250,000 Bats!

Trip Start Mar 02, 2011
Trip End Jan 25, 2012

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What I did
Visited the Bat Cave!

Flag of United States  , Colorado
Tuesday, June 28, 2011

We left Telluride for a leisurely drive across Colorado.  Our destination was the Orient Mine just south of Salida.  Turns out that a quarter million Mexican Long-tailed bats live in the mine and come out every evening at dusk.

It's quite a sight and sound and smell.  The start just after the sun sets and continue for about 15 minutes - 250 bats per seconds!  We hiked up to the mine entrance (about 2 miles) and stood right outside the opening to wait for the event.  It's a bit of a funny situation.  The mine is on public land and there's a right of way to get to it through a small nudist colony centered around some hot springs.  It makes for an interesting walk.

There are about 15 people there to see it this night.  First, one or two bats fly out, and suddenly, there's a constant stream.  There's a low humming sound of all the wings beats and you can smell a bit of guano in the air.  The bats head out across the San Luis valley in a long undulating wave heading first for water and then off to eat a couple thousand bugs - mostly mosquitoes.  I like bats!

After hiking back, we camped at a nearby trail head with a few other bat-watching couples.

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