Friday, June 19, 2009

Bumps on the trail

Yesterday, Bill and I took what we thought would be a simple hike in Palmer Park. It was a beautiful, hot day and we got a late start as I had an earlier appointment with the hematologist and then had to go visit the vampires to have blood drawn. Since I am taking Coumadin to prevent blood clots associated with Factor Five Leiden, my blood is checked on a regular basis.

Hiking was tough. I was tired, hot and thirsty. We had packed a lunch and Bill had his backpack filled with water - but neither seemed to help.

Along the trail, we spotted this House Wren building his nest. I was grateful for the rest while we took pictures. This one isn't very good, but if you look closely, you can see the wren behind a large branch, with a stick in his mouth at the entrance to his hole in the tree. He had to turn his head a couple of times to get the stick inside - but he did. Male wrens select three possible nesting sites. The female chooses the one she wants to use - and then they finish lining it with softer material before she lays her eggs.

This looks like a dandelion ready to fly its seeds where ever the wind blows - but it isn't. This seed puff was almost four inches across! I don't know what it was - but it was neat.

We finally got back home three hours after we started. I went directly to bed and slept soundly for two hours. We have no idea why I was so tired - but the nap and lots more water seemed to take care of what ever it was.

Today, I was anxious to get back on the trail - just to prove I was okay. We went to Cheyenne Canyon to hike up Mount Cutler. It's about a mile to the summit starting at an elevation of 6785 feet and climbing to 7200 feet. This is a picture of the view about half way to the top.

The trail was not difficult - an easy climb on gravel and dirt. The trail is well used and we passed quite a few other hikers.

Bill is almost to the top.

The views of Seven Falls below - in the distance - are amazing. You can see three of the seven falls in this photo.

This is the view at the top. I wish the pictures did it justice. We stopped to sit on a fallen tree and have our lunch - chicken sandwiches, trail mix (with bits of chocolate), cinnamon chips and lots of water. Nothing ever tasted so good.

When we hike, we take ski poles that Bill altered to make into hiking poles. They make climbing hills much easier. He carries a back pack with a 2 liter water bladder, extra camera batteries, lunch, rain gear (ponchos from the Dollar Store), toilet paper (and zip-lock bags to carry out what we use), a few dollars and his cell phone. We both carry binoculars and cameras. Thanks to a local yard sale, I now have a back pack and will carry over-shirts or jackets and more water for the longer hikes.

The view was spectacular, but we needed to head back down. I didn't know it at the time, but Bill was starting to get a migrane - maybe triggered by the chocolate - and he didn't have his pills.

I had just about given up hope that we would see any new birds, when this small Dark-eyed Junco caught my eye. Several junco species have been lumped together and called Dark-eyed Juncos. This is the gray-headed variety with a prominent rufous (orange) patch on his shoulders.

Just after stopping to photograph the junco, I slipped on the gravel on a steep hill and fell on my butt. All I hurt was my pride - but Bill had to help me up. At least he didn't take a picture first.


QuilterB said...

The pictures are getting better all the time!! You look like you two are having a ball!

QuilterB said...

Looks like you two are having a ball!! The pictures are great!