July 8th

From our RV, we hiked up the dirt road to a trail head. We decide to circumnavigate the trail that leads around the lake in this mountainous area. Luckily we took it easy today, did our 5 mile hike early. More than half way we paused and let our legs dangle from a simple wooden bridge, sat silent for several minutes and absorbed this gentle scene. We arrived back at the RV at noon to more hour of sunny day and a cobalt blue sky. Suddenly the sky transformed, dark clouds,thunder, lightning and sustained hard and steady rain. I’ve put this time to good use catching up on this blog. We are in a National Park and don’t have access to some comforts of home like good quality internet service. Today I realized that I could catch up on this blog by using MS Word off-line and hopefully sometime tomorrow, I, well Allen can post.

One sad part of this trip is the amount of dead pines in this area especially. At first I wondered why there were two colors of pine trees in the mountains. I estimated 50% green and 50% blue. The difference I soon realized is that the blue pines are dead, killed by a beetle that bores into them and nests in the vital center of the tree. The dead trees have withered, completely barren of life. Their trunks turn red and scaly. Worse than that the red scaly trunks almost ubiquitous among the infected but still living seemingly strong and hardy but you look up at the branches and see stages impending death. My estimate is that 80% of these trees are doomed. In Colorado over 800 million trees are affected, the land area in total is the size of Rhode Island.