Category Archives: Mountains

Sunday in the Park

We have had a string of rather fine days for this time of year lately.  First there was the day for the eating holiday, then there was the day for the shopping holiday, and then today was perfect for just being out strolling around and enjoying the sunshine.  There is a spectacular city park, so my friends and I, and several hundred other souls went out to pay the rocks a visit.

And it was a great day for taking photos of the rocks.  It was cloudy and overcast when we first arrived, but the sun broke through and lit up these beautiful rock formations.

The rocks are so photogenic, I would not be surprised to learn that thousands of pictures were taken this very day.   But wait, what is that tiny blob up there on the ridge.

Why it’s some girl, waiting to get to the top.

Here’s the gang at the top, no doubt contemplating getting down without killing themselves.  That part is apparently much easier (like falling off a log) than getting up, which requires grabbing on to the tiny handholds in the rock and pulling oneself up.   The ropes are just there in case you fall off the log rock.

Then it was goodbye to the rocks til next time (I do have jillions of pictures that I have taken here over the years), and onward to lunch and still more shopping.

Touristing

There are several attractions here in town for tourists, and as I am a resident, I try to avoid them.  But a group I belong to wanted to go to this one, so I decided to give it a go and see if it was worth seeing.

And it has been a tourist attraction for a very long time.  The donkeys are no longer available, so we parked over by a fancy hotel and took a shuttle bus.  Then we took a tram uphill to the attraction, and then there we were at last.

So this is what we were there to look at.  Those tiny ants are people walking up the 285 steps to the top.   After walking up all these steps, one can go hiking (in case one is not tired yet), or spend $149 to ride a zip line down.  Or if one is old, like myself, one can ride an elevator to this overlook spot and take a photo.

There were scads of tourists roaming about the place, even though it was a rainy, gray day.   This tourist was taking selfies with the waterfall as backdrop.

It was a good idea to take the photos before the rain, because afterwards it was a waterfall of mud.  Not nearly as scenic as the before.

Where there are tourists, there is an opportunity to take their money.  This rather mangy looking stuffed mountain lion is at the entrance to the restaurant, run by the fancy hotel.  The lovely thing about the park is that dogs are allowed (and I don’t think that they have to pay the admission fee) and so there were lots of pups there enjoying the place.   I vaguely remember visiting over 30 years ago, I think I shall wait another 30 years before I go back.   😉

Old year

It’s a snowy and miserable day to be outside today, so I thought that I would share some pictures taken last year, on Dec 30th.  My friends asked me if I wanted to take a stroll through our most famous city park and I immediately said “Yes!”.   As it was sunny and warmish I didn’t even need to wear a jacket and it was ever so pleasant a day to be walking about.

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There are beautiful views of the mountain from the park; what I am not showing is that we were hardly alone in enjoying this gorgeous day.

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The park has these lovely vertical cliffs that were caused by the mountain pushing it’s way to the surface.  Again what I am not showing is the crowds of tourists swarming over the rocks, quite near the signs saying that this is dangerous.

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The cliffs have lots of handholds and toe holds so that they are possible to climb up without any special equipment, but, it is quite a different matter to get down.  So the fire department has to come and rescue people from time to time.

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They are lovely and mysterious, looming overhead.  And one could spend endless time photographing them (I personally have jillions of photos).    One photographer was fined for cutting down a tree so that no one else could take the same photo as he.   But I am a casual observer, so after a few shots (okay, the batteries ran out in my camera), it was off to lunch.

Fall

After a cool Spring and an almost cooler Summer, Fall is finally here.

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This was the view from my front door this morning, with the gorgeous colors of Fall.   Although it has snowed up on the peak, it hasn’t stuck.

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Down by the creek, there is some yellow, but there is still plenty of green.

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It is gloriously golden in places.

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And flaming red in others.

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It’s a great time to go out and enjoy the fall colors (black goes with everything).

Hoodoos

Today Miss P and I were on a mission, to find and photograph some hoodoos.   What is a hoodoo?   One use of the word is a synonym for voodoo, but what I’m talking about is a column of rock, where the softer rock has eroded leaving a little (or big) hat of harder rock on the top.   It sort of looks like a person.

Why?  Well they are the sort of thing one runs into when one is out walking.   But when you are looking for them, they suddenly disappear.    It was tremendously windy today, so we just couldn’t get to one spot, but we did come across a few.

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These ones are near the house and we spotted them on a walk on Sunday. (Note to self: Do not wear Birkenstocks when out hiking).

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This puny one barely qualifies, but it is technically a hoodoo.

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These ones are pretty puny too.

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These ones are more respectable examples, located over by Pulpit Rock.   There are even some in a neighbor’s back yard, but none in mine.

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This is sort of a hoodoo, but it doesn’t have a hat.

A related thing is a balanced rock, which is not formed in the same way.   We have a premier example right in a city park, which is formed by erosion after the uplift of the mountain.

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This is extremely popular with tourists who drive up, snap a photo, and then go on to next tourist thing.

Winter sky

Because the mountain sits to the west of town, the sun goes down pretty early in the winter.  But we sometimes get fabulous skies because the sun is still shining on the clouds.  The sky lights up in golden splendor until the sun sinks a little lower into darkness.

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Off in the distance

I grew up in St. Louis, which is essentially a flat prairie town where two rivers meet, the Mississippi and the Missouri.   It’s the higher ground, the bit on the other side in Illinois floods frequently.  As far as we know, the Illinois side was the site of a great native city, Cahokia that was abandoned long before European contact.   St. Louis was established as a fur trading outpost and grew into a large city of brick houses and prosperity.

Of course that is the distant past, in my past it has a different story.   I remember it as a place that is hot in the summer and cold, cold, cold in the winter.   The winters are full of grey skies, the clouds hang so low that it looks like you could reach up and touch them, or bump your head on them if you are not careful.   In contrast, the beautiful skies and wide open spaces are part of why I love Colorado and New Mexico.

Spanish Peaks

In the far distance is Spanish Peaks, which is about 120 miles away.   the bluer mountains are the Wet Mountains, about 50 miles away.

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Cheyenne Mountain is in the foreground, it is the site of NORAD, a (not-so-secret) military installation that extends for a mile inside the mountain.

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A different view of the Peak.

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The bump on the horizon to the north is Castle Rock.   It doesn’t look very impressive in this view as there is a pass (high point) between here and there.   It’s about 45 miles away.  All of these pictures were taken on one of the many trails that run throughout the city.   Anyone can enjoy these spectacular vistas.

More updates

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There is fresh snow on the mountain today, we got rain yesterday and the day before.   It’s unusual for this time of year, we usually get snow in town before this.

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This is Albert, Junior enjoying a snack yesterday.   He was accompanied by his friend, a younger buck.   I think I know all the deer in the neighborhood.   There is this doe and her two fawns.

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Not pictured is the big buck and his harem of 4 does, they were also here, but I did not get a decent photo of them.   He stood guard while the ladies nibbled at the deer block.   My nearby feed store has closed; now I have to drive across town (which takes about 15 minutes 😉 to get their snacks.   So I stocked up on enough deer treats to last for a while.

I went and saw my dentist on Thursday, he is getting out of rehab on the 31st but he still has more surgery ahead.

One hummingbird had stayed behind when the others left but he too has finally decided it’s time to migrate south.   Meanwhile the pinon jays are keeping busy burying peanuts and corn for the winter.  It’s the last weekend for beautiful viewing of the yellow aspens in the mountains, soon enough it will be winter.

Just south

I live in an area that is a mix of rural and urban.   I live in a house with natural landscaping (I only have a tiny lawn, the rest just grows naturally).  There is an open space (area with no houses) nearby, and it connects along the creek to the mountains so the deer can wander through the neighborhood.   The most prominent feature of this open space is called Pulpit Rock.

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I took this picture one day when I was out walking Miss Dog.

It’s a rather large rock outcropping, you can see it from the freeway when you’re driving from the north, and it is clearly visible from the south part of town as well.

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(Hint:  It’s that white blob in the middle of the picture).

It’s also quite near the local university, and it it popular for students to climb up, which they do often as an alternative to studying.   It’s part of my landscape and I navigate by it.

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The neighbors swear that a mountain lion has a den back in this valley, but I have never seen it. (And I hope I don’t.)

A goodbye

This weekend we said goodbye to the woman, hoarder, whose house we cleared.  It was amazing to see it cleared, we had all worked so hard to make this happen.

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She lived high above the city, safe in her aerie.

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She had a tree house, just in case she wanted to be higher.

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This was the last forgotten bit, somehow overlooked in the general cleanup.

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Her mother had come here to finalize everything, so we had a memorial to celebrate her short life.   Her beloved dog was there too, he seemed happy to be back in his house.   Our group was at this to express our sympathy.  Although I never met her in life, I know many things about her from going through her belongings.  It was melancholy, but still life affirming, her mother mentioned all of the charities that benefited and S gave the dog charity a check for $1000 dollars.   Her mother had printed up beautiful little wallet-sized cards, on one side is her daughter and the other was this.

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