RMNP almost ate us alive…

Well, that might be a bit dramatic.

Got up and out the door at FIVE FUCKING AM with Zoot, and beat it north to Rocky Mountain National Park, free on MLK Day, yo!

Stopped in Boulder for some breakfast, and then a smooth ride all the way out to the southern range of RMNP, down to the trailhead for Cub Lake:

As we were pulling into Moraine Park, I had Zoot pull over, as I’d already spotted what I’d wanted to get out so early to see: elk, tons of ’em, bedded down on the far side of this meadow. I could tell that he was dubious about what I was trying to point out — rather than berate him about it, I knew we would eventually get close enough to prove it. (Click this next picture for the fullsize & a whole lotta elk ass…)

I wound around the meadow pictured above to the right, trying to stick to the tree line and not just stomp up to the elk and bump them up over the ridge. Zoot stayed about 20-30 yards behind as I moved from rock to tree to clump, trying to get closer.

Of course, I had no illusions that I was anything like sly or stealthy — the elk knew we were there the moment we drove onto the plain, and they warily eyed my progress across the meadow.

The big rack right in the middle of this next shot, he faced and stared me down for a good 30 seconds, chuffed a couple times, and then stalked diffidently off.

As the herd wandered up over the ridge, Zoot and I turned around and went back across the meadow, as Cub Lake lie in exactly the opposite direction of where we’d gone to see the elk.

Cub Lake Trail runs right down the valley cut by Cub Creek, and features great views of Mt. Julian, which was locked in with a variety of odd cloud banks most of the day:

Down at the lake, the wind was blowing crazy hard through the valley. I took a bunch of pictures, but got fascinated with the snow blowing across the lake, tried to take a bunch of time lapses, failed miserably, and stomped away from the lake without any really good shots of it, so you’ll just have to imagine it. Or join me the next time I head out…

It was an awesome hike, just the right level of challenging for my old, tired ass. In spite of the variety of misses and forgottens (soup, hot drinks, a lighter even!), we still had a great time and burned a bunch of damn calories.

[TRIGGER WARNING: REALITY AHEAD, YOU SOFT-HEADED PANSIES.]

After the hike, as we were on our way out, we came upon this pleasant little tableau:

Here’s what I think I know: dead young elk, female coyote (or coywolf?) trying to eat and getting harassed by a trio of magpies. We sat and watched this for about 10 minutes–it was a glorious cap to a most excellent day. Here’s some more — I love her smile in this first one:

GIBBETS! WE HAVE GIBBETS!

[TRIGGER WARNING OVER: YOU MAY SAFELY TAKE YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS NOW.]

So, I’m OK with just how little traffic I get here, but I don’t always know just how much of it gets seen, or if I’m just mostly being browsed by spiders. The new year has me thinking about my habits and methods, and this site here is one thing I’m really thinking about. I do love having the history around, but that’s a vain aspect of this.

I guess the whole damn thing is truly vain. But still, wondering if I should keep bothering. I keep thinking re-design, and some of the things I’m considering for my future may drive what I do here…

I don’t leave the comments open for very long on a new post (14 days, to be exact) — if you’ve read this far, I’d really like to hear from you in the comments. Thanks, and Happy New Year!