Hello, Benjamin from Brother’s Campfire here!
There is a kettle on for coffee, tea, or chocolate. Help yourself, I think there is leftover pizza in the fridge. If you are here, you are family.
Now that you are settled in, stay awhile and I will spin you a tale.
0 Fahrenheit is uncommon in Colorado Springs and I do not believe it got any warmer than 15 F all day yesterday.
For all of my friends in Canada, I know, that is nothing. Steve from Steve’s Country has to warm the electric lines to charge his cell phone and store the fire in an insulated container so it does not freeze, but it was cold for me.
Colorado Springs and the surrounding area has a mild climate due to where it lays at the base of Pike’s Peak, so it is the temperature that surprised us more than anything else.
I layered up and went outside. First things first I broke the duck water and added more from a hose attached to the warm water inside.
I like my little bird friends and ensured the finches had some seeds as well. They seem to like our feeder.
There was an itch for adventure and Fountain Creek awaited a small distance off. It was time to use my snowshoes!
My good friend amd mentor, E. Diaz told me to bring trek poles. He speaks in a near whisper, but his advice is always loud and clear.
E. Diaz used to be a drill instructor for the US Army and has been deployed in some of the worst places on earth in his roles there. He has additional training afforded by the military so when the man suggests something, I give it my full attention.
For my gear selection, I try to wear wool and synthetic materials such as polyester and nylon in my layers. Anything cotton will freeze and make you miserable, but I can give you a few tips on that in another post if you want.
And so I was off, in more ways than one. It was so quite out there but I wasn’t alone.
I love looking at tracks. They tell a story the creature wont tell with words. The pair of tracks below tell me there was hope for water but it wasn’t available. They end at a waterline. I surmise it flew off in search of another source.
In many years of living in this area, I have seldom seen a small stream completely frozen over. I was just as surprised as the bird!
It was here that I discovered the wisdom of E. Diaz’s words. The ground had already been uneven and treacherous, but despite the front teeth that grip, my snowshoes were slick in the back on the ice. An ankle can get hurt rather quickly.
As I walked, I found some beautiful ice crystals. This was the highlight of my trip.
It was so peaceful out there. It was so quiet that I could hear the geese walking on the ice all the way across Fountain Creek.
I moved on down the trail and circled to the railroad tracks. I find the definite lines and the open fields just as beautiful as the woods. There are lessons to be learned in them.
This, is a harvester ant mound.
Inside are thousands of seed gathering ants. Most folks think of these girls as evil and kick the mound over to upset them, but I left it alone, reminded of scripture.
Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
Proverbs 6:6-8 KJV
These ladies are more intelligent than it would appear. They are not like the fire ant, looking for an excuse to bite, but gatherers. A harvester ant will walk further for a rare seed than a plentiful on right next to the nest.
I have not always looked so fondly on these creatures and have destroyed my share of mounds. Last year made a big difference.
On my first attempt to walk from Pueblo to Colorado Springs in one day, I became ill, probably from heat exhaustion. Removing my overloaded pack, I sat down and fell asleep. In my delerium, it was right next to a harvester ant mound and none of them attacked me.
I have resolved to leave them alone.
Now where was I? Oh yes, the trail. It was beautiful…. And cold.
I covered 6 miles and enjoyed every minute of it. I look forward to doing it again!