August 12, 2016 Twin Lakes, Colorado

Along the Road to Cottonwood Pass
Along the Road to Cottonwood Pass

A Day Trip Over Cottonwood Pass

On the Road to Cottonwood Pass
On the Road to Cottonwood Pass

Yet another wonderful blue sky Colorado day so I was up early and headed south to travel the road over Cottonwood Pass.

Along the Road to Cottonwood Pass
Along the Road to Cottonwood Pass
Early Morning Fishermen
Early Morning Fishermen

In my Colorado Benchmark Atlas, I noticed a note on the map showing a Mountain Goat Viewing Area down a side road off the road to the pass, so I ventured down that-away. The viewing area was on the opposite side of the road from this small lake, dotted with early morning fisherman.

A Pair of Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels
A Pair of Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels

Now there certainly was some very mountain “goaty” looking terrain down the road, but the only wildlife I encountered were these two ground squirrels. I spent quite a bit of time scanning the vertical cliffs above the road with my binos, but did not find any goats.

Along the Road to Cottonwood Pass
Along the Road to Cottonwood Pass
Along the Road to Cottonwood Pass
Along the Road to Cottonwood Pass

As was the case with my trip over Independence Pass a couple of days ago, the scenery along the road was nothing short of breathtaking.

Along the Road to Cottonwood Pass
Along the Road to Cottonwood Pass

The road is paved all the way to the pass  ( elevation 12,126′ ) from the east side and turns into a fairly wide, pretty much great gravel road down the west side. There are some switchbacks on the west side and short sections of washboarded surface, but all in all, a good gravel road, as witnessed by the number of large 5th wheels and motorhomes traversing the route to Taylor Park Reservoir.

On the Road to Cottonwood Pass
On the Road to Cottonwood Pass
On the Road to Cottonwood Pass
On the Road to Cottonwood Pass
On the Road to Cottonwood Pass
On the Road to Cottonwood Pass

I wonder if this scenery eventually gets taken for granted by folks that live here?

On the Road to Cottonwood Pass
On the Road to Cottonwood Pass
Taylor Reservoir From Cottonwood Pass
Taylor Reservoir From Cottonwood Pass

This is a distant shot of Taylor Park Reservoir where there are two campgrounds, a primitive one at the north end with 6 or 7 nice flat level pull throughs for large rigs, and a nice more developed large campground at the south end that had many sites with utilities and several were large enough for big rigs.

At the reservoir, I turned around and retraced my steps back home, a yet another gorgeous trip through the mountains of Colorado.

Thank you for shopping Amazon from my site!

When you click through to shop Amazon from here, I get a tiny commission, one that does not in any way impact what you pay, and all those tiny commissions eventually add up and that helps me keep this blog going !


 

August 11, 2016 Twin Lakes, Colorado

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks

The Blue Cup Returns to Action

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks

Being unable to locate any wildlife on the roads here in the mountains of Colorado, to get my wildlife fix, I was forced to dig out the old blue metal coffee cup and lure in what wildlife I could find here at the campsite.

By right clicking on any image, you should an option to view a larger, shaper image in a new window or tab.

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk

A little on the ” Blue Cup ” can be found in this older post, from my campsite in Pagosa Springs, where I first captured a couple of chipmunks trying to gain sole possession of a source of food.

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks

Here at the Lakeview Campground, I have Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels, at least three of them, in addition to about eight Least Chipmunks, and a flock of Juncos all competing peacefully for bounty contained in the cup and scattered around it on my picnic table.

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels and Least Chipmunks
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels and Least Chipmunks

Whereas the two chipmunks back at Pagosa Springs aggressively would drive the other away, here everyone seems willing to share the bounty. I have seen no aggression between species or individuals of the same species. Even the Juncos would hop right into the midst of feeding chipmunks to grab their fair share of seeds.

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrels
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunk

I started shooting at mid day and experimented with a couple of different backgrounds ….

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel and Least Chipmunks

… but wasn’t really pleased with the results.

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel
Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel

So, bright and early the next morning, I moved my setup to the other end of the picnic table and waited for the sun to poke it’s head over the mountain to the east, and found the perfect background … the shadows of the surrounding pines.

Least Chipmunks
Least Chipmunks
Least Chipmunks
Least Chipmunks

There are times when there are as many as five little chipmunks all gathered around the cup chowing down, or waiting to get a spot inside the cup where the real goldmine of seeds is located.

Least Chipmunks and Junco
Least Chipmunks and Junco

Two or three Juncos will quite often come in to share the feast. They appear to have no fear of hopping right in amongst the chipmunks or the much larger squirrels.

Junco and Least Chipmunks
Junco and Least Chipmunks

The wonderful lighting conditions only last for an hour or so until the sun gets high enough to start throwing some bright areas into the background, so I have to wait another day to get more shots with this dark background. I’m afraid you haven’t seen the last of these little guys .. they continue to just crack me up.

Thank you for shopping Amazon from my site!

When you click through to shop Amazon from here, I get a tiny commission, one that does not in any way impact what you pay, and all those tiny commissions eventually add up and that helps me keep this blog going !