Blog Archives

An Eye on the Roaring Fork River in Aspen

ACES has a new tool that measures streamflow on the Roaring Fork River in Aspen!

Roaring Fork Valley Phenology | July 9, 2015

My standard "need to be back home in two hours" hike is up Hunter Creek around to the trails on Smuggler Mountain and down the road. I do this hike at least once a week and take photos in the same spots each time. My intent is to document the change in the seasons and how the life events of plants and animals are progressing. I think about what I am seeing, smelling, and hearing, and usually jot down notes when I get home. 

Roaring Fork Valley Phenology | May 11, 2015

2015 marks the fourth year ACES has tracked the seasons with repeat photography. It is so easy to forget what happened even just last year, and the pictures remind us of what previous years looked like. Couple the pictures with data, and a story emerges.

Roaring Fork Valley Phenology | May 19, 2014

Three years of Aspen Mountain on May 9 (click on photo above to enlarge). What do you remember about those years? 

2012 looked beautiful but what we see in the picture is the result of the lowest snowfall totals in decades and a warm, extremely dry spring. This led to fire bans throughout the valley and no 4th of July fireworks. 2012 was the year of the High Park Fire near Fort Collins, and the Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs.

Roaring Fork Valley Phenology | April 30, 2014

Despite the Snow, on goes the show...What are the first native flowers you see each spring?

Roaring Fork Valley Phenology | December 6, 2013

The powerful winter storm that just passed through our area closed schools and made traveling difficult. The storm also slowed a young Common Loon Gavia immer pictured above. It must have quite a story of how it came to rest near Aspen Village earlier this week.

Roaring Fork Valley Phenology | November 11, 2013

Mule deer Odocoileus hemionus have been the focus of my family’s wildlife watching over the past week. They have been frequently seen along the Rio Grande Trail and at Hallam Lake as the rut (mating season) approaches. On November 3rd these bucks were sparring in the yard. Later the same day the bigger buck was thrashing willows. Things are heating up. 

Roaring Fork Valley Phenology | October 28, 2013

Since spring this blog has paid special attention to the shrubs in the Aspen area.  We witnessed an amazing flowering season, followed by more berries than anyone can remember. Now we're focusing on our feathered and furry friends that feast on the shrubs' fruit, berries! Bear conflicts have almost been a non-issue in town this summer and fall because of the bumper crop of berries. They should be going into their dens full and fat in the next couple of weeks. 

Roaring Fork Valley Phenology | October 21, 2013

We have been caught in a dilemma the past couple of weeks at Hallam Lake. Five separate snow events have covered the fallen leaves from our numerous cottonwoods. Usually a little snow on the leaves is not a problem for raking. If we wait a few days for the high pressure and sunny skies to show up, the snow disappears leaving light dry leaves that can be easily raked up off of the trails, driveways, and decks. But with the pattern we have seen lately the leaves on the ground have stayed wet and heavy, which are not efficient to move.

Roaring Fork Valley Phenology | October 14, 2013

Wooly bear caterpillars, the larval stage of the Isabella tiger moth Pyrrharctia Isabella, have been spotted around the Aspen area over the past week or so.

Can the width of the wooly bear’s central rusty stripe predict the length and severity of the coming winter? Folklore suggests if the stripe is thick, a mild winter will follow, and if it is thin winter will be harsh. Have there been any studies to explore this? How did this idea gain popularity?