One of the saddest sights (to me) during our trip was the increase in the number of trees affected by the . I know the beetles are considered a natural condition but to see so many trees dying, dead, and cut down was disheartening. Quite a few of the campgrounds within Rocky Mountain National Park are almost devoid of trees. What used to be wooded, shady campsites are now wide open sunny spots dotted by numerous tree stumps.
Even so, the dead trees didn’t detract from the beauty of the area. The browns and grays mixed in with the greens reminded me more of autumn than of summer.
Some of the hillsides near Shadow Mountain Lake (which is near Grand Lake, where we stayed Tuesday through Friday during the first week of our trip) are dotted with piles of wood from the cut down trees.
The western portion of Rocky Mountain National Park has been affected more than the eastern side. There are still patches of green among the trees but you can see in the photos above and below that there are large swaths of brown and gray.
A harsh, cold winter would kill the beetle eggs and larvae. Temperatures in the Rocky Mountains have been warmer than usual over the past ten years, said to be due to general climate change. Precipitation levels have been down as well and the combination of the two (climate change and lack of precipitation) has caused the infestation to worsen.
Meanwhile, back at Breezy Acres…
I paid a visit to Hilgert’s Farm Market today. The roma tomatoes and peppers are now coming in like gangbusters. I came home with two pecks of peppers (green bell peppers and “Italian roasters”). They are gorgeous. I’ll be freezing most of them. I do want to roast some of the Italian roasters to put in a salad tonight and save some the bell peppers to make stuffed peppers tomorrow tonight.
I’ll be going back later in the week to pick up a bushel of the roma tomatoes for canning and a peck of the Hungarian sweet peppers for freezing.