Thanks Jim & Jamie Dutcher for permission to use photo of Lakota.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mammoth Cave to Rocky Mountain NP

Mammoth Cave, KY - Camped for two nights. Went roller blading. Abe compared me to an airplane when making my turns. I do not know how to stop but I have mastered a "California stop" which translates into slowing down - looking both ways - and proceeding with some caution and/or expecting others to stop. When temps reached 105 we packed it into a motel. B & I enjoyed margaritas and Mexican food. Later, a dip in the pool. It was empty for a few minutes until three awesome kids joined us - Genesis, Journey and Anthony. They climbed and clamored over us jockeying for position to jump off of our shoulders. Within moments there must have been 20 other kids leaping into the pool. Well, it only took a few seconds to imagine how much urine was building up in the pool so, we opted out.

Later we met a three-pack of hungry cats. One in particular - B referred to as Little Bit and I referred to as Little Little - was emaciated. We fed these cats while there and donated food to the motel before leaving. The manager and cleaning lady feed them daily. Hopefully they survive and find some quality of life. Turns out there were about a dozen cats there. Very sad.

Hit the road for Colorado. Took some crazy driving videos. Lots of singing to tunes and dancing in our seats UNTIL... Kansas! BORING! The same old, same old for endless hours. UNTIL... 
Colorado! Stayed overnight in Denver with B's friends. Awesome people(s) and simply a good time. Next morning, Boulder for a quick trip to Dot's Diner. I had to revisit for their biscuits. Once it was a hole in the wall at a gas station. Now, it seems to be a small chain operation.

Glacier Basin - camping for 8 or 9 nights and the best sleeping I've had this entire trip thus far.

Lots of elk!!! A total of 25 black bears in the park lands and an even lower number of mountain lions. Sadly, grizzlies and wolves are non-existent these days. They were once predators but due to their disappearance, elk have bred to overpopulation and are wreaking havoc. Additionally, they no longer migrate in winter and eat willows all year long stripping the area of this food for beavers and other wildlife. The NPS has installed several elk fences to prevent them from eating the willows allowing openings near the ground for beavers, coyotes and other small animals to retain access. Their hopes, elk will migrate again. Also, they are using birth control - collaring elk to reduce the numbers. They cannot reintroduce wolves and grizzlies to these parts due to the surrounding cities of Denver and Boulder, etc. because of the obvious - the park is not as large as Yellowstone and bears and wolves know no boundaries. Hence, a two-way danger.

Tomorrow is either a day of hiking, rafting or kayaking. Hmmm. Possibly a combination if there's enough time. Off to try to squeeze in a short hike tonight after I finish uploading more pics and drafting this note.

Oh! As far as work on this trip is concerned - the stories are coming in and are very interesting. BUT - I really want to get some rock climbing and hardcore backwoods stories. Need some locals to come out and submit their tales.

Next up - Moab (Arches National Park).