SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.


» Welcome Guest
[ Log In :: Register ]

 

[ Track This Topic :: Email This Topic :: Print this topic ]

reply to topic new topic new poll
Topic: mtngrl and Woodsie's natural high, Ute Trail, west side RMNP< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
 Post Number: 1
mtngrl Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 3896
Joined: Feb. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 25 2013, 9:18 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Woodsie and I headed up to RMNP for a natural high.  

By 7:15 we were headed up Marmot Point Trail.  That trail had been closed for a couple of summer for repairs.  It is mostly a tourist trail, being right across the parking lot from the Alpine Visitor Center, and only abut 1/3 mile long, but it has wonderful views from the top (12,000 feet) with little plant identification signs.  Woodsie says there used to be a sign up there about it being higher than Mt. Hood, but that sign is now gone.  It was early and it was fun to be the only ones up there.

We drove down to Poudre Lake, which is at Milners Pass, 10,700 ', on the Continental Divide.  We left our car there and hitch-hiked back up to the Alpine Visitor Center to hike down the Ute Trail (on the west side of the park).  The start of the trail is at 11,800, so it was funny to think that we would be ending our hike at 10,700', which is the elevation we usually are hiking up to.  

We love this alpine tundra, with the tiny ground hugging flowers.  Up at that elevation it was the start of autumn, with a chilly wind that called for hat gloves and three layers. Dwarf willows were turning yellow and there were other leaves of oranges and reds.  The forget-me-nots, alpine sandworts were mostly just mats, so we only saw a few leftover sandwort flowers.  However the Artic Gentians were in all their glory, from single blossoms to many-flowered plants, and they were everywhere.  Higher up on the trail these gentians were mostly still closed, but they were still beautifully colored in their greenish/white, tinged with purple.  We were in seventh heaven with these flowers, as we usually only see a couple here and there and this was a trail through a garden of them. whole hillsides were lit up with backlit white mountain avens' fuzzy seed heads.

Turning to show Woodsie some wildflower I saw a movement and right there was a tiny pika, then we saw more and more.  Pikas are small and I didn't think anything of it, but Woodsie said they were babies and sure enough they were, as we saw the much bigger (if you could call them big), adults later on.  Tiny gray bundles of fur, busy, busy gathering for their winter store.  There was no squeak-barking from these tiny ones, except for one "goodbye squeak" as we headed down the trail.

We passed several shallow ponds with many elk tracks in the surrounding mud.

White-crowned sparrows flitted around.  At one overlook a Clark's nutcracker winged by. We only saw one marmot, the usual out sunning himself on a rock, and a chipmunk disappearing into the bushes.

The top of this trail is a rambling up and down, always with mountain views, Specimen Mountain to the west with the reds and grays of the Never Summers (I love that name) further on.  At Forest Canyon Pass there are the views down that canyon, and the start of the Big Thompson River to the east.  No new snow on any of these peaks, but the air has that crisp feeling and you know there will soon be dustings on the tops.  The end of the trail drops sharply down into the woods.  At one point we heard a nuthatch, and upon spotting it, we stood to watch.  Soon the woods all around were full of tiny birds and it became a birdsong symphony.  The tiny birds flitted around so quickly, we could not identify them, except for one orange-crowned warbler.  I could not identify the nuthatch, it was very dull in colors.

Further down the trail we came upon a mule deer doe, pawing at something in the trail and eating it.  I'm wondering if it was something salty. After watching for a while, we moved past down the trial and she just stepped off a few feet and came right back onto the trail.

Soon we were back at the car, our spirits full of alpine tundra highs.

Woodsie will add pictures a little later this morning

The arctic (alpine, glaucous) gentians were our favorites, but, for those who may be interested, here is a list of the other flowers we saw (forgive the common names): Greenleaf avens, white mountain avens (dryas)Mountain/Parry's gentian, small purple star gentian, single-sided pyrola/wintergreen, common pyrola/wintergreen, bistort, purple asters, Fendler's sandwort, yarrow, chiming bells, harebells, paintbrush (magenta, white and yellow), King's crown, rose root, blueberries, sickle-topped lousewort, stonecrop, fringed grass of parnassus, brook saxifrage, mouse-eared chickweed, black sedge, pussy toes.


--------------
”Every tree was dripping and the creeks had swollen. It occurred to me that I had achieved a rare thing: I was living at the center of my heart’s geography. And I knew it.”- Bryce Andrews, Badluck Way
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 2
TravisNWood Search for posts by this member.
W Y O M I N G
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 16324
Joined: Apr. 2006
PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 25 2013, 11:25 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Nice eye for the life surrounding you. Your description of the chilly alpine air gave me autumn fever. It's kind of like spring fever but different season, of course. Looking forward to the photos. Enticing description as always. Thanks, Mtngrl.

--------------
Location — Wyoming
Webpages — Cloud Peak Wilderness MapsRocky Mountain Wildlife
Photos — Bighorn Mountains — Wyoming Steppes
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info WEB 
 Post Number: 3
ol-zeke Search for posts by this member.
Clear Creek
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 12395
Joined: Sep. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 25 2013, 11:33 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for your TR. It is nice to hear Fall is upon someone.  

I also liked that the software did not change your last plant to read ***** toes.  


--------------
Everything I know, I learned by doing it wrong at least twice.

"I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth."  Steve McQueen
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 4
Woodswoman Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 7019
Joined: Aug. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 25 2013, 12:02 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Here are a few photos from this beautiful hike. This is one of my most favorite hikes. The views are stunning, and hiking across the alpine just makes you feel so good.







It is still very green here in Colorado, due to all the rain we've been getting for the past 6 weeks


--------------
"...in every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks."   ~ John Muir
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 5
RebeccaD Search for posts by this member.
Double Arch, Arches N.P.
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 11307
Joined: Jul. 2004
PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 25 2013, 12:09 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Nice!  I'm envious.  As Travis so eloquently put it, getting autumn fever.  It's a time of year we seldom get to experience in the mountains.

--------------
Writerly thoughts, book reviews, and random short fiction found at
The Ninja Librarian Blog
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info WEB 
 Post Number: 6
Woodswoman Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 7019
Joined: Aug. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 25 2013, 12:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have never seen so many Arctic Gentian on one hike




The baby pikas were the cutest little things! They were busy scurrying around gathering grasses for the winter


A fuzzy baby pika backside


A hint of fall was on the ground cover


The doe we encountered by the trail. She was very intent on digging and eating whatever she was stirring up. We thought maybe someone had urinated in that spot, since deer like to eat the urine soaked soil and vegetation for the urea salts.


Butterflies were flitting by down at the lower elevations


Rock spires near the end of the trail


--------------
"...in every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks."   ~ John Muir
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 7
TravisNWood Search for posts by this member.
W Y O M I N G
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 16324
Joined: Apr. 2006
PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 25 2013, 5:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks for the photos, Woodsie. Interesting spires in the last one. They have me curious on how they were formed.

--------------
Location — Wyoming
Webpages — Cloud Peak Wilderness MapsRocky Mountain Wildlife
Photos — Bighorn Mountains — Wyoming Steppes
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info WEB 
 Post Number: 8
Roger Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 2084
Joined: Feb. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 25 2013, 5:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You always seem to have such great hikes.  I enjoyed our hike last year and will return to your neck of the woods this year for some hiking and another Pickle Gulch.

--------------
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 9
Woodswoman Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 7019
Joined: Aug. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 25 2013, 6:41 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey, Roger, we would be more than happy to take you on another day hike and see what kind of trouble we can find :D  That was a great hike we did with you last year!

Keep either Mtngrl or myself posted on the dates you will be here, and if there is a Saturday we can get together for another hike. Maybe we can round up a few of the other Colorado folks as well.


--------------
"...in every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks."   ~ John Muir
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 10
johnhens Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 5124
Joined: Jan. 2004
PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 26 2013, 11:15 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Love your trips to the high peaks!!
Did you happen across white tailed ptarmigan?
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 11
hikingFF77 Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 5402
Joined: Aug. 2005
PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 26 2013, 1:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Very cool.  In some of those photos, you can almost feel the space of the area.

--------------
“I’m just hanging on while this world keeps spinning and it’s good to know it’s out of my control.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all this living is that it wouldn’t change a thing if I let go…”
Jimmy Buffett & Martina McGraw
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 12
MsDoolittle Search for posts by this member.
Don't mess with a girl and her shovel
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 13501
Joined: Jul. 2006
PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 26 2013, 2:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Lovely weekend to hike. :)  

Good to hear you two got out for a nice morning.

I never thought about hitchiking back up to the Alpine Visitor Center. Maybe I'll do that hike next summer, sometime. :)
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 13
double cabin Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 16494
Joined: Nov. 2005
PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 26 2013, 4:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

We've had a pretty good crop of gentians some places up here too.

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing ladies.


--------------
We have nothing to fear but an industry of fear...and man skirts.

http://www.facebook.com/media/albums/?id=129511480442251
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 14
foggy Search for posts by this member.
There's no place like home
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 5533
Joined: Mar. 2004
PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 27 2013, 10:50 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Very nice trip report and love the photos too.

--------------
"True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it be lost."
- Charles Caleb Colton



Isn't that the truth?
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 15
mtngrl Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 3896
Joined: Feb. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 28 2013, 1:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

TravisNWood, autumn is my FAVORITE!

olzeke, hahahaha, didn't think about that.

johnhens, we did see a large bird (grouse or ptarmigan) on a stone wall, but it flew before we got a good look at it.


--------------
”Every tree was dripping and the creeks had swollen. It occurred to me that I had achieved a rare thing: I was living at the center of my heart’s geography. And I knew it.”- Bryce Andrews, Badluck Way
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 16
RebeccaD Search for posts by this member.
Double Arch, Arches N.P.
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 11307
Joined: Jul. 2004
PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 28 2013, 1:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Baby pikas!  Squeeee!

--------------
Writerly thoughts, book reviews, and random short fiction found at
The Ninja Librarian Blog
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info WEB 
 Post Number: 17
Woodswoman Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 7019
Joined: Aug. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 28 2013, 1:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The trees here are starting to get that ever-so-slightly  yellowish color to them. Fall is on the way! Yipppeeee! I love fall  :D

--------------
"...in every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks."   ~ John Muir
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 18
Dave Senesac Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 3404
Joined: Jun. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 31 2013, 12:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

mtngrl >>>"...we were headed up Marmot Point Trail....with little plant identification signs."

A popular short lower elevation river canyon trail of about a half mile I hiked this spring in Tahoe National Forest also had on its trail, numbers of plant identification placards with both common and latin names.  It was encouraging to this person to see quite a number of people interested in reading each one, especially children in groups.   Sadly the majority of people in this modern age given  impatience, have a shallow depth of awareness to what passes by beyond visual form as they ramble down trails.   I would encourage other public land stewards with a bit of botany knowledge to do likewise with one of their local trails.

mtngrl >>>"Artic Gentians were in all their glory, from single blossoms to many-flowered plants, and they were everywhere."

Our Sierra has a closely related white hued alpine gentian, gentiana newberryi, that were also blooming everywhere above 10k on my Pioneer Basin trip last week.

mtngrl >>>"We passed several shallow ponds with many elk tracks in the surrounding mud."

A fine late summer diversion is the habit of at drying shallow ponds, examining all manner of tiny tracks about smooth soft mud shores.

Love the "A fuzzy baby pika backside" image with some kind of turning red fern-like vegetation pefectly placed above the ball with two ears barely rising at top.


--------------
...David

http://davidsenesac.com
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info WEB 
 Post Number: 19
rangersven Search for posts by this member.

Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 3543
Joined: Jul. 2002
PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 01 2013, 6:45 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Nice report and pix...!!!  THX for sharing.

RS


--------------
"Backpacker.com's Original Provocateur"
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info 
 Post Number: 20
tarol Search for posts by this member.
Well I never!
Avatar



Group: Members
Posts: 11041
Joined: Mar. 2003
PostIcon Posted on: Sep. 01 2013, 10:33 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Love me some fuzzy baby pika :)

--------------
Got elevation? www.tarol.com
Offline
Top of Page Profile Contact Info WEB 
19 replies since Aug. 25 2013, 9:18 am < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

[ Track This Topic :: Email This Topic :: Print this topic ]


 
reply to topic new topic new poll

» Quick Reply mtngrl and Woodsie's natural high
iB Code Buttons
You are posting as:

Do you wish to enable your signature for this post?
Do you wish to enable emoticons for this post?
Track this topic
View All Emoticons
View iB Code



Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions