Monday, October 14, 2013

WestTrip 2013 - Part 3

Day 3 - October 7th

Day 3 promised warmer weather, and with us now settled into the condo for the week we figured it was a good opportunity to make the drive over to North Park and State Forest State Park.  This is considered to be the "moose capital of Colorado", and with the snow hanging on in the higher elevations we figured it best to take advantage before the 60 degree weather melted it away.  On the drive over from Steamboat Springs, Clark Peak slowly grew larger as we made our approach until we were in the park with it as our backdrop.

North Michigan Creek cut the path through the park that we followed, and it was a beautiful stream.  One that I would love to return to with a rod in hand to fish the many stair stepped beaver ponds.

North Michigan River

The kids were desperately needing a break following the drive over, so we hopped out to walk up the road listening for elk and soaking in the sights.  We hadn't been out of the vehicle more than a couple of seconds before Amy noticed a group of mule deer walking through the woods about 150 yards from us.  Unfortunately, the cover was so thick I was unable to snap a decent photo.

Dad taking a little stroll along the road
A short distance upstream was a small dam and lake, when we crested the top we were greeted with a stunning view.

Here the kids ran and played for a while on some vacant campsites.  Occasionally they would stop for a photo...

Trey just wanted to sit down and look at the mountains

I even got my dad to stop running around and playing in the snow long enough for a photo.

It was nearing lunch time, so we kept on moving upstream beyond the lake.  I was really expecting to see some moose or elk upstream of the lake where the creek meandered around forming a kind of swampy area, perfect moose habitat.

Unfortunately no moose to be seen
Beyond this point the roads began to get a little sketchy as all of the snowfall had begun to melt and was creating some wonderfully sloppy mud roads.  Thankfully we had an AWD vehicle that eased the confidence driving back through the sloppy stuff.  Eventually, the kids started getting hungry so we chose to head to the little town of Clark nearby.  Shortly, after pulling out onto the main highway headed to town, dad did it again....  "MOOSE!", he yelled!  I looked over to see a large moose walking right through the middle of a pasture field, however this time there was a vehicle behind me and I couldn't stop.  So, I had to go up the road a little ways and pull a U-turn and come back.  I managed to snap a few long distance pictures before he disappeared into the creek bottom undergrowth.

Trey managed to be awake to see this one, which I was excited about.  He managed to sleep through the first moose of the trip, and he was bummed out that he missed it.  Then we continued on to our original destination for some lunch.  There is where I got to cross off another item from my must do/see list.  There I saw what I couldn't find on my previous trip to Colorado just three weeks earlier.... Rocky Mountain Oysters!  Oh yes, when oysters are on the menu, thou shalt consume!

They were quite tasty, and before long both my wife and son were giving them a try...  Those of you who know my son, understand that this is by far not the most exotic thing he has eaten.  My little mini-me has quite the adventurous taste.

After a very filling lunch it was time to return to the condo.  On the drive back, a herd of antelope presented too good of a photo opportunity for me to pass up.  

This nice buck actually peaked my interest in a return hunting trip, as a buddy of mine made a trip out here to kill one while I was in Boulder recently.  Very tempting prospect....  Maybe in a few more years on that "guys trip" Trey was asking for.


David Knapp said...

Very nice Travis! I was up North Michigan Creek yesterday and got into some nice browns up above the lake. I'm still trying to figure out if they are running out of the lake or if they live in the stream year round...guess I'll just have to investigate. Glad you guys got to see some moose!

Travis said...

David, that little creek looks amazing. I figured those little beaver ponds were loading with small brookies. I am seriously contemplating a camping trip over there sometime in the summer, absolutely beautiful area. Did you go very far up the road beyond the lake? About 1/2 mile past the lake it turned into a muddy sloppy mess that had us sliding all over the place even in the AWD...

19" Clinch River Brown