Sunday brought another day of clear skies and, though the morning started out quite cold the afternoon was warm enough to shed our jackets as we hiked the valley trail loop at Lory State Park. The brilliant blue overhead contrasted sharply with the russet uplifted bedrock formations that gave way to subtle gray and brown tones on hillsides and then the snow covered valley below.
Dried remnants of grasses and wildflowers poked up around patches of shrubs and occasional pines in the open area that extends all the way to Horsetooth Rock.
The warm sun and dry air worked their magic on cold snowpack to leave textured crystals that caught the light.
The trails we used were easy to navigate, covering gently rolling slopes with well marked paths. Sturdy footbridges have been constructed, one by a Boy Scout troop, to cross over drainages. The trickiest part of the trails was the slick mud where snow has melted and the cold ground hasn't allowed water to drain very deep. One of the many nice things about this natural area is that it's so close to Fort Collins.