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16 September, 2002

Colorado Animals

As excited as I am about meeting the people on my Antarctica research team, I am also enjoying my first trip to Colorado! I expected mountains, but was surprised to realize that Denver and Boulder are at the foot of the Rockies and almost as flat as back home in Illinois. I drove to Estes Park this afternoon so that I can say I have been to the mountains. Rocky, steep cliffs lined the road and my ears popped like firecrackers as I climbed to the higher altitude. When I arrived in downtown Estes Park, four lanes of traffic came to a standstill as a herd of about fifteen elk meandered across the road. Farther along, another small herd ate a family’s greenery from their front yard, and an apartment complex hosted about twenty more for dinner on their trees and shrubs. Lots of people, including me, took pictures and the animals posed without a shred of fear. They’ve done this before! The biggest surprise was when one of the cows began to bray at a group of bystanders. She sounded like a little squeaky toy! It was a funny sound coming from such a large animal. Another native to Colorado is the little prairie dog. Hundreds of the little guys sat on their mounds near the highway, guarding the entrances to their homes late in the afternoon yesterday. Some sat at attention, while others foraged for dinner. I was too far away to hear them. I wonder what kind of sound they make?

1. Cliffs lined the way as the road climbed to higher altitudes.

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