Saturday, August 15, 2020

Old West Balloon Fest Night Glow

Tonight the Old West Balloon Fest night glow was taking place at the field near the Five Rocks Amphitheater and so we decided to take a short walk across Five Rocks Road to check it out. We are sure glad we did! Here's some of what we saw:

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Cedar Canyon Wildlife Management Area: North Trail

 It is forecast to be hot today, but I wanted to get out and go for a hike somewhere not too far from home. I opted to head back to Cedar Canyon Wildlife Management Area and check out the northern-most of the trails to the boundary of the wildlife management area. And so I set out today, arriving at the trailhead just as the sun rose

for my hike along the dusty road. The early morning sun cast a reddish light on the bluffs.

The lower sections of trail were loaded with different species of wildflowers. There were lots of bush morning-glory blooming, 

along with Missouri goldernod,

Rocky Mountain bee plant,

scarlet gaura,

whorled milkweed,

and even a very late-blooming yucca.

I headed further up the trail, climbing into an area of Ponderosa pines that reminded me a bit of the Black Hills.

Soon enough I came to the boundary fence which was marked for Platte River Basin Environments land on the other side.

The land on the other side looked pretty similar to what I had already traversed. 

Some day I would like to go explore there, but now it was time to turn around and head back the way I had come. As I descended I noticed a few more wildflowers in bloom; dotted gayfeather

and prickly poppy.

I also found a couple of turkey feathers 

and saw an ornate box turtle as I approached my car. 

Not a bad way to spend a hot summer morning.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Paddling Center Lake at Bridgeport State Recreation Area

 With Sierra about to head back to school, and Noelle getting ready to start her new job, today was our last chance to have a family adventure for a while. I thought it would make a good day to get the canoe out, since we hadn't paddled in a while. We decided to head east to Bridgeport State Recreation Area. The recreation area is a series of old sand pits, now filled with water to create some lakes. We made the short drive and put our canoe in the water at Center Lake.

Center Lake is a pretty small body of water with an island in the middle. We paddled around the outside perimeter of the lake in a clockwise direction passing campsites and boat ramps. 

When we approached the swimming beach, we beached the canoe and got out to stretch our legs.

Sierra and I went for a swim in the warm water.

We didn't see much wildlife, just a few domestic ducks.

After one lap around the lake, we paddled a second one, this time staying closer to the island in the center. Sierra even tried paddling for a bit in the bow.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Guernsey Ruts and Register Cliff

 Today Noelle, Sierra and I decided to get out of town and do some exploring in the Fort Laramie area. We drove west into Wyoming, through Torrington and stopped at Fort Laramie National Historic Site where we ate a picnic lunch and explored the grounds. 

We left Fort Laramie after lunch and headed a little further west to the Guernsey Ruts State Historic Site. Noelle and I had both been to the ruts before, but this time we explored the area more and found more ruts than the ones that the paved trail leads to.

From the ruts we made the short drive over to Register Cliff. I had been to Register Cliff back in November and was disappointed at all the modern graffiti. However, this time I was able to look past that and appreciate the older inscriptions.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Medicine Bow National Forest: Lake Marie and Lake Marie Falls

This morning we awoke in Saratoga, ate breakfast, packed up camp, and hit the road headed into the Snowy Range. I had spend a little bit of time in the Snowy Range previously, having summited Medicine Bow Peak back in 2009. I was excited to bring Noelle and Sierra back to this very beautiful area. 

It was cool and crisp as we made our way into the higher elevations. We stopped at a pullout and walked around a bit in the beautiful scenery. 

There may even have been a few snowballs thrown.

After a short time, we moved on higher up into the mountains to Lake Marie for our hike. Immediately, the scenery a jaw-droppingly beautiful!

We made our way around the south shore of Lake Marie, stopping frequently to admire the scenery.

We found a snow patch and walked over to it to see how Rosie would react to snow. She had never before seen snow in her young life and she seemed to really enjoy digging in it.

Eventually we moved on, following the paved trail higher along the shore of the lake.

Soon we reached the road that leads to Mirror Lake. We decided to walk the road back to the start of our hike. 

There were lots of great views of Mirror Lake!

There were lots of wildflowers to look at as we walked. Asters, 


and a flower that grew in the wet areas where snow was melting.

As we neared the parking area where we had started our hike, I noticed that there appeared to be a trail on the other side of the road. Sure enough there is a short loop trail there that leads to views of Lake Marie Falls. 

We walked the short loop and then headed down out of the mountains and into Laramie for lunch before making our way home.