Friday, October 5, 2007

Woodpeckers, Chickaree, Deer and Bear...Oh My at Seven Falls

Seven Falls is a beautiful box type canyon. There is only one way in, through a very narrow gorge between two tall mountains, called the Pillar of Hercules. One has the profile of George Washington at the top! Once in you walk up to the waterfalls. This 181’ waterfall actually lands and falls again 7 different times, each time with a different pattern. So each fall is actually a different type of waterfall. To get to the top you have to climb a huge set of stairs…224 of them! Talk about a real thigh burner! I am always a bit terrified of slipping through the cracks…or one of my children stepping through! This was our third time here and so far so good!



Once we finally made it to the top, we walked into the woods along a stream. Soon we met a family quietly sitting and they pointed out the deer who were peacefully laying down under the trees nearby. We remained very still and very quiet.

Finally we moved on for more hiking. We heard nervous chickarees chattering in the wood. Occasionally birds chirped here and there. It was a lovely day. At one point we stopped for a snack. I was not too comfortable with this particular location, because signs were posted that bears were in the area. We have yet to see bears in Colorado. But that does not mean that they are not around. I did not think advertising our snacks and allowing the aroma waft into the woods was a good idea. Nervously, I ate mine quickly and kept looking over my shoulder. Fortunately, no bears came looking for our snacks!

As we headed down the path we were nearly blindsided by one of those deer we had seen earlier. We stood around trying to take a great picture but it was difficult with them hiding in the trees. We were simply amazed that we had seen so many animals this time. Usually the woods are very quiet when we are here.



Then we saw some interesting plants. DD got her flower book out to identify them while I tried taking just the right picture. DS and DH got into analyzing them too!

Nodding onion…



Berries under the chiming bells…



Fungi…



Wild Geranium…



Chokecherries…bears love these…



While taking pictures, a couple excitedly walked up to us and told us if we hurried, we’d see a bear ahead! It was a big one! They showed us a picture on their camera! There he was, running through the narrow place between the split rock, not too far from here, looking over his shoulder. We set out to see the bear for ourselves. Was this a safe thing to do? The couple assured us we’d be okay, he wouldn’t hurt us. We pressed on while I anxiously looked over my shoulder and up into the trees. We got to the falls, but didn’t hang out here as long as usual. We didn’t see him. Do you see him peeking at us? I had to wonder if he was doing that. (BTW I've had a previous experience finding a bear watching me play baseball with my brother and cousin.  But that's another story...)



Oh well. So close….

On the way back we saw this colorful fungi…



We got blindsided by the deer again and took more pictures!

Since we aren’t allowed to take specimens out of these parks with us, I had a special project planned (all the while looking over my shoulder for the bear). At RMNP the first night I had purchased some Nature Print Paper. This undergoes a permanent chemical change when exposed to sunlight. We gathered leaves, nuts, etc and laid them on top of the paper in the sunlight. Then we counted off 2 minutes and removed the objects. The result was that the shadow made by the objects stayed the original dark blue, but everything else exposed to sunlight became pale blue. I safely packed them into the envelope (while looking over my shoulder) and when we got home I had to soak them in the sink for 1 minute then let them dry. Here they are! The kids will put these with their Colorado pictures in their scrapbook!



I thought we took pictures of the process but I guess not. I think I was too busy counting and looking over my shoulder!

On we went along the stream, and here’s a woodpecker! He was difficult to capture with the camera because he kept flying and going higher into the treetops!



Back to the stairs, looking down into the canyon, down the 7 Falls…



Here’s the first fall from the top…



Looking at the first drop…



Finally, a columbine!



At the bottom of the Seven Falls, the stream leading out to the parking lot…



From the parking lot, looking up towards the Seven Falls…



Further down from the falls, you can climb over 100 steps to the Eagle’s Nest. I don’t think so!!!! We took the elevator! Looking down into the parking lot…

5 comments:

  1. What a gorgeous hike! Sounds like you had a fabulous time--love the Columbine!


    Warmly,

    Lori

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  2. That is an absolute breath-taking place. Gorgeous!

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  3. What breathtaking photos Laurie!!! Simply beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing. Do we get to see pics of your finished bathroom next?? Hope that project is moving right along!


    Pam

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  4. I'm going to have to add this to the neverending list of places to someday go to. If someone had told me that there was a bear up ahead I know I would have turned around. I'm not a big fan of meeting wild creatures while hiking. LOL Great pictures.

    Ginny

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  5. I think I forgot to mention, I talked to the park employees about it when I was down at the gift shop. They said there is a family of bears up there that will not hurt anyone as long as we don't provoke them. I guess the employees show up for work in the morning and find them in the parking lot digging for trash. I know what you mean though! I did meet a bear face to face one time...and that time was okay too!

    Blessings,

    Laurie

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