Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Golden Gate State Park
As the days (slowly) get warmer, my excursions to the trails that snake around the Rocky Mountains are becoming more frequent. A recent Sunday journey to Golden Gate State Park was a perfect expedition, as the park is both close to Denver and lies at a relatively low altitude. The upper peaks are still under a fair amount of snow, and we want to go hiking, not snowshoeing.
Ironically we were on the same trail that my father and I tackled some weeks back when it was still covered in over a foot of snow. Much of that is gone, though the shady patches still bore the mark of winter. We even encountered a group of melted out snow caves about half way up the trail. While it may seem counterintuitive, a snow cave really is the best place to spend the night outside during the winter.
At the end of the trail is Frazer Meadow, the location of an old homestead from the late 1800's. The ruins of Mr. Frazer's cabin and barn are complemented by a plaque detailing a bit about his life, and his unfortunate death in an accident involving a wagon load of logs and his head.
Speaking of heads, while hiking up the trail we caught a glimpse of a hawk skedaddling out of our way, and sure enough right by the trail was the remains of his lunch. A flicker was lying in some trees surrounded by his own feathers, and missing his noggin! On our way back down after our own repast we discovered at the crime scene that the body was missing. The hawk had come back for the rest of his meal. Certainly an interesting encounter, not something you would see in Downtown Denver! But I'll admit, I can't wait until the higher elevations become available...