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Tag Archives: Pipestone Canyon

Yesterday was a glorious fall day. If you were not outside, I am sorry about that.

Most of the snow has melted so ski season is mostly over and hiking season is officially underway. Mountain Bluebirds and Spotted Towhees added a few sprinkles of color in an otherwise pretty monochrome setting. The songs of Western Meadowlarks accompanied me for much of the hike. This area burned in the giant fires of 2014.

The morning’s bird list: Gray Partridge, Dusky Grouse, Golden Eagle, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Say’s Phoebe, Black-billed Magpie, Clark’s Nutcracker, Common Raven, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Mountain Bluebird, American Robin, Brewer’s Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Spotted Towhee, Western Meadowlark, Cassin’s Finch.

This old harvester has been fading into the landscape for a long time.

The Carlton Complex Wildfires started nine months ago tomorrow. It was a devastating event – burning wildly and consuming trees, shrubs, hillsides, wildlife and homes for people and animals. Nine months later, I took a walk through Pipestone Canyon, a favorite area for walking and bicycling and birding. Like our hillside, it is beginning to recover but some areas burned so hot, there is no sign of life. I heard a Canyon Wren from the rocky cliffs above and heard raptors screeching at each other or maybe at me. I was surprised to encounter numerous Dusky Grouse. I wonder what they are eating? Wildflowers and grasses are thriving in some areas. Shrubs and trees that did not burn too hot are slowly recovering.

Most years, it is a long slog to get up to the Pipestone Rim Trail in January. You’d have to park at the bottom of Lester Road and walk, snowshoe or ski up to it and then you’d be tired before you even got to the trail. This year, we can drive to the trailhead. With just a bit of snow it is getting lots of use from hikers, dog walkers and fat bikes. Three women and five dogs enjoyed it yesterday. Snow was in the forecast but the few flakes that fell didn’t amount to anything and at one point the sun was shining. More snowflakes in today’s forecast.

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