Beginner Birding Hike, Lory State Park

Obsession-wise, I go from zero to 60 in a snap. Dan knows to be careful with potential new hobbies, because I can’t be trusted to keep them casual.

Our closest state park, Lory, organizes interesting programming that we take advantage of whenever we’re free — which, frankly, isn’t all that often. (I believe our last structured Lory visit was for the First Day Hike in January. Yeesh.)

Lory recently announced a Beginning Birding Hike which fortunately coincided with a rare blank spot on our calendar. Though I’d been looking forward to it for weeks, the minute we arrived I wanted to turn around and go home. The weather was chilly and foggy, with spitting rain that never quite let up.

Dan and I spent an uncomfortably cool half hour snuggling our hot chocolates and listening to an introduction to birdwatching by Laurie, a volunteer representing our local Audubon Society. Laurie turned out to be a fascinating and knowledgeable guide (and much more adept at dressing for the weather than I am, no matter how hard I try).

From our meeting spot, Laurie led us through the Well Gulch Trail. The trail is less than two miles but passes through many different wildlife habitats. Between carefully walking over slick granite and frequently stopping to identify birds, the 2ish-mile trek took over an hour and a half.

You can see I loved snapping covert pictures of Laurie at work. That woman really knows her stuff and seemed pleased to be sharing her tips and tricks with us. Dan and I shared a pair of binoculars we’d purchased in Alaska maybe 7 years ago and have barely touched since; it felt great to put them to use again.

Laurie introduced us to the Merlin app for bird identification, which I can also see myself getting a lot of future use from. A few of the birds Laurie helped us identify this morning: flickers, nuthatches, Steller’s jays and a kestrel (which I first spotted!) drying out its wings.

I cannot quite tell if birding will become an obsession with me, but I truly enjoyed my time this morning. Our home is a stone’s throw from countless parks, refuges, open spaces and recreation areas — it would be no problem to keep Merlin on my phone and the binoculars in the car to identify birds on the fly.

Our foggy view of Horsetooth Reservoir from close to the end of our hike:

P.S. Bonus picture: do you love my trekking hat as much as I do? It was perfect for keeping off the light rain. And obviously for looking incredibly cool.

Hello, gorgeous.
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