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Sunday, June 2, 2024

Wildflowers and Bears

After a family gathering in Nederland, Katie and I stopped at NCAR to look for wildflowers. We've seen a lot of photos of the Chautauqua area with the fields filled with wildflowers. To try and get away from the crowds and to avoid having to pay for parking, we went to NCAR to hike part of the Mallory Cave trail. The area at first glance didn't have a ton of wildflowers, but enough to keep us happy. As soon as we made it up and over the ridge where the water tank is we were surrounded by tons of wildflowers.

We were concerned about the heat since it was about 80 degrees in Boulder. But there was a breeze and a completely overcast sky which made the hike tolerable and not too hot. The overcast skies made for better lighting photographing the flowers anyway, so it turned out to be a really nice day for a hike.

We turned around after a mile to make it a 2-mile hike. On the way back, I looked up to see a bear running across a field about 300 feet in front of us. I've never seen a bear in the wild before, and with how busy of an area Boulder is I didn't figure that I would have seen on here, let alone in the middle of the day. The bear was running away from us, so we weren't concerned, but it was a spectacular sighting.

LocoweedSouth of the FlatironsSidebells PenstemonYoung LupineTallMouse EarsBear!More PenstemonFlatirons and FlowersBlanketflowerTent Catipillars

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Wildflowers and Insects

Last year around this same time we hiked Button Rock Mountain and noticed an abundance of wildflowers. This isn't the first time we have found wildflowers in this area in early June, so in a hunt for wildflowers that's where our destination was today.

The full hike to the top of Button Rock Mountain is almost 9 miles, which is about double what Katie can do without serious ankle pain. So we went as far as she felt comfortable with the goal of hiking at least 3 miles. We ended up doing just over 4 and almost 1,000 feet of elevation gain. The hike was filled with wildflowers so we didn't mind that we didn't make it the whole way to Button Rock Mountain. Besides, it was a very hazy day due to both poor air quality and a lot of moisture in the air.

Luckily, the temperature was very mild. The past week has been 90+ degree days in town, and this hike wasn't that high up in the mountains. But this weekend was a little bit cooler which let us do this hike without dying from the heat. It was maybe just a little warmer than we would have liked but overall it was a comfortable hike.

Morning DewColumbineFalse SolomonButtery BackgroundGolden BannerFilmy Dome SpiderSnapdragon SkullcapWild WifeCraneStackedCuckoo WaspWild IrisLittle Bit of MountainsCanyonLongs and Meeker

Sunday, June 16, 2024

Setting Moon

Since we have a fantastic view of the mountains from our backyard, I've been wanting to capture a sunset or a moonset right between Longs Peak and Mount Meeker. Using one of the photography apps that I have, I have been waiting for the sun or moon to set in just the right spot. The sun only sets in this area twice a year - in February and October, and that path is very predictable that if I miss it by a day I can easily shoot it the next day in a slightly different spot. But since the moon's path is (seemingly) more random, it sets in that area about about once per month. If I miss it by a day, the moon sets in a drastically different spot (which is still predictable, but not close enough for me to get a second try).

The first potential moon setting since I started tracking it was on June 16th, in the middle of the night at 2am. I didn't have high expectations because it was night, and that assumption was correct. You can't even see the mountains in the photos when exposing the moon correctly. But this photoshoot taught me that the angle of the moon off the horizon when it sets behind the mountains is 2.6°. Now that I know that, I can more precisely plan out where I need to be the next time the moon is setting in that area.

I calculated the moonset to be right between Longs and Meeker as it crossed the horizon, so The moon set behind the mountains just to the South of where I wanted it to. But I figured that would be the case.

This will be a patient photo shoot. It might take me several years to get it right. But hopefully, I have enough failed photoshoots and learn enough of how to get it right before a super moon on October 15th which happens to set right where I want it to.

A Few Minutes to MoonsetPitch Black

Monday, June 17, 2024

Lost Lake

I took the day off work to hike with Katie. She already had the day off, but it was only one of a few 3-day weeks she gets so we wanted to make the best of it. We wanted to go camping, but we had a wedding to go to on Sunday night, which took up one of our weekend days. So with Saturday dedicated to chores and Sunday dedicated to the wedding, we spent Monday hiking.

We choose to do Lost Lake which starts at the Hessie Trailhead. Since it was a weekday, parking was easy. On the weekends you have to take a shuttle, assuming you can get a parking spot where the shuttle picks you up. Not only was getting to the trailhead easier on a weekday, but the trail wasn't nearly as busy as it would have been on a weekend. So overall, this was a good hike to have chosen for a weekday since we rarely hike on weekdays.

This area had lots of wildflowers. Wildflowers were the focus of this hike just like all the other recent hikes we've been on. The lake itself that we got to was nice and a good place to rest with decent views, but the abundance of wildflowers was what we were after, and the hike delivered.

Small LakeWild ButterflyDelicious RaspberryCascadesTop of the CascadesTwo WebsLost LakeLeft BehindWhite Marsh MarigoldGlobeflower Indian PaintbrushBearing TreeOff the TrailGolden Banner

June 2024

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