Colorado's got great wildlife. Please respect it.
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There's something about going for a rigorous hike deep into the Rockies -- something more than just a surge of endorphins, something transcendental. Perhaps it's awe, or the juxtaposition of feelings of power and powerlessness, terror and wonder, or loneliness and feeling right at home. Or maybe it's that inkling that makes you ponder whether or not there's a higher power and why, as humans, we so often fight with nature. Whatever the case, the one thing that we can be certain of is that nothing adds to the hike like bearing witness to an animal existing as it should in the wild. With that said, if you do happen to stumble across some wildlife on your next Emersonian escapade, please keep these tips in mind:
Observe from a distance.
This seems obvious, but it's for your safety as well as theirs. Some animals may alter their behavior if they see humans invading their space, and you shouldn't be trampling off the trail anyway. We suggest a good set of binoculars or a zoom lens if you're looking to snap a picture.
Move slowly and quietly.
Loud noises and quick movements can be stressful to animals. Such disturbances can affect the animal's ability to brave the hot/cold climate they're currently battling. The only exception is in bear country where small amounts of noise are appropriate not to startle the bears.
Don't feed them, and clean up after yourself.
Need we say more? Feeding wildlife or leaving scraps can encourage the animal to leave their habitat in search of similar food and can cause them to become a bloody mess on the side of the highway.
Travel in smaller groups.
Traveling in smaller groups helps reduce the impact on the environment and will help you remain quiet and slow-moving if you see an animal.
What are your thoughts? Are there any tips that you would like to add? If so, let us know in the comments below!