Monday, July 21, 2014

Marmots and Pikas at RMNP


We saw marmots and pikas on our drive through Rocky Mountain National Park on July 12th, 2014. These photos were taken near the Rock Cut turnout, which is at an elevation of 12,090 feet. Rock Cut is the only area in RMNP where blasting was necessary to build the road. The views from that area are absolutely stunning. We saw several marmots and a few pikas. One marmot in particular was bullying the nearby pikas, waddling over to commandeer whatever rock they were sitting on at the time.

A marmot in the flowers.

Photogenic marmot.

Video of a marmot posing.

Marmot wedged in the rocks.

What a view this marmot has!

Pika on a rock.
If I didn't know better, I'd name it the Colorado Rocky Mt. Chinchilla.

Marmot and pika in the pic above.

Video of pika and marmot.

Flowers, Clouds, Trees, Marmot, View.

Marmots running away from the camera...


FYI:  Just a few minutes before these pictures were taken, several people were injured, and one man was killed by a lightning strike at the Rainbow Curve, which is just a short distance from the Rock Cut turnout. We were (naively) oblivious to the extreme lightning danger at this altitude. Being above the tree-line in CO during the month of July after noon is one of the worst possible place/month/time combos, as far as the risk of being struck is concerned. If you're going to be that high in the summer - it's safer to plan your adventure before noon, when the risk of lightning is lower. Don't become a statistic. In the future, we'll either go before noon, or stay in the car on cloudy days, after noon, above the treeline.