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Big Animals of the Rockies: A Colorado Safari

Program Number: 9889RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/17/2014 - 9/23/2014;
Duration: 6 nights
Location: Fort Collins, Colorado
Price starting at: $999.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Science & Nature; National Parks; On the Road Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 17; 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 6 Dinners    

Experience a wildlife-viewing safari in Colorado that puts you in sight of mule deer, “bugling” elk and sure-footed big-horn sheep on this journey from the Front Range into the heart of the Rockies. Look for bison and antelope in the foothills, and be on the lookout on Rocky Mountain National Park’s Trail Ridge Road for moose, elk, bighorn sheep, deer and mountain goats. Along the way, learn about the habitat of birds and other wildlife and discuss their struggles for survival.




Highlights

• Experience the sight of hundreds of elk descending on Rocky Mountain National Park — and nearby Estes Park — during rutting season, and watch a bull elk stand watch over his herd of females.
• Learn what makes an animal a ruminant or an ungulate, the differences between horns and antlers, and seasonal behavior.
• Learn about a threat to the Rockies’ pine forests — the Mountain Pine Beetle.



Activity Particulars

Walking up to one mile. Elevations of 5,000-10,500 feet.



Itinerary Summary

Arrival Fort Collins, 2 nights; van to Winter Park, 1 night; van to Buena Vista, 2 nights; van to Fort Collins, 1 night; departure.



Coordinated by Mountains and Plains Institute.




Fort Collins

Founded as a military fort in 1864, Fort Collins is a city known for its thriving arts community, active university and Old West history. Nestled in the Rocky Mountain foothills, Fort Collins is a prime spot for hiking, bicycling and rafting along the Cache la Poudre River.



Winter Park (Colorado)

Winter Park receives the most snow of Colorado's destination ski resorts and is also the closest to Denver; its five distinct mountains are 90 minutes away in a high mountain valley. The region is rich in heritage, ranging from the Ute Indians and pioneers to ranching, railroads and the state's oldest continually operating ski resort.



Buena Vista

Located in the upper Arkansas River Valley, Buena Vista enjoys mild temperatures and is a popular gateway for rafting, kayaking and fly fishing, as well as for adventures on the “Collegiate Peaks” and the Colorado Trail. Incorporated in 1879, the town grew up alongside the local mining industry, and many of its buildings date back to this era.



Accommodations
Comfortable hotels.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Kevin Cook

Kevin J. Cook came to Colorado in 1974 to attend Western State College, where he earned a bachelor’s in biology. He later earned a master’s in wildlife biology from Colorado State University. He spent five seasons as an interpretive naturalist with the National Park Service before establishing himself as a self-employed writer-naturalist. Since 1975, he has published nearly 7,000 pieces of writing and has led nearly 200 wildlife observation groups, half of which have been for Road Scholar.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Best Western University Inn
  Fort Collins, CO 2 nights
   Best Western Alpenglo Lodge
  Winter Park, CO 1 night
   Best Western Vista Inn
  Buena Vista, CO 2 nights
   Best Western University Inn
  Fort Collins, CO 1 night
 Best Western University Inn
Type: Motel
  Contact info: 914 S College Avenue
Fort Collins, CO 80524 USA
phone: 888-484-2984
  Room amenities: Cable satellite television, Coffee/tea maker, Hairdryer, Iron, ironing board, Dataports, High-speed Internet access available in some rooms free, In-room safe, Poolside rooms available.
  Facility amenities: Complimentary coffee, Complimentary newspaper, Year-round glass retractable roofed pool including hot tub and fitness room, Guest laundry, front loading washers, 24-hour front desk, Free parking.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Call motel for information Reserve directly with hotel.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Call motel for information Reserve directly with hotel.
  Check out time: 10:00 AM

 Best Western Alpenglo Lodge
Type: Motel
  Contact info: US Hwy 40
Winter Park, CO 80482 USA
phone: 970-726-8088
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes

 Best Western Vista Inn
Type: Motel
  Contact info: 733 US Highway 24 N
Buena Vista, CO 81211 USA
phone: 719-395-8009
  Facility amenities: Fitness Center, Indoor Swimming pool and hot tub, free wired and wireless internet
  Smoking allowed: No


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check in by 4 PM. You will be staying at Best Western University Inn that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after breakfast. Check out by 10 AM. You will be staying at Best Western University Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Acknowledgement of Risk Form to be mailed to the Mountains and Plains Office Please bring National Parks Senior or Annual Pass
  Parking availability:
Parking is free at motel
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Fort Collins, CO
  Nearest highway: I25; US287
  Nearest airport:  Denver International (DEN)
  From End of Program
  Location: Fort Collins, CO
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Fort Collins

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
1. SuperShuttle 2. Greenride Colorado
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Call for current rates
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

DIA to Fort Collins 2 hours total 

   

Reservations required. Participants can choose either service: the SuperShuttle 800-258-3826 or Greenride Colorado 888-472-6656 from Denver International Airport to Fort Collins. Request in advance to be dropped off and picked up at the Best Western University Inn.

 
Driving Directions
  Denver to Fort Collins Fort Collins is North 60 miles from Denver via Interstate 25. Best Western University Inn: From: Interstate 25. Take Exit 268 (Prospect Road) west 4 miles. Turn right (north) on College Avenue (HWY 287). Travel 4 blocks to 914 South College Avenue (we will be on the right hand side) . The Best Western University Inn is located across the street from Colorado State University and walking distance from historic downtown
Elevation Note: Elevation on field trips and walks will range from 5,000 to 10,500 feet.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Check-in by 4 pm.
(Wednesday, September 17)

Note: The program will attempt to locate and observe several large mammal species. As with any wildlife experience, luck, weather, and migrations will determine how successful we are in locating these magnificent animals. Our instructors are expert naturalists with years of experience studying wildlife and will do their best to successfully locate wildlife on this program.



   
 Afternoon: Arrival/check in by 4 p.m.
 Dinner: Restaurant meal at 6 p.m.
 Evening: Introduction of course and Instructors
   
Accommodations: Best Western University Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Wildlife of the Foothills and Plains
(Thursday, September 18)

Note: Target wildlife species to hopefully be observed: Pronghorn (Antelope); Bison; Deer



   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast in motel
 Morning: Field trip to view wildlife and habitat of foothills and plains area.
 Lunch: Box lunch
 Afternoon: Continue morning field trip searching for pronghorn antelope and bison.
 Dinner: Restaurant meal
 Evening: Short summary of day's activity
   
Accommodations: Best Western University Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Wildlife of the Front Range of the Rockies
(Friday, September 19)

Note: Target wildlife species to hopefully be observed: Bighorn Sheep; Deer;, Elk



   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast in motel
 Morning: Depart after breakfast for day long field trip and drive to Winter Park by way of Rocky Mountain National Park, opportunities to see wildlife particularly elk and mule deer, possibly bighorn sheep and discovering surrounding area, beautiful scenery
 Lunch: Box lunch
 Afternoon: Continue morning field trip
 Dinner: Restaurant meal
 Evening: Free for relaxation and preparation for tomorrow
   
Accommodations: Best Western Alpenglo Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Wildlife of the Western Slope and High Mountain Valleys
(Saturday, September 20)

Note: Target wildlife species to hopefully be observed: Deer; Elk; Moose



   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast in motel
 Morning: Day long field trip and drive to Buena Vista by way of Middle Park, Blue River Valley, and Arkansas River valley. Wildlife opportunities, birding, and fantastic scenery.
 Lunch: Box lunch
 Afternoon: Continue morning field trip
 Dinner: Restaurant meal
 Evening: Free to explore downtown Buena Vista, rest and reflection
   
Accommodations: Best Western Vista Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Wildlife of South Park and the Collegiate Range
(Sunday, September 21)

Note: Target wildlife species to hopefully be observed: Pronghorn (Antelope); Deer; Mountain Goats; Elk



   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast in motel
 Morning: Day long field trip along the Arkansas River, then into high mopuntain valleys of South and Middle Cotttonwood Creek and an above treeline exploration and look into Taylor Park from Cottonwood Pass. WIldlife viewing opportunities with possible Mountain Goat sightings.
 Lunch: Box lunch
 Afternoon: Continue morning field trip
 Dinner: Restaurant meal
 Evening: Free for packing, relaxation
   
Accommodations: Best Western Vista Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Crossing the Divide Back to Fort Collins
(Monday, September 22)

Note: Target wildlife species to hopefully be observed: Pronghorn (Antelope); Deer; Bighorn Sheep



   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast in motel
 Morning: Day long field trip and drive back to Fort Collins by way of South Park and the Front Range of the Rockies. WIldlife viewing opportunities.
 Lunch: Box lunch
 Afternoon: Continue morning field trip
 Dinner: Restaurant meal
 Evening: Final gathering to celebrate the experience by all
   
Accommodations: Best Western University Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Check-out after Breakfast
(Tuesday, September 23)
   
 Breakfast: Continental breakfast in motel
 Morning: Program ends after breakfast
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Guide to the Geology of Colorado


Author: Andrew M. Taylor


Description: A general overview of the geology of Colorado. Written for the non-geologist. 60 color photographs. Two large maps. Book is printed on high quality glossy paper.



National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Rocky Mountain States


Author: Peter Alden, John Grassy


Description: Filled with concise descriptions and stunning photographs, the National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Rocky Mountain States belongs in the home of every Rocky Mountain resident and in the suitcase or backpack of every visitor. This compact volume contains: An easy-to-use field guide for identifying 1,000 of the state's wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, mosses, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, butterflies, mammals, and much more; A complete overview of the Rocky Mountain region's natural history, covering geology, wildlife habitats, ecology, fossils, rocks and minerals, clouds and weather patterns, and the night sky; An extensive sampling of the area's best parks, preserves, mountains, forests, and wildlife sanctuaries, with detailed descriptions and visitor information for 50 sites and notes on dozens of others. The guide is packed with visual information -- the 1,500 full-color images include more than 1,300 photographs, 11 maps, and 16 night-sky charts, as well as more than 100 drawings explaining everything from geological processes to the basic features of different plants and animals. For everyone who lives or spends time in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, or Wyoming, there can be no finer guide to the area's natural surroundings than the National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Rocky Mountain States.



Scenic Driving Colorado, 3rd (Scenic Routes & Byways)


Author: Stewart M. Green


Description: This guidebook offers travel and historical information for 30 visually stunning driving routes, from Pawnee National Grassland of the Great Plains to Rocky Mountain National Park, the San Juan Mountains, and the deserts of the Colorado Plateau.





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