A delightful spring afternoon hike!

The temps were not that warm, it was kind of breezy, but yesterday's afternoon solo hike in Pueblo Mountain Park was still a delight to all of me. I first hiked to Devil's Canyon to see some major spring runoff. The video of "Devil's Dribble" (the name of the occasional creek that runs through the drainage) shows the waterfall at about as full as it ever gets (not counting floods from major storms). I then headed up the Northridge Trail. Blooming flowers I spotted along the trail included mountain bladderpod (pictured here), kinnikinnick (with more blossoms than I can ever recall seeing), spring beauty, golden smoke, and mountain candytuft. I sat up at the top of the canyon for about an hour and watched turkey vultures floating by, enjoyed a strengthening sun, and spotted (I heard it first) a yellow-rumped warbler, a migrant that just arrived from wherever it spent the winter.

We have a trails weekend scheduled for May 22/23 where we plan on doing some more work to the Devil's Canyon Trail. It's a great way to spend a day or a weekend, and it is being led by the wonderful folks at Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado. Please sign up at www.voc.org - find your way to the Mountain Park Environmental Center project.

Happy trails, Ranger Dave


South Creek is running heavy through the park!

I took this short clip of the creek, just above where it feeds into the park's pond, running heavy with snowmelt as spring grabs hold of the land. The pond is as full as it gets with the spillway roaring with overflow. Even when up on the Mace Trail, you can hear the roar of the creek - for a little while, anyway, it's trying to be a small river.


Busy day at MPEC!

Pictured here is Maya Avina taking advantage of the warmer days to set the beautiful tiles on the new benches around the lodge's fire circle. Maya and several local artists created lovely Nature-themed tiles to decorate the stone pillars...come up and see for yourself just how beautiful these are. And here are a few of the 70 or so Earth Studies students (from Corwin and South Park Schools in Pueblo) finishing up a day of basic ornithology lessons (birding) with the necessary assessments that we do to quantify the impact of our programs on academics. We are pleased that this school year, students are performing an average of 48 percentage points higher on post-tests than they did on the pre-tests they took a few weeks earlier. And, I am also pleased to say that it sure feels and looks much more like spring in the park today - that is, spring minus the wind. We have a wildflower hike scheduled for Sunday the 18th at 10am, and a Lodge Open House set for Sunday between 2 and 4pm. Please join us for one or both of these. Happy trails, Dave


The wind howled through Beulah today!

It certainly wasn't a still night last night, but as the morning grew older, the wind really picked up. Trees came down, being out was no fun, and the pond - well, its winter ice is now history. The wind began to calm as the afternoon wore on - it's still breezy out there, but not at all like it was mid-day, when it was really howling. I took these photos around 4:30pm today, so April 5 goes down as the day the winter ice was fully gone from the pond.


Easter brings the first pasqueflower after all!

After writing in this morning's blog of my unsuccessful search for a blooming pasqueflower, I walked up the steps from my house (just across the road from the park), and there in the sunny grass was this lovely "Easter"flower. So, the park's should be popping out any day now. Happy spring!

"April, come she will...

...when streams are ripe and swelled with rain" (or, snowmelt). The pond is now about 85% ice- free. The photos show the pond at around 11am today. A morning walk along the park's upper road revealed plenty of blooming spring beauties. I searched for but did not find any pasqueflowers (pasque means Easter in Latin, but the snowy March has many wildflowers, including pasqueflowers, moving slow). Mountain bladderpods are leafed out and are probably not too far from showing their little 4-petaled yellow flowers, and several others shouldn't be too long now either.


The wind continues...

...as the ice diminishes. The large section of ice remaining in the pond used to be up against the left or far shore, but has taken to being somewhat mobile in its final stage. It is now lying across the shorter width of the pond as the sun and wind continue to do their slow but relentless work on it. Another day or two and I believe the pond will have fully shed its winter garb.


The melting continues...

... as fickle April weather arrives - a cold day of sun, clouds, snow flurries, and lots of wind. These photos were taken this morning - some of the open water had a thin layer of ice after a chilly night. The remaining large sections of ice are moving around as they continue to melt.


April 1 at the pond!

My granddaughter Scarlett helped me survey the melting of the pond ice this morning on a warm and breezy first day of April. I'd say the pond is about 60% ice free as of around 10am today.