Monday, August 2, 2010

Marvelous Marmots

Here is another entry from my trip to Colorado. I woke up early to break away from the sleepy heads of my family that didn't want to get up early and crawl out of bed to go look at Marmots. Also I wanted to beat the traffic controls for construction on Trail Ridge Road (TRR) in Rocky Mountain National Park.

I didn't encounter any problems getting up to the Rock Cut section of TRR though I passed several work crews setting up the traffic controls for later in the day. The crew were all dressed in coats and several crew members were wearing full face bacalava masks to protect their faces from the sun,wind and cold that seems to occur at most any time up here.

TRR is the highest paved continuous road in the continental United States as it climbs to an elevation of 12,183 feet above sea level.So even in summertime it can snow up there. The weather can change from sunshine to thunderstorms and rain or snow in a very short time period.

The Rock Cut section of TRR has always been a great place to photograph Marmots for me. They are habituated to all of the traffic and people that pass through the area and so some of them are fairly comfortable around human beings. So it didn't take long for me to find some. One was nosing around one of the construction vehicles looking for places to lick minerals from the road off of it. You have to be careful one of them doesn't climb up into your engine compartment and start chewing on hoses or wiring as they sometimes will do.

Marmots are similar to Woochucks in appearance and anyone who has spent a lot of time backpacking in the mountains of the west has probably seen one. They like the Pikas seem to prefer to live in rocky talus areas. Though Marmots seemed to have adapted to live in a broader range of environments and elevations. My brother Bill who lives in the Spokane Washington area hates them as they forage in his yard and eat up all his garden flowers.

Back to my entry. Finally after a bit of waiting my construction minded Marmot headed back out onto the tundra and began to eat some flowers. I just kept my distance and followed him around as he ate. I took a lot of images trying to get the image I had in my mind of a Marmot amongst the flowers.Finally I got more of what I was looking for when he went into a section that was rich in flowers.

The return trip back down the pass was interrupted by construction delays and I had to stop and wait for one way traffic several times while waiting for the pilot car to drive me through. A major highlight though was seeing a Golden Eagle soar by just as we were about to move downhill.

It was a rather nice morning of photography in the Rocky mountains.

God's light and love to all,


No comments:

Post a Comment