Monday, July 25, 2016

Yampa River Trail

Osprey and Chicks
This morning we explored the Botanic Garden and the Yampa River Core Trail. As we started on the path in the garden, we saw two people with a spotting scope. Ah! Birders! They were nice people and talked with us for an hour about the best places to go birding. An Osprey platform had birds nesting this summer for the first time since it was put up three years ago, so the birders were excited about it.
 The Mom tried to call the Dad, but he didn't come up while we were there. Found him downstream a little later though.
The Park is free and open to the public, to enjoy the flowers and the trees, a place to revel in Nature and a hideaway from the stress of modern life. It is a place for summer music festivals, a place for weddings and yoga and a resource to see native plants. The Yampa River starts at 12,000 feet in the Flattop mountains, 50 miles to the south, and empties into the Green River at 4,000 feet, 120 miles to the West, and eventually into the mighty Colorado. The Park sits at 6800 feet above sea level, but, through the use of microclimates designed into the Park, it supports both alpine plants and desert plants found in the Yampa River Basin.
The Service Berry finished bearing fruit weeks and weeks ago in Kentucky, but we found many bushes with not quite ripe berried. The Cedar Waxwings are taking care of all the ripe berries.
Red-naped Sapsucker 
A Red-naped Sapsucker preened and checked all the willow trees for juicy bugs.
Lots of tubers enjoyed the river today. So many it would have spoiled nature's serenity for me. We can't decide if we want to tube on our own, or take a float trip with a guide on the Colorado River. The indecision must be an age thing. Plus, I could take my camera on the float trip, but not in the tubes. The core trail is advertised for walkers and bikers, but the bikers go so fast, they tend to take over. Some, but not all, are polite enough to say something as they pass you.
Sweet Pea Restaurant
By the time we reached downtown, I was ready to have lunch. We checked out the riverfront restaurants and enjoyed our lunch under the shade of a humongous willow tree! The city sponsors a free transit system, so we took the bus back up to our car at the garden, then returned to the condo for a much needed nap.
Twice a week, the gondola stays open in the evening for sunset on the mountaintop. A very enjoyable ride and fantastic views of the valley and wildflowers.

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