Monday, November 28, 2016

10 great views of The South Fork below the big dam.

A day after our first "finally" snow, four of us went on fresh powder  with our snowshoes.  We enjoyed the many views of snow, cliffs, and "our" creek.  Here at the Big Meadows area, it is at about 1/3 its distance, headed downstream to South Fork.  

No hike on Wednesday.  Next one is next Monday. Starting time is now 10 a.m.—departing the Visitor Center on the hour.  If you haven't been snowshoeing with us, you are welcome to come along.  Check our town's three rental and sales of snowshoe.  It is more fun than you might imagine; no danger; fairly short hikes (2-4 miles total), no charge.  We ask that you leave pets at home but bring a wife or husband or kids who have  stamina.  Prepare yourself for beautiful scenery.

In case of snow disappearing temporarily, we will have other hikes using regular boots all through the winter and spring.  Most of us are also skiers, so you can look for one or more of us on the slopes Tuesday-Sunday.

Happy winter to all of you.  After our slow start here, it is looking very good right now.
— Doug Knudson    

Ready to go.

A spectacular walk

Cliffs above S.Fk 

Snowshoe ladies at the resting point

Wayne in Green

Heading down-stream

The South Fork

White-out  punctuated by beautiful trees

Rock-and-snow Art

Serene South Fork—the water you see was probably passing
South Fork by the time we got home at 1 p.m.

6 Wednesday hike Photos

It was a bright sunny day with a little snow on the pretty route around the north end of Sentinel Mountain (around the bottom).  Four of us made a quick trip along that trail and even extended it a little.  So far, the elk have not come back (for several years).  I hope to go back at least three times this winter to make sure the elk have abandoned the location as their winter home.

Because of ski season opening tomorrow, we may lose one of our hike leaders (??? not sure).  We will hike on Mondays through the winter.  Boots for "skinny snow" and snowshoes or XC skis when it gets deep.   

We will start at 10 a.m. each Monday at the Visitor Center.  We would appreciate your preferences for hiking sites. The weather will be a factor in our scheduling, of course.  Our winter hikes are usually somewhat shorter, depending on depth of snow.  

Community Events coming up:  
. . . . .Thanksgiving for all churches tonight at 7 p.m.  (Wednesday) at the "White" Chapel on 149.  All denominations are welcome to enjoy an evening of music and the significance of Thanksgiving.
. . . . . Thanksgiving dinner, mid-day on Thursday at the community center.  People from all over the SLV and beyond will be there.  The line forms at about 11 a.m.   Last serving may be about 2:00 p.m.  No charge, but donations accepted near the door.

The team today.  More are welcome.

Reaching up!

Resting Rock

Ponderosa pine on the trail

Aspen--beautiful in autumn and winter


Monday, November 21, 2016

Monday Hike

Wayne advertised a hike behind his house; he didn't specify 2.5 miles behind it.  Not as tough as going 2 miles up Sentinel Mountain, but a good lung-cleaner anyhow.  This rustic trail gave us a series of different views, from the Twin Mountains, once the name of a famous local musical group in Del Norte, to close-ups of friendship of different trees standing side by side on the mountain, but scarcely known, with little or no fame.     
Ten hearty hikers made the up and back on a promise of ice cream and cupcakes.  All took advantage of the refreshments, knowing full well that the next hike will help reduce any excess calories that crept onto our bones.
In fact, the "reduction of calories" hike will be on Wednesday at 9 a.m. By then, we'll have no more snow or rain, say the prognostigators who appear on the communications devices.  I have three or four alternatives in my thoughts; you may add other favorites. Think it over and we'll discuss it at 8:50 a.m. on Wednesday.

Twin Mountains on Hoizon

Handsome bunch!

D-fir & David

Pat ponders the beauty of the place

2 spp. embrace

Shady rest

Gully and Slope

Ice cream prelude--at the lovely Moulds home.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

6 hike Photos

Somewhere around 9 to 11 people came out on a beautiful autumn day to follow a pleasant road through our beautiful county (a little off of Embargo Creek road).  It was a gentle, yet exercise-inducing walk among low-country pines scattered along some nice rolling countryside.   

ready to go


moving ahead

elegant Ponderosa pine

A little up, then...

the group goes down.

Next hike is gentle, woodsy, and relatively brief, looking for Culturally Modified Trees (by Ute people), preparing for a summer 4-day camp
for Ute Youths.  We will leave the Visitor Center at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.  The hiking is fairly gentle, in the woods, and maybe with a side trip, if time allows.
This will be on and near the Youth Camp just south of South Fork.  This is Forest Service land. The camp facilities will be our starting point.  Several of us in South Fork are working with the three Ute tribes to develop and "teach" tribal kids (and usually several adults) to get them better acquainted with their tribal life-ways, trees, and skills.  It's also fun to watch the kids enjoy their outdoor experiences.  They will sleep and eat at the camp (assuming that all the arrangements get made).  
Judy and I have had the opportunity to work with this program for the past 3 summers, in a camp in the Black Forest near Colorado Springs.  The event will be in the first week in August.  Perhaps some of you would be interested in observing the activities in August.
— Doug Knudson

10 MVNWR Photos

What a great day!  Nine hikers (and a few lively preschool children) visited the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016.  The weather was perfect; the "trail" was perhaps the flattest that we've ever walked.  More than a dozen species of birds showed up and we could name over half of them. A large flight of Sand Hill Cranes was taking it easy before continuing on to a winter in mid New Mexico and maybe on South. Some of them felt it appropriate to show off some of their team flying skills.

Dairy Queen cured any hunger pangs that arose after a sunny day in the refuge.  

You are welcome to join us next Monday and Wednesday at 9 a.m.  We will assure you that you won't suffer from any more flatland walking.  No surcharge for sloping ground.        —Doug Knudson   719-873-5239

H2O makes NWR


Greenie Mtn and NWR

Hey--it's my pond


No more Autumn Leaves

No more Autumn Leaves

Crane festival in Fall


A gathering before heading South

Lone Rock

A hike today took us to the beautiful Lone Rock.  It is right on the meeting of Saguache and Rio Grande Counties.  (I hadn't been there in 10 years; before then it was one of my favorite places.)  The little creek that we followed feeds the vigorous Embargo Creek downstream from where we parked. The eleven hikers made it home with only some of their shoe leather damp from numerous creek crossings. 

one little rock (but not alone)

A medium rock (not yet alone)

All the hikers

Lone Rock

From the Rock.  The trail is in the yellow strip right beneath us.

Adieu!  Down  we go.

WE invite you to join us again on Wednesday for a flat "Walk with Wildlife"  (about 3 miles in a loop).  Our plan is to visit the refuge road through the  Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge.    Usually breezy gusts suggest warm windbreakers. Tennis shoes are enough.  Binoculars are recommended.

You'll see more than you do when driving the loop.  No fear of hunters on this property.

We'll leave the South Fork Visitor Center at 9 a.m.  If it's more convenient for you, meet us at the entry parking lot (near the office), a few miles south of the Dairy Queen in Monte Vista.

Fwd: Elephant rocks hike

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dennis Shepherd <>
Date: Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 9:27 PM
Subject: Elephant rocks hike
To: Dennis Shepherd <>

Wayne led us on an interesting and educational hike today.  The BLM
has made an interpretative location about 3 miles up the Penitente
Canyon road North of   Del Norte.  Go North until you see the ANCIENT
TRAIL INTERPRETIVE CENTER sign and turn left for about 1/4 mile.  The
interpretive signs are very informative and easily understood.

We went up a series of roads until we spotted a nice place for our
lunch, about  2 1/2 miles from the truck.  The boulders and
lformations may be interpreted as animals, faces, you name it and
somebody will see it............

Doug will be leading the group Wednesday, come out and enjoy our great country.