To the Rockies and Boulder

The lincoln Highway may have only passed through Colorado for two years between 1913-1915 but we could not resist a detour to the mountains. We left Denver early as all the commuters were heading into the city. Our aim was to get some walking done in Golden Gate Canyon State Park before it got too hot. One of the winding roads up into the mountains reminded us of a previous trip to Corsica when we rented a gîte in a mountain village up a very similar road. On the way up a fox crossed the road in front of us with its prey in its mouth, presumably to feed cubs. Further on some deer were just off the road. We arrived at the park as it was opening and set off on one of the trails. It led uphill in a forest of mostly pine but with some spruce and aspen. There were lots of wildflowers on the ground and we heard several birds but I am not familiar with American birdsong.
Pine Golden Gate Canyon State Park 7 July 2016-1
Forest Flower Golden Gate Canyon State Park 7 July 2016-1
Back at the Visitors’ Centre, some children were feeding the trout in the pool there, which is fed by the Ralston Creek. We headed back to the road and then joined the Peak to Peak Highway towards Nederland.
Peak to Peak Highway 1  7 July 2016-1
We were in need of coffee before that and stopped in Rollinsville at the Stage Stop. It is a bar, restaurant and music venue it seems and you can even take your dog on to the upstairs patio.
Stage Stop Rollovillle 8 July 2016-1
The next stop was Nederland where we found a spot by the covered bridge and local garden to have our picnic lunch. Driving through Boulder Canyon took us into the city where we wandered downtown until it was time to head to our B&B. There were so many street performers it was like Edinburgh at Festival time. It also has the highest concentration of used bookstores in the USA. One book and music store we wanted to look in said that it opened afternoons and evenings but I am not sure what time their afternoon started as there was no sign of life when we stopped by. While having an ice-cream, we watched a House Sparrow steal a scrap of food from the ice-cream seller’s cart. It seems that as in Australia, someone thought it was a good idea to introduce European birds in the 19th century. The citizens of Boulder have purchased land around the city to make a green belt and prevent further expansion and generally there seems to be much more care for the environment here than in some of the places we have passed through on this trip. After checking in and freshening up, tea in the garden we headed into town for dinner. When I was with a group trekking in Ladakh and we were stranded by floods with injured people, stranded hikers of various nationalities and traumatised villagers to deal with, someone commented that whatever was happening, at 5pm the Brits sat down and had a cup of tea. Dinner was a curry at the Sherpas’ Adventurers Restaurant where we watched the staff scare away a squirrel that was trying to steal fruit from the tree over their courtyard. That is an animal that has gone the other way to the sparrow. The American Grey Squirrel has squeezed our native red squirrel into only a few places and in my garden the grey squirrels steal bird food, unripe cherries from the tree and have even chewed the lead flashing around the chimney on my studio. When we were on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State a few years ago, James commented that the squirrels were a bit skinny. I pointed out that this was the native animal’s natural physique and that the ones in our garden were extraordinarily well-fed.