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The Top of the World
by Stormy on August 26, 2001

Mountains are a natural habitat for marmots, but people seek mountain tops "because they're there". It's an interesting reason and seeing people on top of a mountain makes for an interesting day.

Today was Lisa's last day in town, so we went up to Mount Evans to get a bird's eye view of the state. Mount Evans is one of the tallest mountains in Colorado. It's a "Fourteener", which means that it's over 14,000 feet tall. There are 52 Fourteeners in Colorado and there are people who make it their life's mission to climb all the Fourteeners in the state. Mount Evans is probably the easiest Fourteener. You can drive right up to the top! The day was very nice. It was warm with a gentle breeze and there was a whole bunch of people up on the mountain. Everyone took turns taking pictures at the top. It's a right of passage for humans. I waited to get my opportunity and the tourists along side with us asked why a marmot wanted his picture on top of the mountain. It wasn't long before the tourists wanted a picture with the marmot, too! After pictures we all hiked down a little to where a herd of mountain goats was grazing, just short of the 14,000 foot mark. There isn't a lot of good grass that high up, but like most other grazers (including marmots), the goats must have figured that they should take it where they can get it. I spotted another Yellow-Bellied Marmot on the mountain and ran over to talk with him, but he backed into his burrow and just kept staring at me. I'm thinking that National Forest marmots aren't as friendly as the ones you find in a National Park. All the climbing and picture taking built up a good appetite. We went down to the Idaho Springs and had dinner at Beau Jo's Colorado Style Pizza, famous for its Mountain Pies and Prairie Pies. After my experience at The Sink I've discovered that I really enjoy a good veggie pizza. I could not get the waitress to add a dandelion topping, but I got mushrooms and tomatoes and green peppers and onions. Speaking for myself I can honestly say that marmots love pizza!

A tourist stops to watch Stormy munch on some flowers by Echo Lake.
(taken by Lisa on August 26, 2001)
Stormy and Hootie at the top of Mount Evans.
(taken by Jennifer on August 26, 2001)
A tourist poses with Stormy as his friend takes a picture.
(taken by Jennifer on August 26, 2001)
The tourists switch roles for another picture with a marmot.
(taken by Jennifer on August 26, 2001)
Stormy watches the traffic coming up Mount Evans Road.
(taken by Max on August 26, 2001)
Stormy tries hard to make friends with the local marmots.
(taken by Lisa on August 26, 2001)
A friendly ranger chats with Stormy and stamps his passport, commemorating his visit.
(taken by Max on August 26, 2001)
Mount Evans visit stamp.
(taken by Max on August 26, 2001)

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