Picturesque – and then some

We hit road construction soon after we left Steamboat Springs. Still, the scenery as we climbed through the mountains and across northern Colorado was inspiring. By mid-afternoon we arrived at Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge, created to provide a habitat for nesting migratory birds.

We drove the 6-mile auto tour route to see birds but were surprised to be greeted by unfamiliar animals.

It took asking around (where we got incorrect guesses) and a bit of research online to discover the animals were black-tailed prairie dogs.

It turns out there are 5 distinct species of prairie dogs: black-tailed, white-tailed, Gunnison’s, Utah, and Mexico. We saw a number of the black-tailed prairie dogs as we drove through the refuge, but that number didn’t compare to a town in Texas “reported to cover 25,000 sq mi (64,000 km2) and included 400,000,000 individuals” that we read about on Wikipedia.

We took off in the late afternoon for our lodging that night, an AirBnB in Woods Landing-Jelm, Wyoming (population 97 in the 2010 census).

Judy and Dennis greeted us warmly and welcomed us to their hand-built house.

Over the years they’ve collected lots of old furniture and architectural features like this door.

Our favorites were the furniture built by Dennis himself.

We enjoyed this creative and hard-working couple, wonderful AirBnB hosts. We were sorry to leave after just one night, but we needed to get to little Centennial, population 270, to meet our friends.

DeAnne and John (with Beth in the photo) met us last year for camping and hiking in Utah.  This time we’d all stay at the historic Mountain View Hotel in Centennial (behind us).

We consulted guidebooks for the most scenic hike in the area: the Lakes Trail, with the trailhead starting near Lake Marie.

We hiked on the trail which meandered past many lakes – Marie, Mirror, Lookout, Lewis as well as a number of unnamed ponds.

We stopped often just to enjoy the view and of course, to observe the wildflowers and birds.  This was the first time we had all seen a pine grosbeak, which dutifully posed for us and seemed in no hurry to fly away.

We first camped near Medicine Bow 40 years ago and have returned many times since.

We’ve hiked in many, many places and think the combination of scenery and hiking in the Snowy Range is amongst our favorite. (It’s also closer than our other favorites: Iceland, Switzerland, and New Zealand.) It was time for another visit to get in a few hikes, and we discovered that it was as good as we remembered.

 

August 2018

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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3 Responses to Picturesque – and then some

  1. This scenery is spectacular. I love the quilt on your unique bed.

  2. What fun to ride along with you through your photos and narrative on this leg of your trip. I love the unique log bed and can understand why you enjoyed your overnight stay at this AirBnB. Happy hiking! Anita

  3. Mackenzie says:

    Wow oh wow, what a just tremendous trip! I cannot get over the beauty of these pictures. And so fascinating about the prairie dogs too!

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