Rocky Mountain Natl Park gives free Ranger-guided snow-shoe tours on the weekends, so we signed up for one last Saturday. The famous High Ridge Road that connects the east side of the park to the west side is closed in the winter, so the two sides are almost like separate parks. Touring the place on a snowy winter day felt like trying to spy on a wilderness in hiding... it's not easy to get to and then it's covered in several feet of snow. All interpretive signs are buried, only a few parking areas are plowed out and the road only goes 10 miles. Trails are only accessible by ski or snowshoe. (No photos, since it was just snow and trees covered in snow). On our tour, Hubbers and I were the token tourists... the rest were locals, which seems rather odd for a national park.
Our guide was a wildlife biologist. I learned that black bears weigh a mere 12oz at birth, and they're born in the middle of mom's winter hibernation so they have time to eat and grow before going out into the bigger world. I also learned about subnivean habitat - that's where all those little ground animals like mice go in the winter.
On our way to the park, we stopped at Lonesome Stone Natural Fiber Mill which is just around the corner from us. They have quite a few alpacas plus a few llamas and goats. They breed and raise the animals, as well as process fleece into fiber. And they do absolutely gorgeous hand-dyeing. After meeting the alpacas and watching the machinery work the fiber, I picked out some new yarn to go with the yarn I already have from them. The top greenish yarn is wool in a complimentary colorway as this hat I made. The brown is alpaca, and I think it goes very well with the yarn of that hat, so I'll use it to make a matching scarf (I'll explain that better once I start the project). The bottom is an odd-lot washable merino sock yarn. I don't know why I always feel compelled to buy sock yarn when I find it on sale.