The howl of the wolf is a song rarely heard in Colorado these days. The wild ones are gone, driven to extinction by hunting since 1945. The controversy about reintroducing them to the state rages on as we speak. But you can hear their howls at the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center, tucked into a secluded sanctuary near the town of Divide, just west of Colorado Springs, up Ute Pass.
Summer comes late to Colorado’s high country, but as the snow finally recedes from the peaks of the West Elk Mountains, the wildflowers grow bolder, get taller and paint the slopes with a veritable rainbow of colors.
By July, the Alpine valley that is home to Crested Butte is blanketed with swaths of red and orange Indian paintbrush. Periwinkle blue columbines drape the hillsides around and above town. This natural artist’s palette is rounded out by dainty scarlet gilia, iridescent blue flax, cheery yellow sunflowers, deep purple delphiniums and dusky blue lupines.
As far as the eye can see, the prairie stretches, endlessly flat until it meets a stark blue sky at the horizon. An occasional dark dot in the distance might be a shrub or a cow, but the dominant gray-green, tan and buff tend to blend into one homogenous hue.
At first glance, Comanche National Grassland in southeastern Colorado is not an exciting place. But first, even second, glances don't do justice to the subtle beauty of this hidden corner of Colorado.
Long before the tourists came, before the roads were built and the trails improved, an intrepid Englishwoman explored the vastness of what is now Rocky Mountain National Park.
Isabella Bird’s sojourn came in the fall of 1873 and winter of 1874, not long after the mountain man and before the area’s first ranches were established.
She recorded her impressions for posterity in one of my favorite books, “A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains,” waxing poetic about the pristine landscape and vividly describing the hardships she encountered. She wrote: