Bighorn fleeing the scene!
Those of you that get the newsletter know that I mentioned that it’s prime bighorn viewing season. Not 5 minutes after that did they show up! However, this small herd was very jumpy. Maybe there is a lion in the neighborhood and they are just on edge, no way to know. But they didn’t stick around for long and I was only able to grab this shot as they were making haste up the mountainside. Regardless, these are animals that are always a joy to see. People come from all over the country (or world in some cases) to get a glimpse of the awesome animals.
So, besides McGregor, as this is one of the best places to see the sheep in the entire state of Colorado, where are a few spots in the area where you have a good chance of spotting the sheep? Here are a few:
- Big Thompson Canyon: We affectionately refer to the sheep seen here as “our” sheep. Back in the 90′s there was a widespread pneumonia epidemic among the two herds that frequent McGregor (the Black Canyon herd and the Mummy herd). Some of the healthy ones we captured and released in the Big Thompson Canyon to widen the gene pool and help ensure the success of the Colorado bighorn herds. They have flourished and and can now often be seen as you drive through the canyon. It is a fantastic place to spot sheep!
- Mt. Ida Trail: Now, you’ll have to work a little for this one, but your chances of seeing sheep out in the wilderness is better than anywhere else I have been. I have probably hiked this trail 10 times and I’d guess that I’ve seen sheep on 8 of those outings. Sometimes they’re far away, sometimes they’re close, but there is a good chance you’ll see them. Most of the guests I have sent there have had luck as well. But this is a steep, alpine hike, and the summit of Ida is about 5 miles from the trail head, so one needs to take precautions and be prepared for the conditions that the alpine tundra presents.
- Sheep Lakes: This one is a bit easier to get to, as the lakes are right next to Hwy 34 in Horseshoe Park just inside Rocky Mountain National Park. The sheep frequent these lakes to lick the mineral rich mud on their shores.
When you do see the sheep, stay calm and quiet as these animals can get stressed pretty easily. Do not approach them, and enjoy from a distance. These are very special animals and we want to keep them as stress free and as healthy as possible!
Right next to us to the west is a lot that a former owner of McGregor still has. As long as you check with us first, it’s okay to walk around over there… a nice little stroll where one can often see wildlife. I took a walk there this morning and just grabbed a few shots from the outing for your viewing pleasure! Enjoy!
Our first significant snow fall of 2012 fell last night. Sunday gave way to blue skies, 4 inches of fresh powder, and wildlife active across the property! I just wanted to share this pic of Little Boy eating out of one of the feeders as a family enjoys watching from their picnic table. Enjoy!
Snowmen greeting our Christmas travelers.
For the 6th year in a row we have won the Christmas light contest in Estes Park! This year we won in the “Commercial/Lodging” category. In the past we have won this category and won the Mayor’s Trophy for the grand prize in all categories. As always, we are thrilled to even take part, and the gusts are thrilled as well! It’s like walking in to a winter wonderland, or into a North Pole Village… our guests simply love it! We have 2012 rates (and now 2013 is open for reservation) on the website, so if you’re on the fence about a Rocky Mountain Christmas, don’t wait any longer, get it booked! Go here to search for availability and to book your reservation: Book Online.
The Holiday season this year has been fantastic with many first time guests discovering the magic of McGregor, and many return guests coming back to rediscover it. We hope to see you soon!
Well, it looks like it will be a White Christmas here at McGregor Mountain Lodge! This storm started yesterday at about dusk, with flurries the few hours before. I got the camera all ready and wanted to shoot the progression of the storm. It started with light flakes falling as the cloud cover thickened. Just as the light was fading, the snow picked up in earnest just in time for the 100,000+ Christmas lights to light up on the property! A truly beautiful night. The temperature began to fall and the snow began to deepen. We awoke to approx 10 inches of fluffy white powder and the property was very active with birds, elk, deer, and other critters moving about. I pulled the camera back out and got some video of this spectacular morning.
Dreaming of a White Christmas from McGregor Mountain Lodge on Vimeo.
With Christmas only days away, this snow added a special feel to the Holiday season! We all hope you are spending it with family and friends and wish you a Happy 2012! Hope to see you very soon!