Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Changes in the Air

Brrrrrrr! We had our first day of Fall yesterday, Monday, Sept. 21st. The last day of official summer. It started off with thunder showers at 7:00 am. Really. That gets your attention. We all knew about the cold front that was blowing in over the Rockies yesterday and would drop our mild 80's and high 70's temps down into the low 50's for a couple of days. Then, we're supposed to creep back into the 60's then into the 70's by Friday.

That's perfect, because I have out-of-town guests coming in. Old friends/family. They'll be here for a week and plan to spend everyday driving into the mountains---Rocky Mountain National Park, only an hour away; the Cache La Poudre Canyon only 15 minutes north of Fort Collins; and lots of other gorgeous areas they've previously visited. As well as exploring the streets of Fort Collins lovely Old Town with its preserved architecture and great shops and cafes.

This is a great time to visit Colorado, folks, if you're thinking of a late season getaway. The end of September and early to mid October is a visual feast. The trees are leafed out in gorgeous colors and Fall's crispness in the air makes for great sleeping weather. And----the elk are bugling. Mountain music, as Kelly's boyfriend Steve calls it in my mystery series. If you haven't ever heard that eerie, shrill sound echoing through the Rocky Mountain forests, you should definitely plan a visit to Colorado during this time period.

Rocky Mountain National Park is a great place to see and hear the elk---mating and bugling. This is the season of the Rut. That's when the male elk (bulls) gather up their "harems" of females (cows) and try to keep them together despite myriad challenges from young fiesty bulls and older bulls who've lost their harems. All bluster and bravado and---lots of bugling. Then when bluster and bugled threats don't do the trick, then it's time for the antlers-to-antlers confrontation.

But---the park rangers will tell you it's the females, the cows, who do the deciding. Ol' Fred can bugle his head off as Agnes starts grazing closer and closer to New Guy Bob's harem. Fred will come charging up just so far. Agnes stops progessing and placidly grazes until Fred is distracted by another bugled challenge from the woods. Once Fred charges off to answer, Agnes sees her chance and takes it. She trots right over the road and onto Bob's turf and territory. By the time Ol' Fred finally notices, it's too late. She's happily grazing next to Bob. The Rangers say those lusty cows travel from one harem to another every night during the month-long rut.

Wow----talk about a soap opera.