Saturday, September 19, 2009

As Seasons Change...

Hubster and I just returned from a very relaxing and enjoyable 12 days out in the RV.  We haven't gone very much in the RV lately, busy and diesel fuel prices finally dropped over the last couple of months, so then it was a matter of - when??  We planned our trip to Colorado, for one granddaughter's first birthday and then we were just planning on nothing but driving to an area, staying for awhile and moving on when the mood struck us. We didn't really get any further (for any length of time) than our first camping spot, which was "Sugarloaf" campground (near the Henderson Mill) between Silverthorne and Kremmling, Colorado.   


  We have stayed here before about 5 or 6 years ago, so knew which campsite to go for, and go for it we did and stayed there for 6 days. We were the only ones there except for 2 days there was one other camper - way at the other end of the campsite loop. 
This is WHY we chose this site, it sits right on the bend of the Williams Fork River.

 
On our last visit to this area, a moose came right up out of the water in a rainstorm. 
At this time, this year, it is hunting season for muzzle loaders.  We knew going into the area, that our attention would be in contrast to other visitors.  We were asked on one occasion, by some very heavily camoflaged and orange capped individuals - "Have you seen a bull moose in the area?" Of course, we hadn't at that point, but on our way back from a photo op and supply trip...this is what we encountered...shhhh, don't say a word!!
(on the move!)
A cow and a bull crossed the road right in front of us.  I was so excited about the prospect of catching them on camera that I had many photos with too much "camera shake", but at least I caught the massive size and powerful muscles these animals display.  They were just too cool for words!
Then of course, the mountains (and I am sure any other local wildlife) were aware of a couple of "out-of-the-area" visitors...
BaileyHasty Herman and Chaco
If you have visited Colorado this summer, you know that there is a pine beetle infestation that has left many lodgepole pine areas quite devastated.  It is apparent that the problem is out of control.  We estimated that about 60% of the trees in this area were dead.  Here is what a lot of areas looked like, sad as it is.

The brown/orange you see in the foreground show those very brittle and dry pine needles.    To our dismay, this campground just wasn't as beautiful as it once was, due to the need to cut down all the trees in the camping areas.  Dead trees fall and catch on fire easily.  If there were lightning strike, the whole forest would probably go "poof".  This area was made for wheelchair access via a boardwalk and special campsite features.  The boardwalk is all but falling apart...this situation a part of the economic downturn and the recession - no doubt.  Trees have been cut down, but just stacks of them and stacks of "slash" litter the campsites - and have been there for quite awhile.  It's like there WAS a plan and then that plan got scratched. 
U.S. Forest Service needs some help...wish it weren't coming to this, but seems that it is.
 I took along my pochade and my new pastel set-up for some plein air painting.  It amazes me, how you really have to be aware of the changing light, especially when painting in mountain areas, as you can imagine a cloudy/sunny day, how the sunlight drifts in and out of shadow. 

More later....

3 comments:

Mark Bridges said...

Looks like a way cool adventure. When i lived in Alaska, every now a then a moose would be just standing there looking in the window.

Pattie Wall said...

They are so big!! I have heard many stories about moose, some good, some not so good...but hey, they are wild...

Barbara Pask said...

Twelve days sounds great. We bought a little pop up this year and have done several mini vacations and it was such fun. Probably down the road we will invest in a larger one. Glad to see you out there painting, what fun.