Happy 50th Birthday, Earth Day!

Two weeks ago Kristina and I went for a hike to celebrate Earth Day. Since we hadn’t had gone out on Easter Sunday the previous week – due to cold, stormy weather – we brought along our Easter baskets and boiled eggs and had a picnic.

We hiked to one of our favorite places. It’s nameless on the map, but we since we always seem to see coyote tracks there and once saw a coyote nearby we named it Coyote Canyon. We enjoy getting photos of coyotes and other animals with the trail camera that we have positioned there.

As we hiked I realized that while some things along the way were very familiar to me there were other things that I’d either forgotten about or never noticed before. I had thoughts like “I don’t remember noticing that little ledge before”. It’s fun to go back to the same area on a regular basis for the comfort of the familiar and the excitement of things that are new or hadn’t been noticed before.

Visiting natural areas and getting to know them can inspire us to want to protect them. And wanting to protect individual areas can help us to want to protect this great Earth that we live on.

In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day here are fifty photos, with notes, from our hike (if you click on the first photo you can look at each of them one at a time as a slideshow and read the notes).

 

Wonderful Lives

Kristina and I have made an annual holiday tradition of watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” – with its message about one person’s life making a difference to so many other lives. This seems especially pertinent to me now because over the past several months so many people I was connected with passed away – including a couple of cousins, three aunts, and my blacksmithing teacher – and I’ve thought about how each of them made a difference to me and to the other people around them. Continue reading

Bear Hike At Pole Creek Canyon

For our latest weekly adventure, Chad took me up to a place called Pole Creek Canyon.  We started our hike off-trail through some lovely Aspen forest, Chad pointing out bear claw marks on trees, and rocks overturned by bears looking for ants. Being pretty new to this type of hiking, that is, hiking in territory occupied by large carnivores, the bear info didn’t exactly make me feel relaxed.

Chad let me pick our direction so I took us toward a clearing, where we found a dirt road. We decided to follow the road (recently used by ATV’s, much to Chad’s dismay) through more Aspen forest. We kept waiting for the road to end, but it didn’t so we decided to leave the path and clamber up a hill, following a rocky path blazed by cattle (cow pie, anyone?).

As I emerged onto the top of the hill a beautiful vista opened up. I stood and looked around me, realizing that the mountains in every direction were all wild country. I noticed a recurrent theme to these hikes – my concern about being off trail in wild animal land would be washed away again and again by the beauty of the landscapes. I thought about the bear signs we’d seen and realized that even if there were, most certainly, bear in this area, there weren’t many and our chances of running into any were small. However, this didn’t stop me from considering my emergency bear encounter plan: sing opera, really loud.

After hanging out to do some yoga poses and take some photos on our little summit, we started walking back in the direction of our car. Chad noticed some interesting rocks, and then something even more interesting: seashell fossils in some limestone. Whoa Nelly! This was exciting stuff for me, my first wild fossil, out here in the middle of nowhere. There were actually 3 little shells in the rock. It’s mind-blowing to think of the passage of time, that this area was an ocean or inland sea millions of years ago, and that these little signs of that past epoch were still up here on this hill, revealed by ancient erosion, but untouched. And putting it into context like that, my bear fears became very, very small.

 

Read Chad’s chronicle of our hike and see his amazing photos.