MPEC welcomes spring with some noise!

The evening of March 21, the first full day of spring, brought about 25 folks to the MPEC, ready to rhythmically welcome back spring. And what a welcome it was. For nearly 2 hours, a circle of drums and other instruments rocked the old walls of the MPEC building. Dancing was hard to resist for several folks as a wonderful time was had by all. Drum circles have become a seasonal tradition at the MPEC, where each equinox and solstice is acknowledged with some rhythmic music. So, look for our June solstice drum circle and join us for a fun time as we welcome summer. No need for musical ability or experience, and no need to bring a drum, as we have several (but, if you have a favorite rhythm instrument, by all means bring it).
Happy spring, Dave


Spring arrives in Pueblo Mountain Park!

A sure sign of spring: the park's larger pond was ice free as of March 16 (pictured above on the 17th), which is over a week earlier than usual (although March 14 was the date in 1999, so this year is not the earliest). Over the last several years, it became ice-free somewhere between March 25 and March 30.
A hike along the Tower and Mace Trails yesterday afternoon (March 19) revealed blooming kinnikinnick, one mountain bladderpod with a couple of open buds, lots of spring beauties, a Fendler senecio with one bud showing some yellow (but not quite open yet), and a few pasque flowers open in a grassy area between the ballpark and the Devil's Canyon trailhead. New green leaves were on a few mountain mahogany (small bushes in sunny, rocky areas along Mace Trail), and the wax currant are several days with new green growth. A patch of creeping holly grape along the upper road is showing lots of round yellow buds, not quite open, but soon. So, spring is popping out all over on this 20th day of March, 2007.
Ranger Dave


Participate in a MPEC Guided Hike!

An MPEC Snowshoe Hike this past winter. Photo taken
by Hal Murray, retired professor, MPEC member, and all around great guy!
Guided Hikes – March & April
No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.
~ Proverb from Guinea

So far, winter 2007 has been a snowy one, and March and April are usually our snowiest. But, snow or no snow, these two months signal the transition from winter to spring. For our hikes these two months, it is still best to be prepared for chilly weather – wear good hiking shoes, layered clothing, hat, etc. Also bring along a water bottle and snacks on these moderately strenuous hikes that are educational and fun. Most hikes last from two to three hours and are appropriate for adults and children over 12. Group size limited to 15; members free, non-members $5. Note: If snow conditions are right during a scheduled hike, the hike may become a snowshoe outing. We provide snowshoes for our hikes. Call for details! Registration required: 719-485-4444.

Ø Sat, Mar 10, 1pm Daylight Savings / Late Winter Hike Surprise, daylight savings is a month earlier. It matters not to the natural world! Depending on conditions, we may see or hear some early breeding bird activity, and we may see a few early season blooming flowers, but we will definitely be out in Nature on this late winter hike.
Ø Sun, Mar 18, 10am, (Almost) Spring Equinox Hike The sun is halfway on its sky-climbing journey between its December low point on the winter solstice and its June high point on the summer solstice. Celebrate spring on this exhilarating hike along the trails of the park.
Ø Sun, Apr 8, 1pm, Early Spring Hike Enjoy an afternoon hike and notice how spring is beginning to take hold on the landscape of Pueblo Mountain Park.
Ø Sat, Apr 14, 10am, Early Wildflower Hike Usually, by this date, nearly a dozen species of wildflowers are already blooming in Pueblo Mountain Park, including kinnikinnick, mountain bladderpod, and Nelson larkspur. Join us as we search for these flowery signs of spring.

Winter's Snow Totals Through February

February 28th's storm brought 3" of snow to bring February's total to 15" and the winter's snow total so far to 116". By month, we've received:

October: 9.5"

November: 13"

December: 48"

January: 30.5"

February: 15"

An entire winter's average snowfall for Beulah is about 115", so anything we receive the rest of this winter will put winter 2007 that much above average snowfall! Let It Snow, Ranger Dave

A Flying Abert's Squirrel!!!

I was walking down the main road below the MP EC yesterday afternoon as the latest storm was blowing in. The trees were dancing in the strong wind. I looked up into the tops of a few tall ponderosas, swinging back and forth, when I noticed what I thought was a small black branch fall from the top of one of these trees. As soon as it hit the ground, a black Abert's squirrel took off running. The wind blew that squirrel out of the tree, free falling about 60 feet, and it literally hit the ground running, apparently uninjured! I just happened to be looking in the right place at the right time to see this happen. ~ Ranger Dave