Last weekend my friends asked if I might like to go for a hike, so I said yes. I couldn’t really think of any place in particular, so they suggested this city park. I thought it would probably be full of people, but I had said yes, so this was where we went. That there was no parking available should have been the tip off that this wasn’t the greatest idea, I dislike crowds.
This is a great shot of “the Gateway” (really, that’s its name). I stepped to one side so that the vast horde that was there was not visible, but trust me there were scads of people milling about.
And there’s the Peak, with a few visitors that I could not crop out. It was a beautiful sunny weekend and was pretty warm, about 80 degrees F.
As it was about 5 pm when we finished our walk (3 1/2 miles by her Fitbit) and there were lovely shadows on the ridge to the north. We are outside of the park, because that’s where our cars were. But, it was a nice finish to the day (and we had certainly walked further than I had planned on).
This weekend was a completely different story. It was cold (about 50 degrees F) and the day was rainy. It was quite easy to find a place to park, I had my choice of spaces on a close in lot. And I always have an umbrella in the car, so I decided to take a stroll.
Here’s the Gateway again. The rocks look a lot redder when wet.
And the Peak seems to be missing! (Not to worry, it’s back again today, covered in fresh snow).
All and all it was a great day to be strolling about, there were no crowds to contend with, and I got some pictures that are different than the jillions of photos I already have. 😉
To the west of my house is a giant (14,115 ft) mountain. And as effects of the light is ever-changing I take rather a lot of pictures of this, although some of the most interesting views are the ones seen through the windshield as I am driving along running errands.
A recent evening view. I also get a snapshot of this every evening as the street light comes on, from my doorbell (Oh thanks).
What makes this picture unique is that it was taken on May 21st, last year!
April of last year.
I generally like mermaids and I generally like octopi. but I somehow don’t really like them when combined in this art. But, I suspect that one could not find another city that has one like this (I hope).
I have heard a rumor that there are also beautiful sunrises on the mountain, but I personally have never seen one (perhaps one day). 😉
It was finally time to take the snow tires off (fully realizing that we have had major snowstorms in May the past five years). So I went to one of the local tire places (yes, there are three right next to each other) and the one I chose is right next to the creek, just further up the stream. There didn’t used to be a trail until quite recently, but there was apparently lots of extra money in the city budget, so they extended the trail so that one can travel continuously along to downtown (if one wished to do this).
We’re just slightly further along from where we left off, and the creek is shallow and winding.
Looking upstream one can catch a glimpse of the strip mall that backs onto the creek. The shadow is cast by one of the many new bridges that cross the creek.
Here’s the commemorative plaque, which notes that “The land has always been here” until some family donated it to the the city, “for the pleasure and enjoyment of the community”. I’m not sure how the deer, bears and rabbits feels about this donation.
The new bridge goes over a major north-south street in our town (and it only took over a year to complete). It’s certainly an improvement to be able to get to the other side of the trail with impunity.
When I mentioned the creatures affected by the trail I did not include the raccoons. They left their muddy footprints here and are probably happy that the creekbed was cleared of debris so that it is easy for them to get to the water. They’re just another bit of nature carving out a living the the big city.
As part of my continual exploration of my immediate neighborhood, today I wish to show bits of a nearby creek.
It’s not very impressive, but then again this is a semi-arid place. The larger stream is Monument Creek, and it runs through town from north to south. The puny waterflow is Cottonwood Creek, which ends here as it joins the larger stream.
It runs under the freeway, and on rare occasions it does flood. Once when me and Miss Dog were walking along this particular trail, we discovered wet bear tracks, and yet we kept on walking.
The creek also passes under this rather splendid railroad bridge. Years ago the railroad moved to the other side of Monument creek, but they left this bridge behind. On the upper far right is the new tunnel that allows one to bike along the trail that follows the creek. One can bike all the way to downtown, if one had a need to go downtown on a bicycle.
As the trees have not started to leaf out yet, the nests are on view. I don’t remember if this is a hawk’s nest or just home to those noisy corvid magpies.
This tree was probably modified by Ute indians. It looks like the sort of things that they created, possibly as a trail marker? Although one could just look up at the mountain to see where one is. These sorts of unique trees are found around the area, although the exact purpose remains a mystery.
Looking up along the creek gives the impression of a pastoral scene. At one time this was true, before there were houses, roads and a bike path, there were only cows and deer. But it is still a lovely bit of nature one can stroll along and admire on a pleasant sunny afternoon.
Just north of the hoodoos, and across the street, there used to be a bit of waste ground. This was so long ago that we used to walk Mr. Dog (the predecessor of Miss Dog) there to let him run free. Now there are office buildings and paved parking lots in this area, but I decided to take a walk there (no chance of running into other people).
And lo and behold, there were some baby hoodoos there (just like the one’s they destroyed across the street). Well this looks promising.
At the north end of this area there is a little creek that marks the boundary of development. There was water flowing in this because it had snowed just that morning. When they put in the buildings they took down the old train bridge that went across this, so this is as far as one can go. There is still waste ground to the north, and part of this is owned by the Air Force, I think.
The western edge of the property also has a little ephemeral stream running along it. One can see the thin seam of coal in it too. Just beyond this is the freeway (motorway). Traffic was not very heavy, but it is still plenty noisy.
I believe I might have mentioned (once or twice, anyway) how much I love reflections. And here on this rather ordinary office building was a perfect reflection of our lovely mountain.
This is progress I suppose, but they can’t eradicate every trace of what was there before (at least not yet).
I had expected to be in London today, perhaps strolling through Harrods (I love the look of the food courts), or the V & A. But that is not going to happen, so I took a stroll nearby, to a place I used to often go when Miss Dog was still alive. This is part of my neighborhood.
I had hiked up the side of a small bluff to get this shot of our beautiful mountain. It’s a bit hard to tell, but there is still snow on peak. The ugly building in the middle ground is a car dealership that has been there about 15 years, it replaced waste ground. The blacktop parking lot was being constructed on this day, in preparation for something that will perhaps need a lot of parking. They had removed all the dirt from a former train track to flatten the area out.
Looking south is my neighborhood. The big rock sticking up is what gives the area it’s name. The traffic circle is brand new, and was added to confuse the local drivers.
And this was what I had really climbed up to capture, a hoodoo (a column of rock wearing a little rock hat).
So here is another one, hidden away at the top of the bluff.
Here’s the north side of the bluff with a pair of hoodoos. The dark streak is coal and the yellowish streaks are ochre. Once upon a time there were coal mines nearby, but they all closed years ago, and now the real estate is too valuable to be mined. The hillside was originally cut away maybe 15 years ago when the city changed the shape of the road. And now they have changed the road again, so they cut away even more of the bluff. Construction has also removed a pair of large hoodoos and at least one small one. It’s surprising the changes that occur when one’s back is turned. So this is the neighborhood as it exists today, it still has these secret lovely places, hidden away from the busy roadway.
Just where are the sorts of places that might need a stuffed animal head for display? I do notice them in restaurants, bars, fraternal organizations and clubs and sometimes in stores. I had gone down to the local feed store to pick up some treats for my four-legged friends, when I spotted these heads.
Not strictly speaking just heads, these plastic birds feature turning heads to scare off unwanted birds (yes I’m talking about you, woodpeckers!). (And probably you magpies as well).
This shop features a fine collection of guns and rifles, perfect for bagging the elusive stag. Here’s a sample beast, casually displayed over excess stock.
A fine rack of antlers may attract the ladies, but they attract the hunters even more.
What the heck??? Some gun-crazy hunter even took down this stuffed deer. Who would do such a thing? I guess when one is looking for a trophy, the exact species doesn’t matter. It’s still a prize.
So after admiring the trophies I paid for my sacks of feed and went on my merry way. I am too wimpy to shoot a deer, except with a camera.
I have lived in my current town for the past 37 years. The town was established after the civil war as a tourist destination, people would come from Texas in the summer to escape the heat in those days before air conditioning. Lots of other people came as medical tourists, to breathe the fresh mountain air that would hopefully cure their tuberculosis. This was the gateway to gold mines, there was ranching and some farming, but tourist have always been important to the economy. So people have noticed that this is a rather nice place to live, and thus, the old is being removed and the new is taking its place.
This shed-like building is down by the railroad tracks. One can see it from the freeway (motorway), and so it has a mural celebrating the wonders of the town. The previous mural was a disaster, it started peeling and looking rather shabby almost as soon as it was finished.
Up close it is not much to look at, but this corner is slated to become a whiskey-tasting room. I suspect that the purveyors of said whiskey will not be encouraging visits from the many homeless people who roam the area.
I suppose that tha graffiti “art” that adorns the building marks it out as a hipster sort of place, but the roof on this side of the building shows it’s origin as a a shed.
This is the bit that is used by P, he rebuilds bicycles and gives them to homeless people. He also takes donations of stuff, and will find people who can use these donations. (I was down there dropping things off when I took these pictures).
The things that I find incredible about the proposed gentrification of this building are that it is in a strange location (under an overpass), and there are no water lines or heating. The building was originally used for grain storage when there was farming nearby, it’s just a giant shed by the railroad tracks. But, money will be poured into the structure, while keeping the rustic, bohemian nature of the building, and tourists will come (whether we like it or not).
According to the dictionary (yes I looked it up in an actual book) a trophy is: “something symbolising victory or success” and under b: “A mounted fish, animal’s head, etc.” It’s also a rather weird thing to do. I do occasionally go the the local Elks club, a fraternal organization devoted to something (I think it involves beer), and displaying lots of its’ namesake beasts.
This elk seems to be giving a bit of side-eye, meant perhaps as a bit of reproach for his untimely demise. He is tastefully situated on a fake lodge wall, that’s not a real mantle under him.
This elk is in a much plainer setting. Staring straight ahead he seems to be either sad or indifferent to to goings on in the room.
Now this elk was more of an actual trophy, with fine 12 point antlers, he was a lovely specimen in life. However, the way that he is mounted gives him a look of surprise. (It shouldn’t have been a total surprise, didn’t he notice that hunter creeping up on him? Maybe not).
And then there was this fellow, laying down on the job. From the looks of it, he has been around for a number of years, so perhaps this is understandable, sometimes one just needs a break. And if this is on display at the “Elks”, I worry about what is stuffed and mounted at “Modern Woodmen” another fraternal organization. 😉
To be called a “cowtown” implies one of two things: either the town is located in a cattle raising area, or the town is small, isolated or unsophisticated. I choose to think that this city is a cowtown because we have the annual strolling of the cows through the downtown area (what could be more sophisticated?).
The event starts with a small herd of longhorn cattle, including the adorable babies.
The TV news babe was there to cover the event (this is the sort of assignment that they delegate to the interns) along with her cameraman. How was she to know that the news part of the story would be at the other end of the stroll?
Police were ready to escort the herd and stop traffic (the sirens were on low to avoid startling the cattle).
And they’re off! Strolling along a busy street (well it’s a busy street a few blocks from here).
At the end of the trail, near the final destination of cattle pens were these ancient activists, with their handmade bedsheet signs (how quaint, this reminds me of the 60’s).
Here the herd is approaching the end and are quite tightly bunched up. Because…
This cow had had enough, so she ran into the crowd (people can move quite quickly when they need to) and then she ran into the open door of a bank, closely pursued by a couple of cowboys on horseback. They got a lasso on her and she was led back to the trailers. Meanwhile, the person who took the video on her cellphone capturing this cow’s adventure made the news, both local and national (too bad for you, TV newsgirl). All in all it was excellent publicity for a amateur rodeo and the cows went home until next year.