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Friday, July 12, 2019

Mama Grouse and Chick On The Trail

It's been a cooler-than-normal summer around here, likely due to the "Icebox-Effect" from all the leftover winter snow that still blankets our San Juan Mountains. That cool air settles into Lovely Ouray every night and makes good sleeping weather...the kind where you still need a blanket by midnight or so.

A few days ago we woke to a freak 35 degree outdoor temp...at least that's what NOAA said and for once I think they got it right. It was so cold I went around closing windows and re-lit the long-extinguished pilot lite on Ye Old Hearth. Brrr. 

The good news is that it helped us decide to hike up to Ouray Overlook, which is normally too hot and buggy this time of year, especially since we continue to lose tolerance for exercising when it's HOT (anything over 80 degrees). 

Yet to get up there...and we're dying (no pun intended) to do it
Though it wasn't as cool at the trailhead, it was a good day to switchback up 2100 feet in elevation. Bobbie was feeling perky so we pushed a little, enough to arrive at the Overlook with a sub-two hour time...albeit totally soaked with perspiration.  

Here are some of the views we encountered along the way...

Here's a shot of Imogene Pass...the little dip just left of center.

Normally Imogene is plowed before 4th of July, but there's no evidence that the County dozer has made it up that far yet.

Overlooking Ouray and backdrop-dead gorgeous mountains

The Haydens.  Been up there and found some geodes.

The Deep Thinker:  If only there was a zip line down to town...


Nearing the Trailhead, we came around a blind corner and ran into a mama grouse. She was not shy and came walking right toward us. I figured she was either suicidal or had chicks to protect. It was a standoff. She blocked the trail.

Finally, in the shadows, I spotted one of her little chicks near my feet! It slowly moved away into the sun toward mama, who darted off into the woods...I guess assuming the chick would follow. But it didn't; must of been a male...  

So beautiful, this little chick.

With mama no where to be seen,  the chick began to move away...then paused on a small log.

Then, much to my surprise, it flew up into a tree. It didn't appear to us that the chick had enough feathers to fly yet. Maybe it was a first flight :)

A cute ending to a perfect hike.
Peace Out!
mark and bobbie


  1. Dam Im going to be able to teach a course in Mountain Geography of Ouray Co when this blog wraps up, hopefully not for a few more years though. :)
    Have never seen a baby grouse before, so another lst thanks to BCB.
    What a great start to this Friday, beautiful Nature delivered right to my front room without leaving home and I didn't have to break a sweat.
    Stay Thirsty My Friends

  2. Such cute photos of the baby grouse. Amazing how well they blend in with the ground.

    1. Agree, its camouflage feathers are amazing.

  3. That header photo of BJ WOW!!!!! Keep on truckin you two! -scamp

  4. A beautiful chick!!! And still lots of snow. I'm glad that you found a great place to hike! It always blows my mind that the county plows backcountry 4wd roads...


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