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birds, bunnies and ...... oh my!

I woke up this morning, very early, and realized it's been ages since I've taken time to walk in nature. And too long since I've posted about a hike. I grabbed my camera and water and drove over to Garden of the Gods (a well known destination for tourists) which is about ten miles west, give or take. The sun was just coming up, which is why the rocks are such a vibrant orange in the photos below. These photos have very little retouching. Just a bit of fine tuning for sharpness. The colors are as I saw them, or the camera I should say :-)

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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  1. Anonymous7/23/2011

    I lived in CSprings for ages (now in Buena Vista), so when I saw that you were at the Garden, I tuned in. It IS a beautiful place and your photos captured it perfectly. Including that bear. Yikes! Perhaps he (she) was out for a morning hike with nature, too!

    When I DO come down to CSpgs, it's always nice to turn my head left to see the's truly one of the most georgeous areas in town.

    Thanks for the visit.

  2. Hi Jan,
    It is a wonderful place to have in one's "backyard". I hopped over to Manitou to finish my walk, as I wanted a good workout as well. You know how hilly those streets are! All in all it was a good morning!

  3. Wow! We've had a lot of bears in town this year. I know this is in the Garden, but still it was a bear, and you were alone with it. Glad you didn't have any problem with it.

    I would have thought that excitement was enough of a workout for the month! ;-0

  4. Hi Walt,

    A friend asked me if I was carrying any food with me, which hadn't crossed my mind. Usually I do, so I felt relieved that I wasn't. Same friend also said most bears in Colorado pretty much keep to themselves unless provoked or something.

    Thank goodness we each went our own way, although I was probably the only one running :-)

  5. What an awesome nature walk that turned out to be! And that bear! I would have gone into shock and forgotten to take the picture. I see lots of deer in my yard, and I think I'd prefer them than the bears!

  6. A BEAR! Wow! I went there many many years ago & the only thing I saw interesting was an idiot who thought they could pull a full size trailer through there & got stuck in a turn. Really, though that is such a beautiful place. I want to go back someday.

  7. Anonymous7/24/2011

    What beautiful pictures from an obviously beautiful place. Has your blood pressure dropped yet from seeing that bear. A little too much excitement for me, I think.

    Not many of the larger predators left here in Indiana although our DNR has finally acknowledged that there are a few cougars in the state. People have been saying they saw one for years but the state pooh poohed it until photos were finally produced. They have been seen within 50 mile of me, which really is not far for an animal that size. I occasionally think about it when I am berry picking, but not much. A local farmer has a lot of cattle, young and old right near me that I think would be more in danger. (I hope.)

  8. Yeah, I'm with you on the deer! They can come and eat my flowers all they want. Better than walking out my door at dark and almost running into a bear...true story. He was big and quiet. And only 10 feet away, barely.

    Flyingbeader, I'm amazed at how those huge RV's try to fit around the hairpin turns we have here, or the narrow canyon roads with nowhere to turn around. And they were forewarned by signs "Local traffic only"! Oh well...curiosity gets the best of us.

  9. Hi Ruth,

    I was looking for something interesting to share with my blog readers, but not THAT interesting! But hey, I'll take it. :-)

    I'm hoping the cows will be more tempting for the cougar as well. Not that I have it in for cows at all. Save a cow! But not at the expense of a human.

    I'd like to be berry picking too! All in all, animals aren't out to get us. And after all, they were here first, so I always want the best for our wildlife friends.

  10. What an utterly gorgeous morning! I would feel nervous about seeing a bear too. My brother used to live way out in the boondocks in Southern Oregon. A cougar counted the house he was renting in its territory. That was a little scary too. Nature is beautiful, but you've got to respect it. Great photos!


I appreciate your visit and taking the time to write! Peace and Love!

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