Morning Shots on the High Plains

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A day of target shooting on a cloudy day.

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Barn swallows were up to their usual acrobatic antics.

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Willow flycatchers were everywhere. Once we’d put enough holes in our targets for the day, I snagged my camera from the truck and bounded off to start snapping pictures.

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On the drive back I saw a number of hawks hunting.

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A barn swallow, buzzing the thistle.

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A little chirper.

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I love that you can see light through the farthest edges of this swallow’s feathers against the sky.

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Red-tailed hawks and prairie falcons appeared on telephone poles and railroad tracks, eyeing the area for any small critters moving about.

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It’s a bit of a downer having to drive back to town to return to the world again.

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Snow Hiking in Boulder

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The NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) Trailhead off of Mesa Trail.

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The Mesa Trail system in the Boulder, CO area didn’t disappoint. Craggy mountain vistas, views of the city of Boulder, birds, spring growth, icicles and stunning evergreen forests abounded.

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The really great part about hiking in the Flatirons is that within the first 10-15 minutes of walking, you’re already seeing fantastic mountain views and photo opportunities from the trail.

At this elevation, just go ahead and keep the 45SPF with your trail bag.

A curious little fellow singing to the sun.

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The trails began out of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) property where we parked. It’s an easy drive from just about anywhere to get here and parking was plenty.

I’ve also found that while everyone is usually focused on their feet, it goes a long way to be friendly and thank those who stand to the side for you, offer a comment about spots to tackle with caution you just passed or where there’s an awesome camera shot ahead.

I’m surprised by how much plant life continues to flourish in the mountains under and through the snow as the seasons change.

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Admittedly, I was a bit worried that I would struggle with the winter out here and possibly find myself not enjoying it. But I love winter so far here! And for me this includes still getting out on weekends when to enjoy the gorgeous country that is just a few miles down the road.

Don’t Forget to Look Back Sometimes

Sunday morning, I was treated to my first hike in Eldorado Canyon State Park.

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It was a perfect day to be outdoors.

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It was in the high thirties with a light breeze (brisk!), beautifully sunny and the ground  ground was either hard-packed ice, several inches of snow or a slush-mud mix that you sank at least an inch down into with each step.

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I was warm and toasty the rest of the day. My base layers are a merino wool mix, yet thinner than a t-shirt and worth every darned cent.

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I had also picked up some proper hiking shoes the day before; a pair of waterproof Merrell hikers. Admittedly, I would have been miserable and heading home early if not for those shoes.

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The views of the Flatirons from the Canyon State Park trails were stunning. Craggy and sharply defined, these paths made for a perfect starter hike.

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We were treated to open vistas, crystalline creeks partially frozen over and thick evergreen trees that lined wandering foot paths.

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As we neared the end of the trail, I turned and was treated to the best view of the day.

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I can’t wait to head back to try other trails and do the same trail again (only this time on dry dirt vs. the snow and slush). It’s truly God’s country out here.