Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Meyers Homestead Trail

I was ready for another hike today, but didn't want to spend too long in the car.  But I also wanted to get out of the heat, with temperatures forecast in the upper 90s again today here in Littleton.

I perused my old standby, 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Denver, and settled on the Meyers Homestead Trail in the foothills west of Boulder.  Only an hour drive, and I hoped getting up about 8,000 feet would take some of the edge off the heat.  

I didn't really know what to expect to photograph, and was pleasantly surprised to find lots of butterflies and lots of blooming wildflowers -- a typically photogenic combination.

Despite years of patient assistance from Mike Fisher, Colorado coordinator for the Butterflies and Moths of North America database, I'm still not very good at identifying what I see.  And BAMONA lists 282 species of butterflies of moths in Boulder County, which I don't really want to weed through to figure this one out.  So Mike will be getting another e-mail from me.

(Mike says this is a female Clouded Sulphur -- Colias philodice.)

Most of what I've historically seen on my hikes have been fritillaries of some variety or another, as I suspect most of the ones today also were.

Ginny generally let me shoot in peace, but when she'd decided I'd lingered in one spot long enough she'd amble over and walk right through the flowers I was focused on.  That typically scared away the butterflies.

Speaking of Ginny, she was pretty pooped when we got to the turnaround.  So was I -- more so than I'd expected for just 2.6 miles and relatively little elevation gain.  We hadn't made it out of the heat as much as I'd hoped, and in mid afternoon it was taking a toll on us both.

Good thing they added "end of trail" to this sign.  Otherwise, there's no telling how many folks would just keep walking right off the overlook.

Really nice spot -- I believe an Indra Swallowtail.

(Correction from Mike -- Pale Swallowtail.  "Looks like a female of this species which flew especially early in western Colorado this year due to warm weather in March and April.")

It was an embarrassment of riches with butterflies posing on flowers.  I passed up a lot of shots just because we never would have made it back if I'd stopped to take them all.

The homestead the trail is named for.

I stopped to take this last picture about 30 yards from the car, and Ginny just kept walking until she found some shade.

I thought we were moving pretty slowly between the heat and the pictures, but we still did the 5.2 miles in 2:20, which isn't such a bad pace.  I'll definitely be seeking cooler temperatures for my next excursion, though!

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