Saturday, October 15, 2016

Cerro Summit (9/28/2016)

About fifteen miles east of Montrose is a low pass called Cerro Summit.  At just over 8000 feet, the pass is well named, since Cerro is Spanish for "hill".  It wouldn't be right to call this a mountain.  At any rate, a small gravel road leaves U.S. 50 near the summit and winds through rolling hills and ranch land, eventually connecting to Big Cimarron Road.  In addition to pastures, there are many hillsides covered with low-growing Gambel Oak, commonly referred to as Scrub Oak.  The oak and other low shrubs take on a red or rusty hue in the fall, contrasting with the gold/yellow/orange of the Aspen trees.  As the road gets closer to the mountains, the Aspens become much more dominant, creating large swaths of color.

The forests around Cerro Summit are very popular hunting areas in the fall, with large numbers of elk and mule deer harvested every year.  I'm told there are also coyotes, bobcats, black bear and mountain lions, but I've never seen anything other than mule deer.  On this particular trip, two big bucks crossed the road directly in front of me and stopped to graze at the edge of the road, not more that twenty feet from the LRJ.

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