. I call him Big John and until I get his permission to share more, I will leave it at that but most of you probably can guess who that is from the name.Read More
Once again we get to tag along with Dennis as he leads a hike.
Wayne led us up the WET Tewksberry trail for 2 1/2 miles to the Chute where we had our lunch. So many flowers and fungi like never seen before at this time of year and all because of the bountiful rainfall we have received!!
What a pleasure to enjoy the great outdoors with a great bunch of folks to enjoy it with. We welcomed a couple of new folks, Connie and Tony from Kansas, they did very well for the first time out with us, hope to see them again soon.....
Wayne is leading the group tomorrow to the top of San Luis peak, the first 14'er of the year for the group. We need to leave South Fork at 5 AM to make the trek and hopefully avoid the rain and lightning..............
We WILL hike to the top of Fox mtn on Thursday, if we happen to trip over some mushrooms we will collect them....meet at the VCPL at 9 AM, bring your lunch, water, raingear and a friend....
Click on picture below to view gallery.
I wanted to post these two photos just to show you how clear the new game trail cameras are that I recently got from Tasco a subsidiary of Bushnell. I will post more on this soon and hopefully have pictures of animals passing by.
These were taken from some movement nearby, but I cannot see any animals in the photos.
This is an addendum to a previous post since I was able to get up and get a few pictures of a place where someone who is either older or limited in their ability to wade the streams could fly fish.Read More
Since the monsoon rains started in July, it has been an almost non stop rain event both night and day. Yesterday dawned bright and clear and we headed up toward Creede, Colorado with visiting family members. Arriving at Creede, the morning clouds hung low and imposing over the valley floor but specks of sunshine were showing through on the higher peaks and on the pillars of Hercules which tower over Creede..
Driving up Bachelor Loop past the cemetery, the sun broke out upon us and we began to see glimpses of wildlife scurrying along, happy for a day without rain. Arriving at the old town site of Bachelor City, we all got out and began a tour of that old site.
Many pieces of old glass and other relics of days long past were evident on the ground as the recent high rainfall had exposed them to view. My step brother and his family enjoyed seeing the old cabins still hanging on in the harsh mountain environment and those are a certain photo op for anyone visiting the area. The town was platted in January of 1892 and by March over 100 houses had been erected. There were dozens of saloons, four hotels a school and newspaper and a church inside the town proper at one time.
Today, not much is left of the town and care must be taken if you decide to leave the parking lot above the old town site that you don't step in a hole and get hurt. There are various holes left over from the town both exploration holes for mining and claim verification and old outhouse holes that were the standard of the day. I have not found any that are open to any depth but sometimes they were bridged over below the surface with wood beams and those can rot and give way unexpectedly. DO NOT venture into any depression or hole that you are unsure of. Just be smart when afield and enjoy the views as you can see from the pictures, the views at Bachelor are outstanding.
This is one of my son's favorite places to visit and I think the ghosts of days long past still walk the old streets and meadows and there is something in the air that makes you feel their presence. I often sit across the meadow in the white aspens letting the sun filter down upon me, and wonder how the men and women of that day were able to live in such an inhospitable place. Families were raised and business went on even though the climate is brutal in nature.
The town suffered with the Silver Panic of 1893 just like most silver mining camps did. Slowly the population dwindled and finally disappeared probably sometime in the 1940's. Water and sewer issues and the extreme cold and heavy snows finally pushed the last survivors of the town to Creede and beyond.
If you like to peruse the old mining camps as I do, make sure Bachelor is on your list. The road up from town past the cemetery is in great condition and an easy drive for a car or truck. Get a map from the local merchants and find a new adventure around every corner in that area. This is a good day trip for about anyone and whether you can walk a long distance or not at all, its still very enjoyable. Start out early as the intermountain rainstorms usually bring about some lightning in Bachelor by early to late afternoon.
(CLICK ON PICTURES BELOW FOR MORE PHOTOS)
WOW, is all I can say. My step mother's grandchildren showed up this week and wanted to go fishing. So, I rounded up enough fishing poles for three kids and Paula and I and we headed to Big Meadows. It was a rainy kind of day but we braved the intermittent showers and walked around the edge of the lake to a spot away from the crowds near the parking lot.
Walking past the people right by the boat ramp, I could see many stringers full of rainbow trout and I stopped and visited with some of them to inquire about what they were using.
The standard power bait type configuration was working the best for them and so we had several poles baited with that and Paula used the bubble and fly she is famous for. One person tried various lures including a Needlefish from the bank. Both the fly and bubble and the Needlefish yielded a few fish over about two hours. I believe for maximum impact the lure needs to be trolled to give it the proper action and also to be exposed to the greater number of fish. I saw a man and a woman in a small boat land 4 fish in a distance of not more than 200 yards trolling past us.
We sat there for quite some time without much action but when it opened up, it was fast and furious especially on the rod with the power bait. Sometimes there were fish on 3 poles at once and getting them off the hook and on the stringer and back in the water was hilarious to watch.
The kids had a blast as they had not fished ever before and so success was paramount to a good day for them. If you are taking a younger person fishing, find a honey hole where they are assured of catching fish so they have a positive experience the first time out. That helps them to enjoy it and maybe continue to want to go fishing.
I can name dozens of people who were taken fishing either once or over and over as a child and either didn't get to fish or didn't catch anything and it soured them on the experience. While catching fish is not the only reason we go fishing, it does add to the time afield and makes us ready to go again.
We cleaned the fish and each of the kids wanted to attempt that. With a lot of squealing and saying "yuk" and "gross" multiple times, they finally did get the heads off but the rest of the process just was too much for them, even in rubber gloves.
But they are now wanting to go all the time and I think I created 3 more fishermen to support the future of our sport. Remember, license fees, taxes on equipment and user fees in campgrounds all help our Division of Wildlife fund programs that maintain and expand our parks, forests, waterways and wildlife populations.
Don't delay your fishing trip if you want some tasty trout for the pan. Its great out there in all area lakes.
Its bear time in the Rockies. That time when the bears find out that running around town is the best way to find food. This can be anything from trash cans to dog food left out to hummingbird feeders to bird feeders.
As the summer population of tourist climbs in the summer, they begin to put out food for the birds and deer and other wildlife so that they can enjoy watching them out the back window. The problem with this is the bears and coyotes and other wild creatures, catch on quickly to the routine and come into the towns or around cabins in remote areas and look for free food.
While I love seeing a bear in the wild, they can be quite dangerous if cornered especially with cubs or in the darkness as you return home from Bingo or some other activity. Also, they get so used to people being around that they begin to break into cabins to get more food. Many people leave screen doors open and this just is an open invitation to a bear to come in.
The biggest problem with allowing bears to feed around a house is that it eventually ends up in their death. If a bear is found to be a violator 3 times, the Department of Wildlife has to kill that bear to prevent further damage. Once they learn to break into houses, there is no stopping them. So the very people who love to see a bear, end up causing their death.
Living next to wild creatures, we have a responsibility to keep out of their way and also to prevent them becoming too accustom to man. Every week there is a story in the news about a coyote attacking a child in a city and this is due to animals being able to adapt to more and more population.
There is no easier pickings for a good meal than a small dog or cat in a back yard. In fact, two of my friends lost small dogs to owls that swooped down and carried them off.
This is the time of year when bears are trying to get as many calories as possible for the winter ahead. So they go to the easiest source. The recent fires here may have pushed more bears out of those areas and therefore there will be more depredation ahead.
This week in Creede, Colorado, a small mining town nearby, a bear was spotted in a tree in town and had to be removed by the wildlife officers. They tranquilized the bear and yet still had to pull it down by hand and face a dangerous situation as the bear fought them aggressively. It was funny to hear people comment as they watched this activity. The sheriff provided backup with a shotgun and all the tourist and people who have no idea about the dangers of a wild bear were so worried he might shoot the bear. I do believe they would rather a officer get mauled or killed than have the bear shot.
This is from years and years of watching pretty wildlife films that depict animals as having human traits and characteristics to the point that people think they are cute fluffy balls of fur. The animals found in the wild are not only wild and cunning but dangerous too. Proper care in how we live in and among them is essential to their survival also in a growing population of humans.
Remember, keep you distance and know that they are only trying to protect themselves or their young but if provoked, can cause extreme damage to a person
We can enjoy nature close around us with proper care and a clear understanding of the dangers involved. This is a good time to see wildlife and an evening drive around neighborhoods often leads to that experience. Just stay in the car and be safe out there.
I was fortunate this year to have a space for a garden for the first time in many years. This had proven to be a real boon to Paula and I as we have eaten almost exclusively from that patch all summer long. The mountain region, while not having the longest of hot summer days, does lend itself to a lot of crops that can be grown not only successfully but to over abundance.
In the pictures found below, you can see the variety of vegetables that I was able to grow and in fact, I just planted some more of the cold season crops today. They will be a tad tight on making it before the frost but most like lettuce and kale and others are frost hardy and I will probably cover some of them each night as the weather cools later in September.
I had been fortunate enough to get some wire fencing from my friend Phillip Craig and the RV park had some t-posts lying around so a deer and rabbit proof soon came together. I learned the hard way as the first night I had my flowers out, a deer got them all.
Growing crops here you will find that lettuce, kale, peas, beans, squash and even bush tomato will produce well with enough sunlight. Be sure to plant in direct sun and keep watered well. I did notice that gardening here requires.
I always had a great garden when I was working but never really harvested it like we are now. That is all due to Paula and her use of the produce and her herb garden. I have never had this good of tasting food ever. Its spiced and flavored to perfection and I would suggest you find someone to show you how to cook like this if you don't already know how. I watch the preparation and of course I do all the cooking on the grill mostly and the prep time isn't that much different than how I always ate.
Simple herbs like Rosemary on meat makes a huge difference. And a herb garden and other is so easy to raise. YES it takes a little time to water and weed and plant but the rewards are immense and the savings huge.
My grandparents spent every evening in the garden when I was growing up. Canning and freezing food ahead, they never bought a lot of vegetables. BUT they didn't sit down and watch television in the evenings and let their minds rot. Instead they worked outside or sat on the porch and enjoyed the night slowly sinking around them. Those evenings, on the porch swing with my grandmother are some of the best memories I have and yes, many evenings I had to help work in the garden pulling off the nasty beetles from the tomato vines. Their entire back yard was a garden actually in Western Kansas so I know you can raise a garden about anywhere if you have the desire.
Below, find a recipe from Paula that you can try yourself.
Fresh Kale and Cherry Salad
Handful of pecans (toasted)
Handful of cherries (pitted and halved)
A shake of feta cheese
Wash your kale and dry the leaves. Cut all the ribs from the leaves. Massage the kale with the dressing:
Dijon Mustard (or French’s if you don’t have)
Dollop of honey (about 1tsp)
Some balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar if you don’t have balsamic)
Salt and Black pepper to taste
In a food processor, shake it up. I sometimes throw a few extra cherries into the dressing to sweeten it up
After massaging the kale with dressing, throw in the rest of the salad ingredients (Pecans, cherries and feta)
Serve. Easy and delicious! The key is to cut the ribs out of the kale and to massage it so that the leaves are super tender and flavorful with each bite.
AND, she is making some lovely salad tonight from the same garden. I don't believe I have ever eaten this well in my lifetime and the flavors are unbelievable. The key to successful gardening is thinking small. Two rows of lettuce about 6 feet long will keep a family of four in greens all summer long. And add to that a row of Kale, Spinach, Collards and two rows of bush beans and you will be harvesting a bounty. The shorter the rows, the easier to weed and keep care of too.
I work nor more than 10 minutes at a time now in the garden as I got the weeds early and now just have maintenance. Watering is a snap with a sprinkler and the localized rains I am getting add to that watering. The herb garden is all in containers so if you can put some good potting soil in a pot, buy some rosemary, chives, endives, and other herbs and plant them, you too can have a readily available source for cooking.
It doesn't take anymore time to flavor and cook food well than not. I can see that from Paula's cooking. She has it down pat and should be giving lessons on whipping up something economical, yet wondrous.
its not too late for a fall garden if you get out there right now and till up a small spot and try it. All of the cold crops will prob make it at least for some harvesting and so get down to the store and get some seeds and try it. At least get some lettuce and scratch out a place in the dirt and keep it watered. you will be amazed at the results in about 3 weeks. kk