Thursday, March 31, 2011

First Signs of Spring in RMNP

April may be one of Rocky Mountain National Park's snowy months, but its also the beginning of spring. Once the first flowers start to bloom, no matter how much more snow we get it is spring in my mind. Generally the first flowers you can find above 8,000 ft. are the Early Buttercups. Their single bright yellow flower (about the size of dime) are often surrounded by mud and snow, eagerly awaiting the first insects to find them. Look closely and you will see a shiny yellow petal. Using starch under the yellow pigments, the flower petal flashes like a rescue mirror, hoping to catch the eye of a winged friend going by, in this case it is generally a fly. Few people are aware that flies are one of the most common pollinators in the world. Watch your step along the edges of trails and you may just see one of these tiny harbingers of spring.

Guest Blogger: Jared Gricoskie of Yellow Wood Guiding. Click here to find out more about Yellow Wood Guiding's Guided Tours through RMNP. You might even spot one of these spring beauties!

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The White Rabbit of our Winter Wonderland

While out snowshoeing through the wonderland that is Rocky Mountain National Park, you might just spot the white rabbit.'s not actually a white rabbit, it's a hare: a Snowshoe Hare. The main differences between rabbits and hares is that hares give birth to furry young with their eyes open and ready to run.

Snowshoe hares use their huge hind feet to stay on top of the snow, and they are one of the few animals to take advantage of the snowy landscape to reach new resources. With multiple feet of snow on the ground, snowshoe hares can reach tree buds many feet higher than they're able to in the summer months.

Snowshoe hares use their white coats to stay camouflaged, but you can generally find their tracks that look like repeating T's. The need to camouflage to hide from coyotes, lynx, bobcats, mountain lions, and even owls and hawks. They are mostly nocturnal and have huge black eyes which make them look very sweet. So come to the park with snowshoes on your own feet and keep your eyes peeled for the telltale T tracks in the snow. You might just spot a furry snowball with big black eyes!

Guest Blogger is Jared Gricoskie from Yellow Wood Guiding. Contact Yellow Wood Guiding for your own winter tour of Rocky Mountain National Park. 303-775-5484