The mountains are fountains, not only of rivers, but of men. Therefore, we are all, in some sense, mountaineers, and going to the mountains is going home.

~John Muir

Back in October, Melissa and I spent a glorious ten days traveling throughout the grand state of Colorado. We didn’t have much of a plan, other than to start in Rocky Mountain National Park, and then see what else we could discover as we wandered the state. I can’t believe it has taken me this long to post something on it, but these have been busy times. One excuse was I was trying to wrap up some things before I re-retired from the NC Botanical Garden (yes, it is now official, I have worked my last day, although, to be fair, I have had the best jobs in the state over my 36+ years). I will miss the people and the place, but, it is time to see more of the wild world and I look forward to more travels, more adventures, and many more posts. Thank you for your patience.

Below is a quick pictorial summary of some of the highlights of our Colorado trip.


We lucked out and nabbed the best site in the Moraine Park Campground in Rocky Mountain National Park (click photos to enlarge)


Buck mule deer next to our car one morning


Bear Lake


Nymph Lake


Dream Lake


A small lake along the trail


A great view for our lunch break


The trail above what is the highest elevation visitor center in the National Park System, the Alpine Visitor Center, in Rocky Mountain National Park


Bull elk watching his harem


A coyote passing through got the elk’s attention


Spectacular views along the Tundra Communities Interpretive Trail


We saw a couple of pika at the end of the trail, dashing among the rock piles as they gathered grasses for winter


Our amazing campsite along East Inlet Trail (more on this spot in the next post)


Colorado National Monument was like another world, and just a half-day drive from Rocky Mountain National Park


We saw several Desert Bighorn Sheep along the road


Devil’s Kitchen Trail


A stunning Bush Katydid, Insara sp.


The trail just below the visitor center at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park


The Painted Wall at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park


Our beautiful campsite in Kebler Pass, near Crested Butte, CO


The view at sunrise from our campsite


The gold of an aspen forest in October


I have never seen aspen trees as big as these – it is humbling to walk through a grove of these beautiful trees this time of year


Artsy take on the aspens


Orange and yellow of aspens in peak color


The strange juxtaposition of dunes and mountains at Great Sand Dunes National Park


Melissa atop the highest dune on a very windy afternoon


Early morning at Garden of the Gods


A view of distant Pike’s Peak through a rock window at the Siamese Twin formation at Garden of the Gods

Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday. Melissa and I hope to see you out somewhere in the wilds soon.



32 thoughts on “Colorado

  1. It’s amazing how you can see and show us the beauty of Nature in the very largest and the tiniest strokes!! Thank you for this. Congratulations on your re-retirement. We look forward to letting you open our eyes even further, with sharper vision, in 2020! May you and Melissa have a joyous holiday and a long, healthy and happy life.

  2. Absolutely stunning photographs, spectacular vistas and color!! Happy you are back on the road with your camera, Mike, and best to you in your retirement. May you wander far and wide……..

  3. Absolutely stunning photos Mike. I too am trying to figure out how to actually retire soon, and Colorado is one of our go to spots. I believe we camped in Kebler pass two years ago as well. I love Crested Butte. Have you been to Pungo yet this year?

    Julie Dixon


  4. Dearest Mike. So glad you will have more to time to explore. You are right, you have worked wonderful jobs! Congratulations. Oh by the way, loves the aspen pics!! Ferne

  5. oh my gosh…your photos make me miss those beautiful places! Morraine Park is THE BEST campground…looks like your site was close to where we were. Such a glorious park. You certainly caught the Aspens at the right time…magical colors!! Congrats on your (second and final) retirement!! XO

  6. Mike, thanks for this beautiful tour. You covered and amazing amount of Colorado for such a short visit! Perhaps our most beautiful state. I’ll bet that, like us, you want to return again. You might love the Durango/San Juan Mountains area in the southwestern corner.

      • Believe me, we get the weather issue. The trip we first went to TMNP, as we left by wy of Denver, the forecast called for heavy snow (September). We dodged the mountains and went South through Pueblo to Toss. Cold memories! :<)

  7. Congratulations on re-retirement! I will miss your cool bug pictures. But, I see you are taking some of those skills along with you. Love the grasshopper! You also captured some great locations in CO. Safe travels and best wishes in the New Year.

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