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August Natural Areas Events

CITY OF FORT COLLINS AUGUST EVENTS

Skygazing at Fossil Creek

Saturday, August 2, 8:30-10:30 p.m., Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area

Meet at the parking lot off Carpenter Road.

Dress warmly and bring a blanket or chair to sit on to enjoy viewing the night skies with telescopes provided by the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society. For cancellation updates related to weather, visit ncastro.org. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at naturetracker.fcgov.com.

 

Behind the Scenes at Bobcat Ridge

Monday, August 4, 9:00-11:00 a.m., Bobcat Ridge Natural Area

Meet at the parking lot.

Cultural and natural history intermingle at Bobcat Ridge. Pick from two programs: hike to a stone circle and learn about Native American history at Bobcat Ridge, or hike to a wildlife camera and discover how wildlife images are used in schools and at CSU. Both hikes 2 miles, easy.  Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at naturetracker.fcgov.com.

 

Pelican Pride

Tuesday, August 5, 5:00-7:00 p.m., Kingfisher Point Natural Area

Meet at Nix Farm, 1745 Hoffman Mill Road.

Pelicans in Colorado? Yes! Learn about these interesting lake birds as they preen, fight, fly, fish, and roost, and why they live here. One mile or less, easy. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at naturetracker.fcgov.com.

 

Nature at Noon: Restoration Along the Cache la Poudre

Wednesday, August 6, 12 noon-1:00 p.m., Community Room at 215 N. Mason Street

Enter on the north side of the building.

The Cache la Poudre is the lifeblood of Fort Collins, providing a focus for wildlife as well as human residents. Learn about restoration projects along the river, the importance of the floodplain, the legacy of human uses along the river corridor, and future management in natural areas along the Poudre from the management staff of the Natural Areas Department. Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at naturetracker.fcgov.com.

 

Nature Nuggets—Animal Hide-n-Seek

Thursday, August 7, 9:30-10:30 a.m.; repeated at 11:00 a.m.-noon, Pineridge Natural Area

Meet at the Dixon Reservoir parking lot, off CR 42C.

Animals can blend in without even trying. Discover how camouflage works in the wild. Interactive program with fun facts, activities, and crafts for children ages 3-7 and parents. Parent must stay with child during the program. Groups or day care centers should contact dprice@fcgov.com to schedule a separate time. Come at either 9:30 or 11 a.m. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at naturetracker.fcgov.com.

 

Rustic Women of Soapstone Prairie

Saturday, Aug. 9, 11 a.m.-noon, Soapstone Prairie Natural Area

Meet at the north parking lot.

Early pioneers required sacrifice, hard work, and determination to make a living. Learn about three historical women who homesteaded at Soapstone Prairie and get a glimpse of pioneer life on the prairie. ½ mile on paved trail, easy. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at naturetracker.fcgov.com

 

Family Night Walk

Saturday, August 9, 7:30-9:30 p.m., NW side of Fort Collins

Explore a natural area after dark. Discover how animals use their night senses and how we can be more aware of our own senses. Learn to appreciate the night and nocturnal wildlife through activities and demonstrations along the way. This walk is designed for families. Groups should contact dprice@fcgov.com to schedule a separate time. Bring a jacket, good walking shoes, and water. 1-2 miles, easy. Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at naturetracker.fcgov.com. Location given at registration.

 

Adult Night Walk

Sunday, August 10, 7:30-9:30 p.m., NW side of Fort Collins.

Explore a natural area after dark. Discover how animals use their night senses and how we can be more aware of our own senses. Enjoy the sounds of night, as well as the quiet. This walk is designed for adults. Children 16 and older may attend, but only when accompanied by an adult. Groups should contact dprice@fcgov.com to schedule a separate time. Bring a jacket, good walking shoes, and water. 2 miles, easy. Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at naturetracker.fcgov.com. Location given at registration.

 

Fireside Tails: River Highway

Tuesday, Aug. 12, 7:00-8:30 p.m., Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, 408 Mason Court

Meet at the museum entrance.

Join a Master Naturalist around the campfire to hear stories and learn fun facts about wildlife found on the river corridor. S’mores provided by museum staff. Bring lawn chairs. Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at naturetracker.fcgov.com.

 

Stroller Stroll

Wed., Aug. 13, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Gateway Natural Area

Meet at the natural playground (entrance fee will be waived).

Head off on adventure, toddler style! Beginner program for parents and children 3 and under. Leave stroller at home for this particular program, but bring a picnic lunch to enjoy after exploring this kid-friendly natural area. Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at naturetracker.fcgov.com.

 

Nature Nuggets—Animal Hide-n-Seek

Thursday, August 14, 9:30-10:30 a.m.; repeated at 11:00 a.m.-noon, Pineridge Natural Area

Meet at the Dixon Reservoir parking lot, off CR 42C.

Animals can blend in without even trying. Discover how camouflage works in the wild. Interactive program with fun facts, activities, and crafts for children ages 3-7 and parents. Parent must stay with child during the program. Groups or day care centers should contact dprice@fcgov.com to schedule a separate time. Come at either 9:30 or 11 a.m. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at naturetracker.fcgov.com.

 

Soapstone Surprise

Saturday, August 16, 9:00-10:30 a.m., Soapstone Prairie Natural Area

Meet at the north parking lot.

Discover amazing archaeological and natural secrets, and find out why this site is so important to conserve. Bring water and sunscreen. ½ to 3 miles, easy. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at naturetracker.fcgov.com.

 

Astronomy at Bobcat Ridge: Getting Close in Space

Saturday, August 16, 7:30-10:30 p.m., Bobcat Ridge Natural Area

Meet at the picnic shelter, 1/8 mile from the parking lot.

A super moon happened August 10, and Venus and Jupiter are very close together on August 18.  Discover why planets and the moon sometimes appear close to each other at a brief program, followed by viewing with telescopes provided by the Northern Colorado Astronomical Society. Please arrive on time—the gate closes shortly after the program begins and parking is not allowed on the road outside the gate. Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at naturetracker.fcgov.com.

 

Bobcat Ridge Wildflowers through the Seasons

Wednesday, August 20, 5:30-7:00 p.m., Bobcat Ridge Natural Area

Meet in the parking lot.

Depending on the seasons, different wildflowers are blooming. Come every third Wednesday through September to see current flowers in bloom and learn about native plants. 1-2 miles, easy.

Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at naturetracker.fcgov.com.

 

Nature Nuggets—Amazing Ants

Thursday, August 21, 9:30-10:30 a.m.; repeated at 11:00 a.m.-noon, Bobcat Ridge Natural Area

Meet at the picnic shelter, 1/8 mile from the parking lot.

These clever social insects are more like us than you may think. Interactive program with fun facts, activities, and crafts for children ages 3-7 and parents. Parent must stay with child during the program. Groups or day care centers should contact dprice@fcgov.com to schedule a separate time. Come at either 9:30 or 11 a.m. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at naturetracker.fcgov.com.

 

Natural History of Coyote Ridge

Friday, August 22, 9:00-11:00 a.m. Coyote Ridge Natural Area

Meet at the parking lot on Taft Hill Road.

Discover the wide variety of prairie wildlife and plants, and see how geology connects it all as you ascend into the foothills. 2.5 miles, easy. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at naturetracker.fcgov.com.

 

Prairie and Foothills Adaptations Hike

Sunday, August 24, 9:00-11:30 a.m., Reservoir Ridge Natural Area

Meet at the parking lot at the west end of Michaud Lane.

Investigate plants that grow in the prairies and foothills and learn about adaptations that help plants and animals survive in an arid climate. 3 miles, easy to moderate. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at naturetracker.fcgov.com.

 

Fireside Tails: River Highway

Tuesday, Aug. 26, 7:00-8:30 p.m., Nix Farm, 1745 Hoffman Mill Road

Meet at the circular parking lot.

Join a Master Naturalist around the campfire to hear stories and learn fun facts about wildlife found on the river corridor. S’more-making follows the presentation. Bring lawn chairs. Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at naturetracker.fcgov.com.

 

Toddlers on the Trail

Wednesday, August 27, 10:30-11:30 a.m., Magpie Meander Natural Area

Meet at the playground at Soft Gold Park, at the west end of Hickory St.

Head off on adventure, toddler style! This program is designed for those with children 3 and under who have tackled the Stroller Stroll program before and would like more of a challenge. Load your toddler into a backpack or bring a jogging stroller since the trails are narrow. Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at naturetracker.fcgov.com.

 

Nature Nuggets—Amazing Ants

Thursday, August 28, 9:30-10:30 a.m.; repeated at 11:00 a.m.-noon, Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area

Meet at the program shelter near the parking lot, off Carpenter Road.

These clever social insects are more like us than you may think. Interactive program with fun facts, activities, and crafts for children ages 3-7 and parents. Parent must stay with child during the program. Groups or day care centers should contact dprice@fcgov.com to schedule a separate time. Come at either 9:30 or 11 a.m. Free, no registration required, but you can get a reminder and updates by signing up at naturetracker.fcgov.com.

 

Wildlife Cameras for Research and Outreach

Thursday, August 28, 7:30-8:30 p.m., Fort Collins Museum of Discovery, 408 Mason Court

Meet at the museum entrance.

Learn how Colorado State University undergraduates are utilizing motion-triggered cameras at Pineridge and Bobcat Ridge natural areas for research projects. CSU students also work with Boltz Middle School teachers to help sixth graders draw real-life connections to their ecology curriculum. Hear about their research and outreach efforts and see images projected in the museum dome. Free, REGISTRATION REQUIRED at naturetracker.fcgov.com.

 

Trail Work with Trailcology

Saturday, August 30, 8:30 a.m.- 1 p.m., Bobcat Ridge Natural Area

Trailcology has adopted the Ginny Trail and is hosting a trail work day including cleaning and improving water drainage features, closing and rehabilitating social trails and improving a wooden bridge.  Volunteers will be carrying tools 4-8 miles over rocky terrain.  No experience necessary, please wear appropriate clothing and sturdy footwear.  Please email Chris Herron at Trailcology to register and learn more, trailcology@gmail.com

 

 

On The Road: Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Runs

The first (and probably the only) thing you need to know about the Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Runs is that you should put it on your running bucket list.

Featuring fantastic views of Lake Tahoe, tons of great aid stations, and really knowledgeable volunteers, this race is as awe-inspiring as it is challenging.

tahoe rim trail 3

 The race website boats nothing but the best aid stations. It’s not an overstatement. Not only are they all good, but there are also a lot of them. If it isn’t too hot, you could do the entire 55k with only a handheld. The longest stretch without aid is only about 5 miles for a 55k runner and only 8 for the 50 or 100 mile runners. That’s right. Coke and watermelon galore.

In fact, if I were to do it again, I’d be tempted to try and do the whole first 15 or so miles with only a hand held, pick up my hydration pack at the drop bag site for the long haul around Diamond Peak, and dump my pack back at the aid station before heading back down the hill toward the finish.

You get to pass by your drop bag three time during the race- it’s practically valet ultra running. And you don’t have to cover the same ground over and over again to do it. All three loops are unique and beautiful in their own way.

The food at each aid station was exactly what I wanted to eat. I usually eat my own gels and chews, but for this one, I mostly ate aid station food for the first time in a race. The volunteers did a great job of keeping everything fresh and had a great variety.

Sweet potatoes are my new favorite race food. I also discovered that cucumber satisfies in all the same ways as watermelon, but without the stickiness.

tahoe rim trail 4

Not only are these volunteers well-prepared in terms of food, they also really know their shit. No kidding. When you have hundreds of people running through the same site three times (in different directions and for different races) over the course of 30-some hours, things can get chaotic. In fact, I expected it to be. It wasn’t.

Every time I got into an aid station, a volunteer grabbed my water to fill it and told me how far it was to the next aid station. They all knew the course. They all knew the segments of all the races.

They knew where you were in the pack; if you were ahead or behind. Or, as one volunteer said to me- “You’re not running fast, you’re running smart- keep it up. 2 Miles to the next station”. He knew exactly what kind of encouragement I needed as a middle pack runner trying to keep myself from burning out in the first 15 miles of my first 50 mile race.

I can only conclude that they read minds.

tahoe rim trail

And that they are some bad-ass, generous and dedicated people. They stuck it out in horrible rain and heat and hail all weekend long.

Aid station volunteers didn’t even abandon post atop Snow Valley Peak during a lightning and hail storm. That actually doesn’t give them enough credit- not only did the scout station volunteers stay there, but they shoved sandwiches and cokes into our hands as we came into the station and then piled us into the safety of their cars to wait out the lightning which was striking the peak all around us.

….They also wear costumes. There was a guy on a unicycle and jugglers. Like I said, it’s valet running, complete with entertainers.

I really can’t say enough good things about this race. All races are fun and volunteers are always appreciated, but really and truly, this was far and away the most convenient, well-staffed, and well-stocked race I’ve ever done. Or heard of.

It’s also really tough. The race slogan is “A glimpse of Heaven, a taste of Hell” for a reason….(but you have a very generous time limit.)

I learned the hard way. There is a ski hill involved in the latter. More on that later.

This race fills up in December of the year before and is on a lottery system for both the 50 and 100 because of it’s popularity. But aside from some traffic in the first few miles due to the 55k and 50 mile races starting at the same time, this was not cramped, crowded, or otherwise uncomfortable due to the large number of runners. There weren’t even crowds at the aid stations. And unlike some other super popular races (*cough-*Leadville 50*-ahem*) there wasn’t trash left all over the course or really much sign that hundreds of people had just run through the area.

Also, did I forget to mention? They’ve got really great trails.

I always brag about our trails here in Larimer County and how happy I am to come home to our trails after vacations to places with neglected, unused trails (Santa Fe, I’m looking at you). The Tahoe Rim Trails rival our trails in every way. They might even be better. Tahoe Rim Trail is clearly beloved; it is well maintained and used by people in the area.  And on top of that, it isn’t made out of this rocky stuff you get here. No run-down, run-off clay. Just pristine, dirt single-track over mountain ridges and through lichen-covered forest.

So while I’m still holding a personal grudge against a 2-mile, 2,000 ft. ski hill that makes an appearance somewhere around mile 30, I highly recommend you get your lottery entry in for next year and take advantage of everything this race has to offer.  

tahoe rim trail 2

 

 

 

Cheyeanne Canyon Rock Climbing

What is this? This is Chloe leading a climb.

The climbing best known in Colorado Springs is in the Garden of the Gods park, where the sandstone is crumbly and you get to climb while gobs of open-mouth tourists point and stare. Oh funbuckets.

So while I was in town, I thought it would be best to find somewhere to climb that does not suck. While 11 Mile Canyon and Shelf Road are really not far away, the climbing in North Cheyenne Canyon is close enough that you could easily get in a few routes after work during the week.

Today’s pic comes from the Amphitheater. An 8, a 9, a 10 and an 11. All short and well protected, so a perfect place for beginning leads. Not the best climbing area ever. Like I said, short routes and not many of them. A little crumbly. But pretty easy to find, no fees, no crowds and far enough off the road to feel like you’re away from it all while still being right outside town. Directions, instructions here, or search for it on mountain project.  On a side note, if you want to do the 5.7 nearby, be prepared to make your own anchor. Tourists can easily hike up to them and apparently love to clip the bolts (steal everything like total a-holes).

But in any case I was happy to finally lead a route. Which was the 5.8 called  “Climbing by the Brooks”. While your typical 5.8 is something I can finish clean anytime, leading is very different. There is always the potential to, you know, fall a good long ways. Well… can and eventually will. In a way, I think my first lead is a little like the beginning of Jurassic Park. You see all the omnivore dinosaurs and are so inspired by  all the glory of this scientific achievement with that joyful, rolling overture in the background. I’s all so magical. And then later someone gets eaten. I imagine my first real lead fall, in contrast to this weekend’s climb, will feel an awful lot like visiting the velociraptor exhibit.

 

What have you done?!?