Rotten snow. Ice. Mud. Bloomin’ willows. And the occasional spring snowstorm to dump half a foot (now over a foot!) of wet, heavy snow. Time to put away the skis, snowshoes, ski-doo and snowblower . . . and bring out the rubber boots.
The only redeeming quality about Springtime in the Rockies is the annual return of our migratory songbirds. The Juncos returned about 3 weeks ago, followed closely by the Chipping Sparrows. Heard, but not yet seen, is a Varied Thrush with his distinctive bell-tone song. A lone Starling stayed for 3 days before the resident Gray Jays got the better of him. A flock of Rosy Finches came in today with the storm. I know from a past guest, a bird biologist from the U of A, that we’re not supposed to get Rosy Finches up here. I think a few, perhaps blown off course during a spring storm, told their buddies that Laura keeps the bird feeders stocked up – and now we get a horde of Rosy Finches whenever a sudden storm hits. I’ve yet to see the big birds of prey return, although I did hear the cry of a Merlin last week.
Animals are on the move, as well. The White-Tailed Deer family, who bails from our valley when the snow gets too deep, has returned now that snow depth is diminishing. The deer were nosing around the cabins last night . . . while Leo and Molly (and the cat) crowded me on the bed. Several Elk walked down the Rock Lake Road last week – as evidenced by fresh track in the melting snow – obviously heading back to Rock Lake. Wolves are following the elk, of course. No sign of bear yet this spring, although Black bear may be out and about at lower elevations. I’ve found no evidence to indicate a new Grizzly has set up residence close to the cabins. Pity . . . but I am forever hopeful.
The Rock Lake Road is holding up well, thanks to Manitok. It’s a little soft on the shoulders and slushy/icy in places. My 3-km trail is good, although common sense or a 4×4 (if one doesn’t have any common sense) is usually needed to come up to the cabins this time of year.
Until next time . . . Happy Trails!