Jul 25, 2022 - Things to Do

5 things you didn't know about the mountains and outdoors

Illustration of the Blucifer statue dressed as an outdoorsman.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios. Photo: George Rose/Getty

There's something about hiking that makes us infinitely curious.

  • The whimsical wonderings typically involve our surroundings β€” How did that rock form? β€” and limited cell service helps us resist the urge to ask Google.

What to know: So when we read a feature with fun outdoor factoids in the latest Backpacker Magazine, we had to share what we learned from our Boulder-based friends.

Why do some people get more mosquito bites? It's true, some people are more susceptible. Blame it on genetics.

  • Mosquitos are drawn to the smell of skin-dwelling bacteria, and some people produce more of it. Men are also more likely to get pricked because of higher skin temperatures and larger surface area.

How were the Rockies formed? The short answer is that one tectonic plate pushed under another.

  • But geological expert Craig Jones at the University of Colorado Boulder has a more nuanced theory that magma between the plates created a suction effect which tugged them downward and left a hole that filled with mountains of rock over the millennia.

Why is alpenglow pinkish? The pink-hued mountain peaks of the morning are caused by a filtering effect in the atmosphere, a National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration meteorologist says.

  • Because the sun's rays are so far away, the short-length blue lights we traditionally perceive are diffused to the point that only red or orange remain.

Can trees talk? Yes! Research suggests that trees send signals to each other via bacteria and microbes in the soil.

  • The messages traveling below the surface typically involve whether various species are friend or foe.

Why does snow turn pink? A form of green algae that thrives on frozen water grows on snow at high alpine locations. It colors the snow red or pink because it contains carotenoids, pigments that absorb sunlight.

Interestingly, back in 2013, scientists discovered a new species of snow algae in Colorado that could be a source of biofuel.


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