A force of nature, the power of water, caused many cancellations, postponements and changes of venue for many events that were scheduled for September. Among them was the Wild Bear Enchanted Forest, which is usually held at Mud Lake. Because of September’s flood, ponds have grown where they didn’t exist before, and tiny trickles became rivers that cut into the shoulder of the road, making it impassable for school buses.
Last Saturday, Wild Bear Mountain Ecology Center proved that people can be as creative as nature. The Enchanted Forest went on, in and around the Center in Nederland’s shopping center parking lot. A giant wolf spider lurked in the reptile/bug room; a salamander crept around the corners of the center; and a very large white bear frolicked outside.
The sound of exotic marimbas reverberated about the shopping center as a group of students performed on the sidewalk. Faces were painted, masks were created, and groups lined up ready for a guide to escort them on the traditional wild animal walk.
Kids spot a Lion
Instead of the trail at Mud Lake, the visitors walked along the creek path, surrounded by high willow branches and the sound of gurgling water. The raccoon was found washing her food. The lion startled the kids, but then told them she was harmless if she knew they were coming. But she might attack if she if were startled, so they should stand still, raise their arms (and a stick if possible) and yell at the lion.
Two bats explained nocturnal life and spread their wings, the little bat rather shy. The newest wildlife attraction was a moose who stayed nestled in the willows by the creek. It has only been in recent years that these large, ungainly creatures migrated over the Continental Divide to set up housekeeping in the Nederland/Gilpin County area.
The tour guides were informative and careful to make sure the groups stayed out of harm’s way, although the only danger lay in crossing the road between the creek and the shopping center.
Hot soup and hot chocolate warmed the visitors as the sun melted behind the horizon. It was neither better nor worse than previous Enchanted forests – it was just different. But still, a charming and delightful event for the entire family.