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The Eagle Comes to ACES

An August 1982 Jeep adventure to Picnic Point on Richmond Ridge of Aspen Mountain turned into a rescue operation for Jim Hamilton. He discovered a grounded golden eagle, unable even to walk. The eagle’s fierce gaze and sharp, menacing talons gave Jim pause, so he motored to Hallam Lake and reported his discovery. Years of experience with less than exact directions to wild animals in distress compelled me to insist he accompany me back up the mountain. With welder’s gloves for protection I immobilized the broken bird in a heavy blanket and returned to Hallam Lake.


Ashcroft Snowshoe Tour up Castle Creek Valley

Posted in Bulletin Board
Castle Creek in winter

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies ski and snowshoe tours offer the best of the Aspen area. The endless, spectacular views from Aspen Mountain’s Richmond Ridge are some of the best I’ve ever encountered in my short 25 years on this earth. The snowshoe tour on Snowmass Ski Area’s peaceful Rabbit Run Trail allows visitors to escape the crowds and experience their own private winter wonderland. Joining a naturalist to ski down Elk Camp provides a whole new perspective to what one can discover on the slopes, beyond the usual rush of adrenaline and the cold wind kissing your face.


Quack Facts: Dabblers vs. Divers

Ring-necked Duck at Hallam Lake, an Aspen birding hotspot

Back at the end of August, when bear sightings were a daily occurrence and rose hips were beginning to grow plump, I took a pack of 6-year-olds for a walk around Hallam Lake. We stopped by the water to watch ducks -- a group of female Mallards -- swimming in the shallows. Every few seconds, as my class watched intently, one of the ducks would do this: 


Winter Songbird Flocks

Like a famous musician thronged by fans, or the popular kids at school who students gather around, chickadees often form the nucleus of mixed flocks of birds in winter. Among people the advantages are usually obvious: social stature by association, access to the latest gossip, and insulation from shunning or bullying. Popularity brings a wealth of advantages for people, yet what could it do for the little chickadee?


Being Bear Aware

Bear looks trough two trees
One of the most enjoyable aspects of living in Aspen is the ease of access to nature.  The close proximity also gives many animals easy access to the city. As Aspen dwellers, we must live responsibly in this place in order to facilitate safe urban/wildlife interactions.
 
In September, bear activity goes into hyperdrive.  Bears will begin hibernating in late October/early November, so now is their final push to gain as much weight as possible.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Outlook over Tivoli Bay
What's more important in life than surrounding yourself by beautiful people? The answer is nothing, however a close second goes to beautiful places. The conclusion of this summer was a difficult period for me.

Don't Leaf Aspen Without Peeping Those Colors!

Leaf Peeper: (n.) One who travels to view and photograph changing leaf colors in the fall.

Getting to Work

I registered for Pandora (internet radio) in the Bay Area, where I grew up.  Every so often, they’ll play a commercial for California’s ‘Spare the Air’ program, which encourages residents to leave their car at home and take alternative transportation when the local Air Quality Index reaches unhealthy levels.  This index was developed by the EPA and establishes a minimum threshold for when ground level ozone pollution, commonly known as smog, reaches unhealthy levels.

Who's That Dipping Under My Bridge?

"He is the mountain streams' own darling, the hummingbird of blooming waters, loving rocky ripple-slopes and sheets of foam as a bee loves flowers, as a lark loves sunshine and meadows.  Among all the mountain birds, none has cheered me so much in my lonely wanderings, none so unfailingly." - John Muir, The Mountains of California 


Aspen's Perfect Storm

Rain Storm on Aspen Mountain

I've never been so happy to see a storm roll in.  This felt counterintuitive to me after spending a long winter on the grey, misty Oregon Coast.  All winter, I'd wake up to another day of rainy mist swirling in off the coast, and groan about how I had to be deficient in Vitamin D by now.