Monday, April 7, 2014

Madelyn in the Mountains, Madelyn in the Plains

Miss Madelyn has been on exciting adventure to Colorado. So many sites! So many places! Where to begin! You can see a map of our adventures here.

First, Miss Madelyn had a long journey to Denver, Colorado, where she joined her friend Hailey. Their first stop was to visit the campus at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Fort Collins is a sleepy town, built on the banks of the Cache La Poudre River just to the east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains.
A visit to CSU

Helping Dr. Maria teach her class at CSU
At Colorado State Madelyn helped Hailey and her professor, Dr. Maria teach a class. We knew that Madelyn might want to be a teacher one day, so we thought she could help us with one class. Madelyn helped teach in front of over 35 college seniors.  The class talked about natural resources. A natural resource is something (perhaps a mineral, waterpower source, forest, grassland, or kind of animal) found in nature that is valuable to humans. Natural resources provide energy, recreation, and scenic beauty.

Is it spring yet?

Colorado is where mountains and prairies meet
Next, we hopped in the car to visit our friend the beagle (dog), Rudy.  Rudy lives on a small farm on the banks of Dry Creek. Madelyn and Rudy had a great time exploring the creek. In early spring, the trees are just waking up, and the ducks are begging to make their nests. Soon there will be ducklings along the creek.  Behind us, you can see a storm coming in over the Rocky Mountains.  This is a picture of where the plains and the mountains meet. In foothills of Colorado we find all sorts of beautiful plant and animal species.  While going for a hike, we might see elk, deer, moose, many types of birds, as well as forests and open grasslands.

Vail, Colorado
Next, we got back in the car, but this time we packed our skis. We went on a skiing adventure in Vail, Colorado. First we drove into the mountains. Then we bundled up in all of our warm winter clothes.  We put on our skis and got on the chair lift..... up and up, until we reached the top of the mountain. At the top of the mountain it was very windy, so Madelyn stayed bundled inside a warm jacket pocket. We didn't want her to blow away!   Here you can see the beautiful Gore Mountain Range. The Gore Range is where many people in Colorado like to travel and recreate. Skiing, snowmobiling, fishing, hunting, camping and hiking are all popular sports.  Can you see the people in this photo of Vail?

After a very windy day on the mountain, Madelyn and Hailey were very tired.

 A big storm is coming!

We decided it was time to enjoy some hot chocolate and watch a storm roll across the mountains.  Even though it was springtime, snow was building up in the mountains. It will keep sonwing until it is almost summer time.  Almost all of the water in the creeks of Colorado flow from snowmelt- and in the spring the big melt helps fish, like brown trout and cutthroat trout, spawn. Spawning is when the female trout produce eggs that will become fry, or baby trout. Later in the summer, when the water slows and the snow is gone from the hills, the trout will hide in deep, cold pools. Eventually, all the snow that falls here, and the water that runs in the creeks in Vail, Colorado will flow to the Pacific Ocean. Water that runs on the east side of the continental divide, towards Denver, will flow to the Atlantic Ocean.

Finally, it was time to head back East. We got in the car and drove through the night (in very bad weather) back to Fort Collins. The next day, Flat Madelyn met another scientists, Chantsa. Chantsa is from Mongolia (picture on right). She studies the ecology of Mongolia. She studies how plants, animals and people interact there. Mongolia is a very large country with very few people.  This picture includes a book about Mongolia that researchers and herders wrote. Herders are nomadic people who tend livestock on the steppes (or plains) of Mongolia. Can you see the photo of the girl in the photo? She is a young girl who lives in Mongolia. Chantsa was not able to take Flat Madelyn to Mongolia, but maybe one day Madelyn can travel across the world and visit Chantsa's homeland.

Whew! That was a lot of traveling. We'll be signing off for now to get some rest!

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