September in the Colorado Rockies

Even when I live and work in a place as beautiful as Estes Park, CO. for the summer I find it necessary to get away for a few days for a change of pace, and in September I decided to take a trip up the Poudre Canyon and stay at Long Draw Reservoir for a couple of nights.

It’s one of my favorite places to go moose hunting; with my camera that is.

I drove all the way from Hwy 34 near Loveland, to Long Draw Reservoir (which is right at the northern-most boundary of Rocky Mountain National Park, and about a three hour drive around windy, curvy, dipping and swaying back roads), and only shared my side of the road with six other vehicles the entire drive. After a summer in jam-packed, nose to tail tourist traffic, driving with nobody bearing down on my bumper was sheer heaven.

As I gained altitude I noticed that the aspen trees were already turning, and realized that fall had arrived to the Rocky Mountains about two weeks early. It had been a very wet summer, and I suspected that snowfall would not be too far off.

I was here during moose bow-hunting season, and I noticed a difference in the number of moose I saw and guessed they had gone deep into the wilderness away from the roads. Around this area, they are normally plentiful, but it was more challenging this time and I only saw two. It was also very smoky in the area due to wildfires in the western states and one fire not far from the canyon, so the views were subdued. However, I managed to get my favorite spot which had a great view of the reservoir and was normally a good place to sit back and watch the moose in the wetlands below.

The first night was bitterly cold, and the morning brought a heavy frost. I was transfixed by the beauty of the frost, and the mist coming off the nearby pond as the sun came up. It was stunningly beautiful, and I had it all to myself. There were hunters in the area, but their camps were way down the road and I had this little patch of heaven all to myself.

I did meet a couple of other people. One gentleman in a van stopped by to say hi. He was a photographer from Fort Collins, and every time he drove by he dropped in for a chat. I was also visited by a hunter who said he’d seen me with my camera and wanted to tell me there was a huge bull moose just down the road a bit. I thanked him, grabbed my camera and walked down the road to the spot he mentioned. When I got there and found the moose, I was surprised to see a man standing there throwing rocks and sticks in the general direction of the moose, but the moose was completely ignoring him. When the man finally saw me on the hillside above him, he looked all embarrassed and scuttled away saying something about trying to get the moose to head in my direction, so he’d pass by my camp. Now wasn’t that sweet. Of course, I had a ton of other thoughts too, but we won’t go there.

I spent two glorious nights in utter quiet and the healing power of nature, before heading back to the rat-race of Fort Collins and the Front Range of Colorado to do errands, and then back to Estes Park.

The rest of September was spent working extra days and saving as much money as possible for the winter.  There was the crazy weekend of The Scottish Festival, I had an unexpected visit from some friends I’d made at the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous in January 2017. They came to Estes with some friends who were looking to buy a home here. We spent a lovely day together hiking and catching up.

The first snowfall came around the middle of September, and another later in the month. The mountains where white, and Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park was closed to traffic on and off as the month passed by. They normally try to keep it open until around the middle of October, but there was a chance it would be an early closure this year.

October was on the way, and I was looking forward to getting on the road again and exploring some new roads. I simply grow tired of being in one place for long, and five months sometimes seems like

forever to a wanderer like myself. I truly wish I could figure out a way to make a living while traveling, but all the roads I’ve explored that manner have come up with nada so far.

Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature

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