We have been anticipating our first real snow for a while now. Usually it happens in September or October, so we’re ready for it a bit earlier than most of the country. This latest weather system has been on the radar now for a week as a super cold air mass moved down from the arctic. It arrived yesterday and started snowing lightly at about 4:00 picking up at it got dark. It was so pretty as the first big flakes of the season fell gently from the sky. We had a nice fire going here in the lobby and settled in for a chilly night in the mountains.
The morning broke with low clouds and light snow falling more like a thick mist. The roads were a bit icy, but not too bad, and as the clouds started to break, with the rising sun, some of the mountain tops (like Deer Mountain) were revealed and added a bit of drama to this stunning morning. I walked the property for a few minutes and took some snap shots of the scenery to share with all of you. I hope you enjoy!
The nights are getting cooler and we’re already had a morning in the mid/low teens. No real snow to speak of yet with only a dusting of about an inch last week. But the seasons are changing and these crisp mountain mornings are sure invigorating! The wildlife is very active with Elk Jams along the roads in town and Elk, Mule Deer, Turkeys, and many other critters making daily appearances at the lodge. The leaves are a bit past peak now but still beautiful around town, and everyone is getting ready for all of the winter activities in the mountains around Estes Park! Snowshoeing, mountaineering, ice climbing, skiing, all the good stuff…
I was walking around the property this morning and the Turkeys were down again. They have become regular visitors to the property and are a guest favorite! They let me get fairly close and I got some great shots as they scratched around beneath the bird feeder beside the Chalet Building. Another beautiful morning here at McGregor!
Last night, I was sitting in the lobby and a long time, return, guest got my attention through the window and mouthed that there was a bear right behind the office. I poked my head out to take a peek and sure enough, there he was! This bear was a younger one, but very healthy and jiggled when he walked, so he is doing well on stocking up on food for the winter. I snapped a couple of pics on the phone, then ran over to my car to grab the bigger camera. But it was very near dark, so the pics didn’t turn out all that great.
The Bear kind of meandered around the property and I had to yell at him to get away from the dumpsters, which he didn’t like.. he huffed at me then ran up the hill. But it was only about 30 seconds before he poked his head around the corner eyeing the dumpsters again! ha! So I chucked some pine cones at him and he ran off down toward the office next door at Wildwood Inn. I snapped a couple of shots from a distance after which he ran across the road and down towards the river. A great experience!
And after re-reading this, it sounds like I was doing some very stupid things. But know that I was quite a good distance from the bear and was always near a door to one of the cabins if I needed to hop in one, if he got a little angry. But, as usual, the Bear just didn’t want anything to do with any of us and was more scared than anything. So do know that I treated this animal with respect and certainly kept to a very safe distance.
Deer Mountain making a brief appearance this morning
Every September we see the tundra begin to turn crimson and gold as the aspen show signs of of their annual display. This year is no different, though it is happening a touch earlier than usual. The flanks of Deer Mountain across from the lodge are already dotted with gold as the aspens turn, and the high country has been threatened with the first snow of the season for the last 10 days or so.
This morning, after a night of steady rains down here in the Estes Valley, we awoke to glimpses of snow on the high peaks. In places it looked quite deep, but was hard to see as the low clouds have us socked in down here. It’s one of those rare days in Colorado where we don’t have the brilliant blue skies we are so famous for. But it’s kind of nice. A crisp morning, fresh snow on the peaks, and a fire crackling in the fireplace, all as the smell of turning leaves lace the cool breeze coming from the west.
Low clouds on this Autumn morning.
I managed to snap a couple of pics here at the lodge this morning, but this is something you just have to experience to appreciate!
A great little video highlighting all there is to do in Estes Park during the spectacular Fall season! This is one of our favorite times of year. The aspen start turning their fiery gold, the elk begin bugling that echoes through our high mountain valleys, and the cold begins to creep down the mountains causing smoke to rise, once again, from the chimneys in and around town. Enjoy!