Morning on the Santa Fe

On the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend, I woke up at 5:30. My air mattress, which I’ve been sleeping on for six months now, has given up the ghost and I was, for all intents and purposes, sleeping on the floor. I decided to get up and go for a walk. Even with a stop to pick up breakfast at McDonald’s, I was on the New Santa Fe Trail by 6:00. It was a beautiful morning—the sun lit up the front range and a cool breeze kept the hiking comfortable. There were a few other early hikers, but not many. I went six miles from Monument to Palmer Lake and back, stopping frequently to look at birds. My total for the morning was 42.


Green-tailed Towhee, Swainson’s Thrush, and Western Wood-Pewee, all photographed by holding my phone up to my binoculars.




Often, I leave the trail and hike a railroad service road that parallels it. The birds are slightly less disturbed by hikers and joggers.


Palmer Lake


I took this one on an evening hike earlier in the week. A Black-headed Grosbeak in front of Pikes Peak.


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