Friday, September 30, 2011

Fieldwork Friday: St. Elmo/Chalk Creek

This morning I headed upriver, north through the Arkansas River valley. Just before the tiny raft-stop of Nathrop I turned west up a county road, across the valley floor and into Chalk Creek canyon.

Past the fish hatchery and Chalk Cliffs, past the bighorn sheep habitat at Love Meadow, past the Agnes Vaille and Cascade Falls lies the not-so-ghosty-anymore ghost town of St. Elmo. I hadn't been up there all year (it's about 45 minutes or so from home)... it seemed like time for a visit.

As is usual for "peak" color season, I spent more time dawdling with the camera than actually drawing. By the time I reached St. Elmo the hordes of weekend ATV enthusiasts were arriving, so I made this little sketch and then turned back around for home.

There's an urgency to this time of year. I'm sure I've written about it before. A Rocky Mountain autumn is fragile and ephemeral. Resplendent, glowing hillsides last only until the next big wind or early snow and once October hits it feels like we're living on borrowed time. October. That's tomorrow. Ummm.... I'll see ya later.


  1. When I was just a toddle-bod,living in a very newly-built town, among the first trees people planted were poplars.In this case, black poplar and I still miss those autumn golds.
    Thankyou for sharing yours.

  2. There IS an urgency to Rocky Mountain autumns, and I haven't gotten my honey out to drive Marshall Pass as we do every year at this time. Maybe we're due for a picnic drive tonight... That's a lovely sketch from St. Elmo!

  3. Great sketch and love the photo! Wonderful colors!