Monday, August 17, 2015

Eagles Nest Wilderness, CO & Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, KS

We are back! We so enjoyed our trip to Colorado and our stops along the way. We decided to drive from our place in Central Ohio and it took us about 24 hours or so. Thanks to the Prius our gas there and back cost us only about $150 and with camping the entire time we spent well under $300 for this whole trip including all our food. That's how we like it!

It's been a dream for a long time to get into the Rocky Mountains during peak wildflower bloom and we both were beyond thrilled with our timing. Enjoy our highlight photos and if you want to see more, friend me on Facebook.

Getting least favorite part of backpacking. Poor Steve.

On the trail and happy again...stunning scenery greeted us immediately.


Good thing we brought our coats and hats...a cold night took us into the tent early, but we were ready after our long trip there. This was in extreme contrast to the prior night in Kansas where 10 p.m. temperatures still hovered around 90 degrees F.

The wildflowers were truly beyond our greatest expectations...words cannot even begin to express the abundance we experienced.

We backpacked a 25-mile loop in the Eagles Nest Wilderness by traversing this meadow and climbing up that hill in the distance. The white you see is remnant snow pack! The little seeps and streams (in large part from the snow melt) all along this hillside are what feed the wildflower abundant meadows.

The orange lichens delighted us!

We feel hugely grateful to have the physical ability to do this hike and to experience such wildness.

The sky on Elliot Ridge was so vast and so blue and so incomprehensible to me. All I could do was look around and try to not let me jaw drag down the trail.

It sure made us happy though...

The heart of the Eagles Nest Wilderness:

This is a place not overly visited due to the highest peak sitting in the 13,000' range versus the 14,000 range. The lowest lakes definitely see more visitation, but we saw only two people up on top. Perfect. Abundant shallow lakes just below the Elliot Ridge trail made for a perfect campspot and wildlife viewing zone.

What a campsight. I think part of my heart is still up on this mountain.

I feed my soul in these places in ways I cannot anywhere else.

To see wild creatures, like this marmot and to hear bugling elk is a gift.

We made time on our trip after our backpacking expedition for a little rockhounding for agate, petrified wood, etc. This property is BLM land and was loaded with lots of little rocks that I can't wait to tumble.

This is what happens if you get dry gulched. Beware.

The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in the Flint Hills of Kansas called our names on our way back to Ohio. We visited on a crazy hot, heat index warning day, but what a place! The Flint Hills are beautiful and filled with the last best stands of tallgrass prairie. Don't miss it!

Dung beetles made quick work of the bison scat. We didn't see any of these furry giants, but are glad to know they are there and doing what they are supposed to do.

The prairies also feed many, many others. What an incredible ecosystem!

A milkweed we haven't seen in a while - Spider Milkweed (Asclepias viridis):


We so enjoyed our trip and were so sad to say goodbye to our dear Emmylou when we returned. It seems an unfortunate series of events led to her death, but we know while she lived with us she loved her life and her fellow chicken friends. Bye sweet Emmy...we miss you!


  1. What a wonderful trip...I know what you mean about the wide open skies I do love that and its rare here in SC we are blessed with many trees...but not open spaces.
    Sorry to hear about your EmmyLou, I know you will miss her. She was a beauty!

    1. Thanks Sondra. We do miss her! As for the trees, it's the same in OH. We do love them, but sometimes it sure is nice to see wide open spaces! :)

  2. Hi J&S... "Wow" what a wonderfully gorgeous trip.
    Love love your photos, enjoyed them so much.

    Happy for you to be making great memories.

    Poor EmmyLou :( She had a great home.


    1. Hey Grace! Thanks for your kind thoughts on Emmylou. Yes, we were wowed by this trip. :) We hope your summer is fantastic!!


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