Somewhere in the midst of our insane summer schedules, the DM and I drew a big circle around September 17-20 and made plans for a getaway. But by the beginning of last week it was clear that a multi-day journey away from home wasn't going to happen, and we had no idea how those long-awaited days would unfold.
Thursday night and Friday morning David had gigs in Manitou Springs, so at least we could get out of town for one night. After good gigs and great visiting with printmaker pals we made a quick trip east on to the plains. I wanted David to see the Paint Mines.
We live in the mountains, but I have long been a prairie girl. I love the plains... and the myriad ways grasslands sneak up and bite your misconceptions right in the butt. The plains are NOT flat. They are NOT empty. And they are definitely NOT boring.
The Paint Mines near Calhan are a great example of a prairie surprise. Even after you park the car and start up the trail, there's no indication of the wonders that await you. It all looks like grassland until you crest the hill and find this amazing eroded gully.
And THEN you leave the main trail and wander up the gully to find these fabulous hoodoos! On the prairie! (Or maybe that's IN the prairie.) Oh. Yeah.
We explored for a bit, I made a few thumbnail sketches (can you find me with my sketchbook in the shade?), and then we headed home to Salida.
The remainder of the weekend we took advantage of fabulous autumn weather and became tourists in our own country.. spending time on Marshall Pass (Saturday) and around Twin Lakes (Sunday). There comes a point when you realize that it's ridiculous to keep taking hundreds of photos of aspen when you already have hundreds of others and not one comes close to recording the spectacle. You don't stop, of course. But you do know it's ridiculous.
|Marshall Pass, south and east of Salida.|
|I have... I don't know... hundreds... of shots like this. |
Doesn't stop me from taking more.
|Secret location above Twin Lakes, north of Salida.|
|Willis Gulch area, on the Independence Pass road above Twin Lakes.|