Posts Tagged ‘Flagstaff Road’

There’s A Big Moon On The Rise

November 16, 2016

“Do not swear by the moon, for she changes constantly.”

William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet   

On November 14, 2016 the full Moon came closer to Earth than it has since 1948, the same year that there was a surprise victory in a US presidential election – President Harry Truman and New York Governor Thomas Dewey. Perhaps it is fortunate that we won’t witness another so called “supermoon” like this until 2034.

The term “supermoon” is not astronomical, but it originated in modern astrology. The astronomical name for this celestial phenomena is the perigee-syzygy of the Earth–Moon–Sun system (hence the popularity of the non-scientific term supermoon). It occurs when a full Moon comes closest to Earth as it follows its slightly elliptical orbit around us.


A Supermoon Occurs When a Full Moon is Closest to Earth in its Elliptical Orbit (

A bigger Moon seemed like a good excuse to watch this lunar event from Panorama Point on Boulder’s Flagstaff Mountain


Panorama Point On Flagstaff Road


Panorama Point Overlook


This overlook faces East with a view of the City of Boulder. The University of Colorado is directly below. The lakes are the Valmont and Baseline Reservoirs .


The Daytime View From Panorama Point at 12:18 PM


Waiting for a Super Moonrise in 15 Minutes at 5:07 PM

The first hint of moonlight occurs on the horizon at 5:33 PM…


Can You See The First Light of The Silvery Supermoon?


At 5:40 PM The Supermoon Rises Above Low Clouds


At 5:46 PM It Is Clear of The Clouds


Here It Is At 6:08 PM Reflecting Off Of The Valmont Reservoir.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to capture a clear image of the moon and the city lights at the same time so I opted to expose for the Earth rather than the Moon. Here’s a photo I took of the (same) full Moon on 7 December 2014 at 9:39 pm.


Same Moon Different Year



Boulder Birch Survived Big Chill

June 9, 2014

Paper Birch Vista

“Beneath you birch with silver bark
And boughs so pendulous and fair,
The brook falls scattered down the rock:
and all is mossy there.”
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

When the ice sheets from the Last Ice Age receded from Colorado about 11,000 years ago they left a vastly different environment for the fauna and flora that survived. Colorado’s high altitude encouraged great glaciers, some of which remain to this day (although they are now thawing quickly). This epoch not only wiped out the wooly mammoths, it took out the Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera) trees as well.
Our Rocky Mountains were covered with Paper Birch until the climate warmed after the glaciers retreated. Now there is one small canyon in Boulder Colorado which is so narrow and protected that it endured the harsh Arctic-like climate and subsequent warming that changed the local landscape. We don’t have any remaining mammoths but we do have a small stand of Paper Birch that survived the post Ice Age warming. This Ice Age-free place is called Long Canyon, sometimes called “the Canyon that Time Forgot”. Let’s go back in time to find our ancient trees.

We start at the South side of the Realization Point parking lot on Flagstaff Road

The Trail is on the South of Flagstaff road at realization Point

The Trail is on the South of Flagstaff road at Realization Point (the traffic cones)

Descend thru the trailhead to the left of the Green Mountain Lodge Sign…

Descend to the Green Mountain Lodge

Descend Past the Green Mountain Lodge Sign

Soon you encounter the upper end of the Gregory Canyon Trail. Go right (West) after crossing the streambed (which was severely rutted by recent flooding)…

Cross the Rutted Stream and head West

Cross the Rutted Stream and Head West

The Habitat Conservation Sign holds a clue of what’s to come…

Paper Birch Clue

Paper Birch Clue

Continue to the Lodge where the trail splits, take the right trailhead into Long Canyon…

Soon the Trail Splits

Soon the Trail Splits

Sorry, no pups allowed because of the sensitive ecology on this trail…

Sorry Pups

Sorry Pups

Here’s the Green Mountain Lodge

Green Mountain Lodge

Green Mountain Lodge

Continue over the bridge…

The Bridge to Long Canyon

The Bridge to Long Canyon

Enjoy the welcoming stream…

Enjoy the Gurgling Stream

Enjoy the Gurgling Stream

Enter the Forest…

The Deep Forest

The Deep Forest

Enjoy the Canyon flora…

Heart-leaved Arnica (Arnica cordifolia)

Heart-leaved Arnica (Arnica cordifolia)

Lance-leaved Chiming Bells (Mertensia lanceolata)

Lance-leaved Chiming Bell (Mertensia lanceolata)

Shooting Star (Dodecatheon)

Shooting Star (Dodecatheon pulchellum)

Western Wallflower (Erysimum asperum)

Western Wallflower (Erysimum asperum)

Coral Root Orchid (Corallorhiza maculata)

Coral Root Orchids (Corallorhiza maculata)

Enjoy the fauna…

Long Canyon Deer (Odocoileus hemionus)

Long Canyon Mule Deer (Odocoileus hemionus)

We finally come to the ancient Birches…




Betula papyrifera

The flowers are wind-pollinated catkins 1.5 in/38 mm. long growing from the tips of twigs…

Birch Flowers

Birch Flowers Appear In Late May 2015

If you continue 1.1 mi/1.8km to the upper end of the Trail you are on Flagstaff Road where you can catch a quick glimpse of the Continental Divide at the Indian Peaks. Here is where the glaciers went …

Continental Divide Peek

Indian Peaks Peek

This is the end of the tale of the Boulder birches until the Next Ice Age is induced by climate change.

Super Cool Cloud Trapped In Boulder Forest

October 10, 2012

Low flying stratus clouds recently settled over Boulder. They were part of a cold front which dropped the temperature at night blanketing the area with supercooled drizzle. When the clouds finally departed Mandy and I left for an early post-drizzle walk on the Tenderfoot Loop Trail. We were hoping to see the first snow of the season on the Continental Divide.

On the way up Flagstaff Road we noticed flocked trees above the Flatirons

Dawn revealed flocking above the Boulder Flatirons
7 October 2012 @ 7:30am

Closer observation revealed that the flocking was a glaze of ice caused by freezing drizzle

Flocked Pine Needles

This glaze encapsulated grasses…

Glazed Grasses


Glazed Branches

And leaves…

Red Glazed Leaf

Glassy Leaf

As the sun reasserted its warmth the snagged cloud was liberated from ice back to water vapor so it could form rain again…

Mountain Mandy Sniffs A Snagged Cloud

On the way home we did catch some early snow on the Indian Peaks (as well as some liberated clouds). It’s a harbinger of frost to come…

First Snow Dusts the Indian Peaks

%d bloggers like this: