It has been a wonderful summer, living in the Colorado Rockies. We are both Colorado natives and we lived in two mountain communities, Granby and Grand Lake, in the 1980s. This is our first time to live in the forest in the mountains and we have loved it.
These is a huge spruce tree outside our front window. The warmest it has been has been 75 degrees. The scenery is wonderful and this park is so very quiet. On Friday afternoons, there is a lot of traffic of incoming campers. But when you walk around Mueller, most campers are in the campsite, quietly sitting around the campfire or reading. Even the children tend to be quiet--very little yelling. Boaters tend to drink and party more than family campers. Mueller has no lake. Yea!
The park is located in Pike National Forest--a mixed conifer and Aspen forest. Long familiar with forests, I came to really appreciate the trees. I finally had to stop taking pictures of them and posting them in my blogs. There is infinite variety here, but just how many photographs can I post? We are surrounded by trees and we have seen them move through the seasons. They have been ice-covered, bare and stark, stunning in their size and shape. They frame everything, from the hiking paths to the meadows to the rising full moon and a stunning rainbow. We will miss these trees when we return to Arizona for the winter.
On our trip through Canada and Alaska last year, we saw a great variety of wildlife. Colorado has more people and, thus, less wildlife. But we have thoroughly enjoyed the deer, chipmunks, golden mantled ground squirrels and fox in our front yard and around the park. John even saw bear twice and me, once. Mueller has a fairly good-sized herd of elk. We saw them early on. But they moved to the north end of the park for calving season and we haven't seen them in the park since. We are sorry Colorado elk aren't as comfortable around people as those we encountered on two different trips in Jasper, Alberta, Canada.
Mueller has received quite a bit of rain this summer, resulting in a profuse array of wildflowers. They started blooming in June and we still have quite a few yellow and lavender ones showing their colors in September. It has been fun to see new ones every couple of weeks. It is amazing how many things thrive at this altitude. I just wish I could identify all of them.
The American Robin seems to thrive all over North America and they were very prevalent here in June and July. We haven't seen any the past two or three weeks. I guess they have begun their migration south. We have seen a good assortment of birds throughout the summer. The wild turkeys here look almost as big as the ones we see in the store at Thanksgiving. I'll bet they aren't as tender, however.
The hiking, trees, wildlife, flowers and birds have all enriched our summer here. But, it has been the people that have really made this volunteer assignment special. The staff of Mueller State Park is the best, the most friendly of any place we have volunteered over the past nine years. From the park manager through the Visitor Center staff to rangers and gate attendants and maintenance staff, we have been impressed and really felt a part of the team that makes this such a special and popular state park. We have worked hard and we are tired and ready to move on. But we will miss the people. And we plan to return in future summers--as regular campers, not volunteers.