Zeb the Duck Visits Rifle Falls State Park

I love waterfalls.   Mom said we will love Rifle Falls State Park.

Let’s go to Rifle Falls

Here we are.   Turning in, paying fee, parking, and then a short hike to Rifle Falls.

Rifle Falls

I love these.   There are three falls here.   Isn’t that great.   And mom, I’m getting wet here.   But the water spray feels good on a warm, sunny day.   To our left there is a path with flagstone steps.   Up we go.   Now we are near the top of the falls.

Close to the top of the waterfall

Different view looking from here.   There is a lot of calcium in the rocks here, so the the rock wall is lighter color and much softer than granite.   The water has caused cracks and crevices in the rock wall and also formed some caves.

Caves and red tint to rock wall

We also like the red color to the right.   Minerals make the rocks so pretty.   I’m learning that I like caves.

Caves

And here I am, inside a bigger cave.

I’m in a cave

I wonder what animals live here when I, Zeb the Duck, am not here.   The path is going down now, toward the camping areas.

Nice path

You can see this is a nice, easy trail.   We turn around and head back to the falls.   But, look at this.

Caterpillar

On a tree we admire this caterpillar.

Next to the caterpillar, on another tree, we like this animal home or nest.

Caterpillar with trees. Nests?

Not sure what lives here, but it is an unusual form.   Always so much to see and learn.    Back near the top of the falls, I like this view.

Falls. Zeb getting wet again

I am on the grass, but the photo is dark where I am.   Can you find me.   Again I am enjoying the wet spray from the falls.   Back down to the base of the falls, we take a path to the right this time.   Love the water.   But caves are great also.

Larger cave

I’m relaxing in this larger cave.   A great shelter if the weather gets bad.

Looking out

Inside the cave, looking out, I love all the green vegetation.   We were just here a couple days ago, so often in the fall and end of summer things look brown and dry.   But this is beautiful.   Back to the bottom of the falls.

Beautiful Rifle Falls

One last photo, from a different point.   Don’t you just love waterfalls?   Closer to the camping area and parking lot, we liked the picnic area.

Picnic area

Everything you could want for a picnic.   A table with a cover, for rain. snow, or intense mountain sun.   A charcoal grill if you want to cook.   And, my favorite, the river is behind the grill.   Dining music is provided by the river.  Did anybody bring food??   I bet you would love Rifle Falls also.

Zeb the Duck heads to Cripple Creek and Victor, Colorado

Today I, Zeb the Duck, am taking mom and a friend to Cripple Creek, Colorado.

Cripple Creek, Colorado

Cripple Creek is an old mining town in Colorado.   And that is why we are here today.   Our friend’s grandfather left Illinois and came to Cripple Creek about 1900.   The family story says he had mine claims but did not become rich.   In fact, he lost most of his money here.   The family has a photo of him in Cripple Creek, wearing a bear skin coat, from a bear he shot.   We are here today, looking for any records about Grandpa.   First stop is the museum in Cripple Creek.

Cripple Creek Museum

They used to have records available to the public, but not now.   The very nice lady suggested we go the the nearby town of Victor to search for records.   On our way to Victor, we stopped at the outdoor mining exhibit.

Cripple Creek and Victor gold rush

Wow.   Did you read that?? The towns of Cripple Creek and Victor had a really huge amount of gold.   More gold here than in the California and Alaska gold fields, combined.   There were a few old gold mining machines here, but look at this huge tire.

Huge tire

You can hardly see me in this tire.   What do they do with these giant tires?

Tire information

Each tire weighs 3,270 pounds and costs $14,500.   We will never complain about buying new tires for our cars again.   There is now surface mining in this area.   In Victor, we see that things have not changed much.

Victor, Colorado

We love this sign.   Let’s see what was happening in Victor during the gold rush.

Victor, Colorado during the gold rush

Famous people here, Jack Dempsey, a famous fighter, Lowell Thomas, famous radio and TV commentator, and what??  Soapy Smith was here also.   Isn’t this exciting?  Soapy Smith was promoting bullfights.   And fire station.

Firestation

Buildings look the same as when they were built over 100 years ago.   Here is the Lowell Thomas museum.

Lowell Thomas museum

There is an entire section dedicated to Lowell Thomas.   Also many interesting things from Victor and Cripple Creek.   Isn’t this a cute church?

Friends of St. Victor church

This is Friends of St. Victor Church.   Next to the church I, Zeb the Duck, loved this grotto.

Grotto next to church

Of course, while in Victor we inquired about records from the mining days.   They said they did not have any available, but to try Teller County Courthouse.   So, back to Cripple Creek to Teller County Courthouse.

Teller County Court House

We were sent to three different offices and each person we spoke with was so nice.   Everyone looked through the records in their office, but did not find anything we wanted.   But the staff was so helpful and showed us what they did have and let us also look at the records.   But, no records from Grandpa were to be found.   The humans will have to think and decide if they have any other ideas of places to look.   I would not be surprised if in the future we try again.   Leaving the courthouse and heading for our car, we encountered some of the local residents.

Local residents

They are descendants from the mining days and the working burros.

I think he likes me

I love this burro.   He is so relaxed and comfortable with humans and a rubber duck.   Well, time to leave Cripple Creek, but we make one last stop.   This is the famous, former brothel.   The gray building on the right.

Former brothel

Pearl DeVere was the madame and although shunned by the good people of Cripple Creek, she was very generous, helping the children and the poor.  During this time, miners earned about $3.00 per day.   Pearl’s ladies received $250 per night, which included dinner with Russian caviar, and French champaign, and the company of the lady.   And each gentlemen had to pass a personal and financial background check.  We learned about Pearl a few years ago when we were here for the cemetery tour.   Cripple Creek is a great town.   We think you would enjoy a visit here.

Zeb the Duck Meets Leonardo da Vinci

We all know Leonardo da Vinci as the painter of Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, but there is so much more.    We went to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to see the temporary exhibit about Leonardo da Vinci.

Leonardo da Vinci at Denver Museum of Nature and Science

If this exhibit comes near you, you really should see it.   Many of Leonardo da Vinci’s notes have been found and preserved.

Leonardo’s hand written notes

This bicycle was built from notes found in his papers.   However, he did not draw the sketch.

Bicycle

We now know that the graphite used in the sketch was not discovered until after his death in 1519.   Perhaps this was drawn from memory by one of his students?  Here is an early odometer.

Odometer

This measures the distance traveled.   The wheel rotates, moves a vertical gear, causing the horizontal wheel to move one notch and releases a pebble into the box.   The distance is calculated by multiplying the number of pebbles by the circumference of the wheel.  Cars and self driving cars were also in Leonardo’s mind.

About car

This may well be the first self driving car.

car

Many things were made of tin.   So, he invented the Rolling Mill.

Rolling Mill

Used to produce sheets of tin, the concept is still used today without major variations.   Leonardo sought to master the anatomy of the human body.

Drawings of human anatomy

He was the first to discover atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries.   Three and a half centuries later his drawings set the style and form for anatomical drawings in the textbook, Gray’s Anatomy.   While Leonardo loved observing and inventing, he did need money to survive.   So, he designed weapons of war for the wealthy in Milan and Florence.   This is his steam cannon.

Steam Cannon

Steam power was used to project missiles from a cannon.   No gunpowder was required, and the cannon was easily moved over battlefields.   The assault ladder.

Assault ladder

This ladder was portable and could be lengthened or shortened.   The incline was adjustable for different angles.   There is a crank below the wheel.   Perhaps this was the forerunner of the modern machine gun.

Forerunner of modern machine gun

Three sets of ten shells could be used at one time, for a total of thirty shots.   While on the move, a bridge may be needed.

Bridge

This bridge could quickly be erected from small tree trunks found on the edge of rivers.   Nothing else was needed and the bridge constructed ton made it very strong.   And beyond war, the birds were a subject of interest to Leonardo.

Flying machine

This was his idea for a flying machine.   The wings were movable, similar to wings of a bird.   A few of da Vinci’s paintings (reproductions) were on display.

Lady with an Ermine

Lady with an Ermine was featured, the original in Krakow, Poland.

La Madonna Renois

Also La Madonna Benois, the original at the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia.    A film was showing about the Last Supper and the restoration process.

Last Supper

As you can see, the painting was over an archway.   This painting was completed in 1498.   Now restored, the painting has survived over 5 centuries.  The painting is in Milan, Italy.   An entire room was dedicated to Mona Lisa.

Mona Lisa

We learned much about the restoration, the materials used for paint and colors, but let’s talk about eyelashes and eyebrows.   We have always been told Mona Lisa had none.   Nobody knew why.   But, perhaps she did originally have them.   During restoration evidence was found to show she may have had eyelashes and eyebrows.   So, where did they go?

Eyebrows and eyelashes??

These are the three main theories.   We will leave it to you to decide what you think.   The original Mona Lisa is at the Louvre in Paris, France.   As if that wasn’t enough for Leonardo to accomplish, let’s not forget costume designing.

A designer

These costumes would look great in theaters today.

Designed for the theater

Leonardo da Vinci was born in 1452 and died in 1519.   While the world now recognizes his genius, he apparently did not feel very accomplished.   These words are said to be Leonardo da Vinci’s own words.   “I have offended God and mankind because my work didn’t reach the quality it should have.”  We really enjoyed this exhibit and hope when it comes to your town, you will visit.

Last Day of Road Trip for Colorado Traveling Ducks

We should be home today, but the weather in Denver is definitely not as nice as it is here in northern Montana.   So, we get another day of road trip vacation.   We love it!   Our National Parks do not allow dogs to go on trails, so we are not in the park today.   The dogs may bark or try to chase the wildlife.  A dog trying to chase a bear, moose or elk may not end well.   We are following the river along the southern boundary.

Driving along southern boundary of Glacier National Park in Montana

Now humans, ducks and Chloe, the Colorado Traveling Dog, can all enjoy walking by the river.   We saw the turn off for a boat ramp, and had to get to the river.

Boat ramp. Middle Fork of the Flathead River

This is the Middle Fork of the Flathead River.   Back closer to the road we looked through the trees and wanted to get to this part of the river.

We want to walk on those rocks

But the river bank was rather steep.   This thick vegetation was green and beautiful.

Dense forest

Not a group to give up, we did get down the embankment to the river.   Chloe followed the humans and now is frolicking and exploring.

Chloe by the river

Soapy’s mom walked along the river looking at the different types of rocks.

Soapy’s mom looking at rocks

We spent most of the day wandering along rivers.   Another stop at Dairy Queen, then off to Bozeman, Montana for the night.   Our moms said we could drive from Bozeman to Denver the next day, but it would be a long drive.   Not much stopping.   When we left the motel in the morning, the weather had certainly changed.

Stormy sky leaving Bozeman, Montana

Leaving Bozeman, we really didn’t want to stop much and walk along trails.   Those storm clouds look serious.   From Montana, we drove into and through Wyoming.

Stormy through Montana and into Wyoming

The sky stills looks stormy.   We had some sun, some clouds, and of course, some rain.   So, humans….Why are we heading home today?    But it is OK.   The sun will shine soon in Denver and we are only an hour away from the Continental Divide and our 14,000 foot mountains.    We loved our trip, but we love Colorado also.

Hello Montana. Colorado Traveling Ducks Return to the United States

I, Zeb the Duck, and my fellow Colorado Traveling Ducks, Soapy Smith Duck, and Eider Duck, loved our road trip.   We loved visiting Alaska.  We appreciated the beauty and friendly people in Canada.   But it is always good to get back home.   While not near Colorado yet, we entered the United States and are now in the state of Montana.

Entering Montana, USA

Entering Montana just east of Glacier National Park, we are in the Blackfeet Nation.

Entering Blackfeet Nation

Such a beautiful area.   This was late May so the snow covered mountains greeted us.   We appreciated these metal sculptures.

Metal sculptures

This, Chief Mountain, is 9080 feet ( 2768 meters) above sea level.

Chief Mountain

While we were admiring Chief Mountain, a Montana State Patrol car pulled over to talk to us.   Yes, mom was a little nervous.  Why do humans get nervous when police cars stop to talk to them?   He was so nice.  He just wanted to tell us to take the first right turn ahead and we would see great scenery and better views of Chief Mountain.   We took the advice of the officer.   He was right.   This is Chief Mountain.

Chief Mountain

Continuing, we soon entered Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park

Driving on the road, the mountains were beautiful with a sunbeam shining through the clouds and trees and steam from the road rising to meet us.

Beautiful

Isn’t the world a beautiful place?   Driving and admiring the mountains, we entered Waterton Glacier International Peace Park.   Glacier National Park is in the USA and Waterton National Park is in Canada.

Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

Our countries have good relations so the two parks are the International Peace Park.   These snowy mountains fascinate us.

Snowy mountain

This is late May and the weather is getting warmer.   As the mountain snow melts, we begin to see small streams and small rapids.

Snow is melting

Now we have arrived at another customs station.

US Canada Customs station

We do not want to return to Canada tonight, so we turn around and admire more scenery.

Chief Mountain with lake

Chief Mountain is a great backdrop for this lake.   But we also encountered these horses grazing.

Horses

This gray horse is grazing close to the road.

Horse

He seems more interested in the grass than he is in us.   Hey humans, it is getting late and we have not seen any motels that are open.   Many will open this weekend.   Monday is Memorial Day, the official beginning of summer traveling season.   Driving further we can’t resist one more photo of the Rocky Mountains.

Evening mountain view

Ok, now to get serious and look for a motel.   We spend the night in Browning, Montana.   Next time we will show you more of Montana, during the day.

Sasquatch, Giant Beaver, Huge Sundial as Colorado Traveling Ducks head back to USA

I, Zeb the Duck, don’t like what I’m hearing from the humans.   Again, we have to hurry to get back to Colorado.   But, of course, we ducks will insist on a few stops.

Sasquatch at Sasquatch Crossing

Here we are at Sasquatch Crossing.   Sasquatch is in front of his restaurant.   Too bad we already ate.   Still heading towards the United States, but still on the Alaska Highway, we stop for Muffler Man a little north of Fort St. John.

Muffler Man north of Fort St. John

We stopped for the night at Fort St. John while heading north.   As you may remember, there was snow.   We had snow every day while heading north.   It is nice now, so Chloe took us all for a walk.

Walk time for Chloe and her mom

She needs exercise, and so do all of us.   Back with Muffler Man, we ducks sit on his shoes and on the top of posts.

We are all here with Muffler Man. And his really big axe

Can you find us?  We have arrived at Dawson Creek, the official southern end of the Alaska Highway, or AlCan (Alaska Canada) Highway.

Beginning of the Alaska Highway in Dawson Creek, B.C. Canada

From this point there are a couple choices of roads to arrive in the USA.   The most scenic way isn’t safe yet.   The lakes are still frozen and the roads are icy and closed in places.   Another trip to Canada’s parks and beautiful lakes in the mountains will be needed.   We continue east and stop at Beaverlodge, Alberta, Canada.

World’s Largest Beaver in Beaverlodge, Alberta, Canada

We saw this giant beaver last year and we just had to stop here again.   We stop for the night at Grands Prairie at the Stonebridge Hotel.

Stonebridge Hotel, Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada

The hotel was nice, comfortable and clean, but the complimentary breakfast was incredible.   Definitely the best complimentary breakfast ever.   A huge buffet, white tablecloths, selections of fresh cut fruit, pastries, assortment of cheeses and cold cuts.   Variety of yogurt, cereal, boiled eggs, and two types scrambled eggs.   Warming trays of bacon and sausage.   Bagels, assorted breads and a waffle station.   And even more that we forgot.   We don’t usually describe our food, but this was a fabulous complimentary buffet.   The Stonebridge Hotel in Grand Prairie certainly deserves recognition for this.   And the employees were so efficient and so nice.   A great hotel experience for us.    In the morning we stopped at the Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center.

Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada

This is a huge sundial.

Giant sundial

The sundial is tall and casts a shadow on or between posts to show visitors the time.

Ducks on post. Posts for time with sundial

Here we are on the post for 12:00.   The brick circle of cement identifies Grande Prairie AB (Alberta) Canada.

Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada

We love this sundial.   But it is time to head south again.   Those humans have commitments in Colorado in a few days.   So off we go.  And I’ll tell you now, we only made a few fun stops between Grande Prairie and the USA, but they were delicious.   A couple stops at Dairy Queen for Blizzards.   Canada has flavors that we don’t have at home.   We had to try as many as we could.   Our moms really loved the Oh Henry Peanut Butter Blizzard.   Just heavenly.   But no photos.   Those humans want no evidence of these Dairy Queen stops.

Northern Rockies Lodge, a Bear, and Colorado Traveling Ducks

Continuing south, I was looking forward to our next hotel.   We had reservations at the Northern Rockies Lodge again.   I love that place.   Here is a group of buffalo grazing on the side of the road.

Buffalo gazing

We always see buffalo along this part of the road.   I love them.   They are so big and every time we pass through here we see baby buffalo.   Of course, we have only been here in May and June.     Here is beautiful Muncho Lake.

Muncho Lake

This sign explains why the water seems green.

Such a beautiful color for the lake

The colors of nature are so beautiful.   We love this drive because we see so much of nature, untouched by humans.   We have arrived.

This is the view from the balcony of my room.

From our balcony

It seems like we always need to go somewhere and can only stay here at Northern Rockies Lodge for one night.   But we do spend more time here the next day, so everything is good.   We stay in the main lodge, but there is a camp ground and several cabins.

Cabins for rent

Mom takes around the lake.   There is so much more open water now compared to when we stopped here going north.   The ice is melting.

Muncho Lake

We just love the reflection of clouds and mountain in the lake.

Muncho Lake

The colors are so vivid.   Just beautiful.   It is a sunny day so mom has us, ducks and Chloe, by the lake.   Soapy’s mom is getting food from the restaurant and we will have a picnic by Muncho Lake.

Soapy’s mom is bringing food from restaurant. We will have a picnic lunch by Muncho Lake

We are at the table, just waiting for food.

Soapy’s mom bringing lunch

Soapy’s mom brings the food.   We eat and enjoy watching the lake and shore, but what is this??

A bear coming around the curve.

Coming around the bend in the shoreline, a black bear strolls into the lodge grounds.   We were just walking there about 30 minutes ago.  That is the same curve we saw behind Soapy’s mom carrying our lunch.    Did the bear see us, Colorado Traveling Ducks and Chloe?   Did he smell our lunch?  The bear keeps heading towards us.

Keeps coming. Used a little zoom here. Not quite that close.

Mom used the camera’s zoom.   He was close, but certainly not that close.  But he looks so cute and cuddly.   Then he turns and goes between the cabins.   We decide is time to leave the lake area and head to the lodge.  Our Chloe was very cool.   We know she saw the bear, but she just acted like she saw nothing.   And the bear also acted like he saw nothing.   This definitely is bear country.   We saw 13 bear by the road as we drove here yesterday.

One of 13 bears by the road yesterday. We love them all.

We walk back to the lodge and many tourists are talking about the bear.   He walked through the cabin area, using one of our favorite paths, crossed the road and wandered into the woods and out of sight.

Path between Muncho Lake and main road

This is a path, the one the bear used.   Well, lunch is eaten.  It is time for us to head south again.