Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ernesto in the Rockies

Once the offspring are out of your house, you can look forward to visits. Ernesto traveled West last week to pay a call on us in our e-partment, and to see his brother Heinz. Ernesto's girlfriend Ruby came too, her first trip to Colorado.

Ernesto, Ruby and I went hiking in the Rockies.
Above timberline it was windy but a fine day for hiking. When we stopped for lunch in the shelter of some rocks we tried to attract the curious pikas with tortilla chips - but they were too skittish.

Though our trail ran mostly through National
Forest Land, we did cross briefly into Rocky
Mountain National Park
- whether by design or
chance, that short portion of our hike offered the best views of the high peaks. Here you can see the south side of Long's Peak - not Colorado's highest peak by any means, but one of the most spectacular - Long's has the large flat summit.

Its false summit Mt. Meeker stands to its right (southeast). From this vantage we're right at timberline where the vegetation changes from limber and bristlecone pines to alpine tundra and lots of rocks.

On our hike down, we paused by a stream to
admire the wildflowers, including Indian paintbrush - in this picture the eight-inch-high flowers dwarf a baby blue spruce tree.

We also saw tiny birds, a hunting hawk and a great many other wildflowers - it's been a wet late spring (snow through the end of May in the mountains) which has kept the high country green unusually late into the summer. We saw a couple of snowbanks but most have melted by now, feeding the small streams.

No Ernesto visit would be complete without Scrabble -

here's our aesthetic point for the post:

Ernesto played his final tray with DROLLER, making 3 additional words in the process and coming from behind to win.

He didn't like my triple word score bingo REARGUES so I suppose his word was revenge.

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