Friday, July 7, 2017

Mount Elbert, Part II

I always hope to see some wildlife when I hike a 14er. Last year on Grays Peak and Torreys Peak, some mountain goats were my unexpected treat.  This year, I was pleasantly surprised by pikas!

Pika, Mount Elbert
I was resting at the summit when one came out practically at my feet!  My past experiences with them had all been from a distance, chirping at me with what always seemed like annoyance before disappearing into their rocky labyrinths.  This one, however, was completely at ease.  I almost had too much lens to get a good shot!

Pika, Mount Elbert
And it wasn't just one!  A buddy -- or girlfriend, or spouse, or possibly even a rival I suppose -- poked its head out shortly after the first.  I noticed its coat was much more brindle compared to the predominantly gray fur of the other one.

Pika, Mount Elbert
I only saw the second pika briefly, and it didn't return.  But the first one came back repeatedly.  Even gave me a pretty serious stare down.

Pika, Mount Elbert
Seriously, this pika was braver than any little begging ground squirrel I'd ever shared a summit with.  I couldn't believe how he moved around among the other hikers and our gear.

Pika, Mount Elbert
Wikipedia describes pikas as having a "very round body."  Not this one.  Not from where I was sitting.

Pika, Mount Elbert
Heading back down the mountain I heard the telltale chirp I was more familiar with.  And sure enough, I was being watched by a little tough guy who seemed to be making it clear to me that I was in his territory.

Edith's Checkerspot Butterfly, Mount Elbert
I felt pretty hardy, summiting another 14er.  Then I saw butterflies like this Edith's Checkerspot, and thought if they could make it up there me doing so probably wasn't all that special after all.

Baby Fir Cone, Mount Elbert
We stopped at treeline again for a break, and another hiker pointed out this red baby fir cone.  The afternoon light was hitting it just right, and it made a fitting final shot for a fabulous day!

Related Links:

No comments: