Early summer in Boulder. The sun is shining and I’m wearing sunscreen. The geese are with gosling, the cranes are fishing, the prairie dogs are pupping, and the bull snakes are hunting. The smell of the cottonwood blooming along East Boulder’s waterways makes it clear that the poetic phrase, “air like wine,” is no hyperbole.
The following pictures were all taken along the Boulder Creek Bike Path between the Valmont Bridge and the underpass at Pearl Street (Google Maps satellite view). I thought I’d never make it home, what with all the photo ops materializing on my route. Luckily I ran out of space on the SD card.
The crane was just standing there in the pond between Valmont and the back of the Flatirons Business Park, waiting for fish. It started wading away as I approached the shore.
The geese were in the usual nesting area along the shore, traveling west, just after the 55th Street underpass. If you’re lucky, you can sometimes pick up some great quill-caliber wing feathers in this spot. There’s always prairie dogs peeping away at you as you pass here. It’s a good time of year to watch the itty bitty tiny pups waddling around.
And this here’s a bull snake. I saw a small knot of youngsters crowded at the side of the path, and I slowed down to check out whatever they were staring at. I was just in time to nearly get knocked over as the snake made it perfectly clear that it did not appreciate being manhandled for the camera. Everyone jumped back as it whipped its considerable bulk around in a powerful lunge that translated clearly to “Hands off!”
The kid’s sneaker is included for perspective, but it’s not really enough to demonstrate the size of this critter. I’d say it was at least four feet long, maybe five, and thick as a stout tree branch.
Here it is again, winding away down the path beside my bookbag. You can almost make out the way its rattlesnake-like coloring on the body gives way to dramatic black and yellow stripes at the tail.
I can’t help wishing that I’d tried to pick it up too.