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I went to Colorado to attend and celebrate my cousin’s wedding and to visit family. That’s what my brother, mom, and I traveled to the mountains to do. Before even planning the trip itself, I was thinking about how to squeeze a few days of herping in the picture. I owe it to my mom, who on this trip put up with many hours of driving and waiting for me which she didn’t want, or have to do. But she came along with me for my kind of vacation the last few days of our trip.

We landed in Denver and rented a car to travel about two hours up into the Rockies. West on I-70, then over a winding pass, and we were in the sky. I had visited Colorado several times before, but I was much younger and didn’t recall the amazing views and scenery that the state holds. I think my jaw was gaping open most of if not the whole ride to my aunt’s home where we would all stay for the next week. I wanted to spend as much time as I could exploring the area, but there was still the wedding and the visiting with relatives who I don’t get to see very often, which I was more than happy to do. During the week I managed to make it out several times to take pictures of the amazing surroundings, such as these cool, clear streams, breathtaking waterfalls, and rugged mountains.

A beautiful view along the continental divide

This image shows the effects of the Mountain Pine Beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) in the area. This pest is devastating the montane pine forests across much of the rockies, and is due to the warmer temperatures in the winter. Since it doesn’t get as cold, more beetle larvae can survive and do more damage the next year. The little coleopterans bore into and under the bark of the tree to lay eggs, and transmit a fungus which hurts sap production, and eventually stops the circulation of nutrients to the tree. The tree can show the effects within two weeks of infestation.

Just another roadside waterfall…

Aspen

A very brightly colored lichen that grew at the high elevation

I was told by my uncle who had lived in the area for many years that Adam’s Falls would be a great place to hike and take pictures, and he was right.

Adam’s Falls




This is just upstream from the falls

The Rockies are filled with spectacular views and stunning displays of the beauty in nature. I was in awe of my surroundings for the entire trip. I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time climbing mountain sides, and hiking along clear rocky streams.



This is Colorado’s official state flower, the Columbine


This is my brother Tim peering over a ledge at the torrent of water spilling down the mountain.

The view Tim was looking at

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