After a delicious breakfast at may favorite cafe in LaPorte, I spent a couple of hours bird watching at Watson Lake. At first, it was so quiet I wondered where are the birds! Then squawking Canada geese, about 50, flew in. A couple of mallards and two common mergansers were on the lake. I checked the eagle nests, as I always do when here, and no eagles around.
A visit to Poudre Canyon was recommended by a friend, so it was my next place to visit. Since I always like to see more the countryside, I drove a road to the north … Red Feather Lake area to circle down to the canyon area. I guess if you look very closely to your Google map you’ll see the approximately 15 mile dirt road, but I figured if there is a Boy Scout camp on the road, it cannot be bad. The road was perfect until 2 miles after the camp. It was drivable and the van had no problem. All of a sudden I see a stupa, hidden and off in the distance. I back-up the van and drive into Drala Mountain Center. Okay, their roads were rutty and I wondered if this was a good idea, but I wanted to see the stupa.
Did I mention it is raining now? Also, I see signs thanking firefighters. From this area and to my eventual Poudre Canyon, there definitely was a wildfire. I work my way up to the stupa … it is huge! So huge you can go in and meditate along with what looks like it could hold 50 seated people. No one ever stopped me while I was on the property and others were meditating in the stupa with me. One woman did say hello, otherwise some were returning from a hike. This place is at 8,000 foot elevation and 600 acres.
My research indicates Drala Mountain Center offers Buddhist meditation and yoga retreats. The center did survive the Cameron Peaks wildfire which lasted 62 days and burned over 200,000 acres, encompassing Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests in 2 counties and Rocky Mountain National Park. Finally contained December 2, 2020. It became the largest recorded wildfire in Colorado’s history, surpassing the Pine Gulch Fire that burned near Grand Junction in 2020.
The Buddhist statue within the stupa is the “Teaching Buddha”, appropriate for those who are either studying or are interested in learning more about spirituality at this center.
Wildfire scars and burned areas are still evident in the Poudre Canyon area. It is a beautiful area to visit, many campgrounds in the national forests and places to fish. It is almost impossible to capture the huge rock formations in a photo, but here are a few:
The next day was a non-driving day. It looked like rain, and did rain, but then I hopped on my bicycle and enjoyed a ride on the Poudre River Trail. I veered off when close to downtown Fort Collins and went exploring. That was fun!