|East Entrance to Garden of the Gods with the sun rise turning the rocks orange.|
|Early sunrise. One of the many paved paths in the park|
It felt so good to smell the pine trees after a short rainfall last night. The birds were busy chattering and chipmunks scampered around doing whatever they do. I found bunnies sitting here and there completely oblivious to me.
|Wild bunny. He doesn't look as cuddly as the garden variety|
|Western Scrub Jay|
The Western Scrub Jay is much more common here than it's counterpart, the Eastern Blue Jay. If they happen to be in the same area, there may be some territorial issues to be worked out.
Along the path I've just missed a deer that vanished in the scrub. I'd love a photo, so I decided to wait a bit to see if he might come back. While standing there, I turn around to take this shot of the rocks. (below) The sun has risen a bit higher by this time. And yes, the sky is really that blue!
|One of the many rock formations in Garden of the Gods|
As soon as I turn back around I can hear rustling in the scrub (or bushes) and I'm thinking my waiting has paid off. I hadn't been standing there very long. I raise the camera, ready for a shot, expecting to see a cute deer or two, when my breath stops as a bear comes out of the brush, slowly lumbering down the trail aside of me. After my initial shock, not to mention frozen in place, the bear turns his head and sees me. Click goes my camera.
|The deer I was waiting for!|
Now I'm scared. I have encountered bears twice before, but in my own yard where I was able to step back into the relative safety of my home. I realize the only thing separating me from the bear is the dirt and a few pieces of lumber, as in the photo. And I'm alone. I couldn't remember the "bear rules" ... do I stay and not move, or run, or do I wave my hands to act like I'm the bigger creature.
Well, one doesn't move, but stands their ground. At the time I just wanted to leave as soon as possible. I stopped looking at him directly and slowly walked back down the path and as soon as I felt it was okay, I ran.
My walk was cut short, as I didn't feel comfortable continuing. I hadn't seen many people during my walk, so I headed for the car and took one last picture of the rocks on my way out of the park.
|Balanced Rock. Tourists usually swarm this area for photos of family standing on the top.|
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