Sadly, in the last few days the mothers of a couple good friends passed away. I knew one mother quite well, the other lived in another state. I’d like to anonymously dedicate this POTW to them. A common denizen of the mountain regions in Colorado is the Yellow-bellied Marmot (Marmota flaviventris.) The Yellow-bellied Marmot is a large ground squirrel that lives in areas with large boulders and meadows in the Rocky Mountains. Adults are around 2 feet in length and are generally brown with some gray and yellowish areas around the belly and shoulders. They are cautious, but not fearful of humans. They are even sociable if they believe you will feed them. Today we hiked up Twin Sisters. It is relatively short hike at just over 7 miles, but has a decent elevation gain of about 2,500 feet (round trip.) At the summit, there is both an east and west peak. The west peak is the one hikers typically climb (more of an outcrop and better views.) The west peak is 11,413 feet in elevation. From the top, one can look west at Long’s Peak, Mt. Meeker, Estes Cones and other mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. Estes Park and areas down on the plains can also be seen from the summit view. But back to the marmot. On the way down, we took a slight (biological) detour near a large outcropping. Just off the trail, we discovered a rather interesting marmot. It seemed smaller than a full-size adult, but most obvious was the unusual fur color. The fur was colored unlike any I had seen before. Generally the body fur was very light, almost blonde. Because of the lightness, the darker nose patch was much more distinct. Even more unique, was a seriously orange tail. Okay, a picture (or two) tells a thousand words so on with the show….

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