The nice lady who served us at the Aspen supermarket today says if you are in town at 4 o'clock in the morning there are bears everywhere - black bears. There aren't any grizzlies in Colorado. They come to scavenge for food. I'd love to see them but I'm not sure it's worth getting up in the middle of the night.
On previous trips we've been lucky and seen the occasional bear at much more civilised hours, usually from the safety of our car. Last year we came across a bear just a few metres from a trail at Maroon Bells. We were on foot and felt a strange, if false, sense of security just because there were a few other people around (click here to read about the encounter). Luckily we were more interested in the bear than he was in us.
We returned to Maroon Bells yesterday and today. There are moose herds in the area and I was hopeful of seeing a moose - no luck I'm afraid. They are very shy. Regular readers may remember my quest to see a moose in The Grand Tetons National Park last year (click here for the story). I don't think David wanted to see one - he has read they are more dangerous than bears - D is a serious wimp when it comes to wildlife.
Maroon Bells is a group of mountain peaks near Aspen. They are the most photographed peaks in Nth America and it is easy to see why. Even without moose they are magnificent. In summer the National Forestry Service runs a park'n'ride shuttle bus every 20-30 minutes. Yesterday we caught the bus up and hiked down for a couple of hours along the Maroon Creek Trail. No moose - but beautiful scenery. Today we drove up (you can take your car in after 5 pm) - still no moose but we did see the occasional marmot. Marmots are large squirrels. They like to sit bolt upright on top of rocks, something to do with being able to see predators. It makes them look seriously cute. We are now convinced that the 'beaver' we saw near our hotel a few days ago was actually a marmot.
|The bear we saw last year.|
|Hiking through Aspen trees on the Maroon Creek Trail|
|Looking back at the Bells from Maroon Creek.|
|The marmot near our hotel.|
For all my posts on this road trip click - here
19 June 2014