Bull Moose photographed in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area, Colorado.
Talk about being blessed. That’s how I feel. There’s such a variety of wildlife species living within a short drive of where we live – moose, mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and bison, to say nothing of the huge variety of birds and small mammals.
A couple of days ago Lori and I decided to head for nearby Brainard Lake to photograph moose. They typically head for tall timber around 8 o’clock. We would then leave for Mount Evans to photograph mountain goats and anything else Mother Nature decided place in front of us. Sounds like a tall order, but guess what? It happened.
Upon arrival at Brainard Lake, we first spotted 10 to 15 people with cameras crowded together along the side of the road. Must be moose, I thought. As we drove closer, sure enough . . . I was right. Actually, there were a number of moose.
As it turned out, a total of 7 bulls and 2 cows were browsing the willows no more than a hundred feet, or so, off the road. Gradually working their way towards the road, I was confident they would eventually cross the road and head into the forest. In anticipation, I replaced my 80-400mm VR lens with a 18-55mm wide angle zoom. It’s a good thing I did, because they eventually crossed within 35 feet of where I was standing. I actually had to step aside for one bull that decided he wanted to cross between me, and the individual next to me.
After all the moose disappeared into the stand of fir and spruce trees, we were off for Mount Evans.
An hour later, we were on top of the world, or so it seemed. Situated 14,264-feet above sea level, it’sv one of my favorite locations for photographing our wild brothers and sisters. In addition to the variety of photographic subjects that call the mountain their home, the breathtaking scenic backdrops transform it into a true photographer’s paradise.
Over the years, I’ve photographed everything from mountain goats and bighorn sheep on the mountain, to marmots, pika, and even an occasional ptarmigan thrown in for good measure. So, it was not surprising that our first photo opportunity would be a family of camera-friendly marmots.
Lunch at the Echo Lake Lodge is always a must-do stop and I certainly didn’t want to be the one to break this tradition. Unfortunately, feasting on a Southwestern Burger, onion rings, and Alaskan Amber didn’t leave any room to partake in one of their mouth-watering, home-baked pies.
Prying myself away from the table after downing all those gastronomical delights wasn’t easy. But it was imperative that I work-off all the calories I had just consumed. Over the years, I’ve found there’s no better way of doing this than spending time with a group of mountain goats, capturing their antics with my trusty camera . . . and, this is exactly what happened. Afterwards, a small group of young male bighorn sheep graced us with their presence.
This is what it’s like up here in the mountains of Colorado, where the bears are friendly and the skies are always blue.
Mountain Goats near Summit Lake – Mountain Evans, Colorado.