In nature, you don’t have to look far and hard to be amazed. With animals such as lions, eagles, and even wolves becoming a national symbol for countries, it’s easy to appreciate the impact that the beauty nature has on us. If you still want to go further, you can also look at towering sequoias and other century-old trees worldwide.
Nature’s beauty is unparalleled; however, many people cannot recognize other natural wonders in the world. Aside from plants and animals, nature also has natural formations that are breathtaking. Perhaps one of the most well-known land formations is the world’s second-longest mountain range, the Rocky Mountains.
With that said, let’s take a bit of a breather and look at the amazing facts that the “Rockies” or the North American Rocky Mountains has.
A Super Volcano
Here’s one of the many Rocky Mountains facts you need to know about: Because of its massive reach, the Rockies has a super-volcano within its ranges. The Yellowstone Caldera is in Yellowstone Park and is in the north-west corner of Wyoming. Although some people believe that the caldera will erupt anytime, experts believe that it’s still a long way from happening.
Volcanic activity, however, is always present within the caldera. You’ll find hot geysers and other formations within Yellowstone Park indicative of the super volcano’s activity. Again, experts assure the public that an eruption of such magnitude only happens millions of years apart.
Open All Year
As mentioned above, volcanic activity is present in the parks within the Rockies. However, it’s always safe to go there, and it’s open all year round. Don’t get it wrong, the Rockies are some of the most rugged terrains, and going out there without preparing is a big mistake.
The park has limited access during winter as heavy snowfall creates blockages and dangerous avalanche-prone areas. With that said, park rangers are always present, and there are also paths on the lowest elevations safe for hiking.
Meet the Mascot
With all things majestic, the Rockies need to have a mascot just as majestic as the mountain ranges. Meet the Bighorn Sheep, the mascot of the Rockies. Over 400 bighorn sheep are living around the Rocky Mountain National Park. Known for its size and ability to live in extreme conditions, no other animal deserves the prestige of being the mascot of the Rockies.
Aside from the bighorn sheep, you can also see hulking elks roaming the grounds of the park. Elks are some of the largest members of the deer family. Elks are also known as wapiti. Males or the stags or bulls are mostly known for their massive antlers. Males use these antlers to protect themselves and to engage in head-butting matches with other males.
If you want to see two males in action, it’s a good idea to visit the park during Autumn as this is the mating season of the elks there. If you’re out in the park, keep your ears open to hear a bugle-like sound. These sounds are the sound male elks make when looking for a mate. If you’re really lucky, you can even see males battling others for the right to a mate.
Of course, always be careful whenever around animals, especially during the mating season. Elks are generally afraid of people, but when it’s mating season, they turn aggressive and easily hurt or even kill people who carelessly wander near them.
With many herbivores in the Rocky Mountain National Park, it’s safe to assume that there are also predators living in the area. The park is home to an apex predator, the Golden Eagles. To date, ten known pairs of these eagles hunt small mammals in the area. Aside from eagles, there are also wolves.
Although the wolves were exterminated from the area way back in 1915, they’re slowly making their way back to the park. Though the predators mentioned above shy away from humans, always be careful of mountain lions. These lions are highly aggressive and are well known to stalk hikers and strike when they’re vulnerable.
The Second Largest
Since the Rockies is 3000 miles long, it covers two countries. Canada and the United States of America are the two countries that are within the range. Each side has unique places, animals, plants, and other points of interest.
On the Canadian side of the Rockies, you can find an old tea house. The tea house was built in the early 1920s and is approximately 7,000 feet above a valley in Lake Louise. Ever since the tea house started operations in the 1920s, it’s been serving tea and snacks to travelers non-stop. Local families manage this tea house within the area.
The Rockies have an abundant source of minerals and other natural resources. You can find copper, tungsten, molybdenum, zinc, and lead within the mountain range. Apart from that, you can also find precious metals such as gold and silver if you know where to look.
As mentioned above, the Rockies have rich gold and silver deposits. These deposits were the reason why the Rockies were the go-to areas for gold prospectors in the past. The sheer number of people settling in the Rockies signified the start of the Gold Rush. Eventually, settlements were developed in the areas.
Athabasca isn’t the name of someone’s aunt, but it’s the name of a vast glacier in the Rockies. The Athabasca Glacier is the most-visited glacier on the North American continent. Though it’s a large ice formation, the landscape is safe to tread and is open to visitors who want to get a look at its incredible ice fields. Due to global warming, the glacier is melting. In the past 125 years, over 1.5 kilometers have disappeared.
Although the Andes is the longest mountain range in the world, the Rockies or the Rocky Mountains doesn’t disappoint. Filled with many places of interest, it’s also home to creatures such as bighorn sheep and elk. The Rockies also covers two countries in Canada and the US. When you want to experience nature, the Rockies is one place that you should go to.