Archivos de diario de enero 2024

24 de enero de 2024

Snowshoeing in State Forest State Park - January 2024

Went snowshoeing in State Forest State Park this past weekend (January 20, 2024) with my girlfriend and two other friends who joined us. Snowshoeing is one of my favorite ways to spend time outdoors because it's a naturally slow and quiet activity that lets you take the time to notice your surroundings. State Forest State Park typically receives plenty of snow in the winter time as well, so this is also a plus.

One of the many reasons I love this park so much (my girlfriend and I were there in September to view the aspen trees, which were at their peak for fall foliage and color at that time - see my previous journal post), is that the four seasons are so distinct here. Summer is very lush and green here with an assortment of wildflowers, in autumn the aspen trees turn gold, orange, and even red, and of course in winter there is an abundance of snow. Unlike the Front Range of Colorado (the Denver metro area, Colorado Springs, Fort Collins, etc.) where snow typically melts within a few days, here the snow stays and often accumulates. Of course this is largely due to the high altitude mountain location on the Continental Divide (State Forest State Park is nestled between the Medicine Bow Mountains and the Never Summer Range to the north and south respectively, and between North Park and the Poudre Canyon to the west and east respectively).

The crags and surrounding peaks (below) are the first thing you see when you enter the park and depending on the time of year they can be frosty and coated in snow like they were most recently, green and patchy in the springtime, or completely free of snow by late summer and fall.

This state park is known as the moose capital of Colorado, and this is due to the fact that moose were successfully reintroduced in Northern Colorado and are now a regular sight in the area. We did not see any moose on this trip, but we did see evidence of plenty of wildlife etched in the snow by their tracks. We originally thought that the tracks in the photo below were from a bobcat, but @galxe pointed out that these were more in line with that of a snowshoe hare (the smaller tracks being from the front paws, and the bigger ones that we originally took for a cat being the hind legs). Thanks @galxe!

As I've already mentioned, State Forest State Park is a great place to view aspen trees and although they no longer have their leaves this time of year, their black and white bark against the snow and the winter mountain sky is stunning. You will notice in one of the photos that some people carve their initials or other notes into the tree bark. Please don't do this.

Further along our winter hike, we discovered these controlled burn piles. Winter is a safer time to do this since the moisture from the snow and the cold temperatures will prevent a conflagration but there is concern from many conservationists that this concentrated heat from the burn pits is not great for the soils underneath. After the fuel (the lumber) has burned, it can cause the soil below to be more hydrophobic and then susceptible to erosion once the snow melts or it rains.

The main reason I wanted to make this post is because I love snow, winter, and the cold, and because there is no reason to stop using iNaturalist even when lots of plants, insects, and migratory birds are no longer around. If you live in a colder climate, getting out and trying to identify animal tracks in the snow is a lot of fun too!

Publicado el enero 24, 2024 04:22 MAÑANA por mhughes26 mhughes26 | 7 observaciones | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario