Monday, September 27, 2021

Fall Beauty in Colorado


I always know that sometime in September the aspen trees growing in the high elevations in Colorado will begin to change from green to bright yellow and some to orange. I note predictions and listen for reports on the news as to when "peak color" can be seen.  In the almost 9 years we have lived in Colorado we've always taken few drives up to the high country to enjoy this early preview of autumn and the beautiful patchwork of colors that will appear on the distant mountains.




One of our favorite drives is along Guanella Pass, a scenic byway that was once a burro path but is now a fully paved 22-mile road that connects Grant with Georgetown, Colorado. I've blogged about it many times in the past which you can read them all on this link.




The sky was bluebird blue and the aspens shined like gold!




Every twist and turn in the road revealed more beauty!





The mountains surrounding the scenic byway were thick with golden aspen groves...




 ...interspaced with pine trees.


So many gorgeous shades of lime green, yellow, gold, and orange.




We always stop to see this waterfall on the drive. All those large boulders were once carried by a glacier long ago.  You can watch a video of the waterfall on my Mille Fiori Favoriti facebook page on this link.



You can read more about the geology of Guanella Pass on the roadside placards above.  Double click on the photo to enlarge it to make it easier to read.



As we drove we began to climb higher in elevation until we were soon above the tree line. 




We reached the summit of Guanella Pass which is at 11,700 feet (3566 M)





An information placard at the summit. Please double click on to enlarge to read it 




At the Guanella Pass summit, there are views of 14,060-foot (4285.M) Mount Bierstadt and trails through the alpine tundra.




We parked and hiked a part of a trail. The interesting interpretive sign in the photo above was about the tundra along the trail. Those that were younger and in better shape were taking the trail all the way to the summit of Mt Bierstadt.



There are also views of the 14,264-foot (4347. M) Mount Evans in the distance.


There was more magnificent autumnal color when we drove from the summit back down towards Georgetown.  We passed the dam, reservoir, and electric power plant on the way.





It was a beautiful day for a drive! We felt so excited to see fall finally arrive after a very hot and dry summer.  This is my favorite time of the year--the last smile of nature before winter's cold and snow.

You can also find me on


I'm linking this post to some of the following blog events:

 Mosaic MondayBlue Monday, Through My Lens MondayHearth, and Soul Link PartyYou Are the Star Blog Hop, Inspire Me MondayHome Matters Linky Party,  Good Random FunNature NotesGrand SocialTravel Photos, Travel TuesdayHappiness Is Homemade, Create, Bake, MakeOur World TuesdayRuby TuesdayTuesday's TreasuresTuesdays With A TwistLet's Keep In TouchWordless Wednesday on a Tuesday,  Party in Your PJ'sWordless WednesdayOh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful Wednesday, Wednesday My Corner of the WorldWonderful WednesdaySigns2 Little Things ThursdayThankful Thursday,  Thursday Encouraging Hearts and Home,  Thursday Thinking Out Loud, Friendship FridaysA Morning Cup of JoeFriday Features Linky Party, Skywatch FridayWeekend Roundup,  Pink SaturdaySaturday SparksSaturday CrittersSunday on Silverado


Bookmark and Share

Sunday, September 19, 2021

What's New On Pikes Peak!


At the beginning of September, a former colleague of my husband was visiting Colorado Springs with her husband for a convention.  We live about an hour away in the Denver area, but we offered to drive them up to the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs on a day they were free, and after they acclimated to the elevation of Colorado Springs. We heard that many new features were being built on the top of the 14,115 foot (94302.32 m) mountain which would be interesting to see in progress.  Pikes Peak also called "America's Mountain" is one of the most visited mountains in the world and a top tourist attraction for the State of Colorado. Annually, nearly 1 million people reach the summit via the Pikes Peak Highway, The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway, or, for the more adventurous, the Barr or Crags hiking trails. Pikes Peak is an American icon, and the summit is a National Historic Landmark that holds a special place in America's heart.

We have made many drives up to the summit of Pikes Peak, and in this post, you can see a more detailed ride up and down the mountain. In this postyou can learn about the town of Manitou Springs which lies at the base of Pikes Peak, and within this post, you can see a trip we took on the Cog Railroad up to the summit of Pikes Peak with my younger brother who was visiting one year. 


Although the sky was uncharacteristically hazy, due to western wildfire smoke in the atmosphere, the view on the drive up was still breathtaking.



As you can see in the photo above there are many switchbacks in the road up the mountain.



 

There are also some places along the drive where you feel as if you are going to drive right off into the clouds!



For the faint of heart, The Broadmoor Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railroad does the driving for you and is fully narrated with interesting historical facts. The Cog Railroad has been functioning since 1891, but in the last few years, it has been completely overhauled by its owner, The Broadmoor Hotel and Spa, with new trains, new tracks, a new depot, and a new Pikes Peak Visitor Center to become one of the most unique experiences in the world. 



There was still snow on the ground from a light snowfall that occurred a few days before and the views from the summit, although hazy in the distance, went on for many miles.


There were still many construction vehicles and work in progress at the summit.  It is amazing to think of how those large construction machines and supplies drove up to the mountain top and have worked, weather permitting, constructing new view platforms, a new parking lot, new walkways, and a new Visitor Center Complex! As you can see in the collage above most of the mountain top at one time was a boulder field. The older Visitor Center built in the '60s was being knocked down.


The new Visitor Center is open although finishing touches were still being made inside and around it.


The new Pikes Peak Summit Complex, which includes the Visitor Center, a Utilities facility, and a High-Altitude Research Laboratory. has large windows to see the views, a gift shop, restrooms, an interactive display room, and a cafeteria. My husband and friend sampled the legendary high-altitude donuts.




We also watched another cog railway approach the summit from the back porch of the Visitor Center.



A wall of the original 1873 Summit House has been preserved.  Click on the photo to enlarge it to read the informational placard about it in the collage above. 



There were many other interesting informational placards on the new railings--click twice on the photo collage above to enlarge them to read them.


There is also a new modern Summit Sign! It has the new exact measurement of 14,115 feet on it.  We all posed for photos by it. The original 1907 US Geological Survey medallion can be seen on the ground in front of the sign.  


The drive down the mountain was also exciting. We stopped for a while at an area called the Devil's Playground where I took a photo of our friends taking a selfie. 

The Devil's Playground Trail (also known as the Crags Trail) traverses approximately 7 miles and 4,300 feet starting from a trailhead located near the Crags Campground (Woodland Park, CO) and terminating at the summit of Pikes Peak, elevation 14,115 feet. The trail is located entirely on the USFS Pike National Forest.


We continued on until we had the mandatory stop for a brake check at the Glen Cove station on our descent.  Even though my husband followed all the Pikes Peak suggested driving rules our brakes measured hot and we were told to pull over to cool them for a half-hour. It was the first time that happened in all our drives but this was also the lightest traffic we encountered in all our trips up and down the mountain so we may have been going a little faster than usual.  We were able to buy coffee and peruse the gift shop during our stop so all was well.  

We had a wonderful time on the mountain and afterward our guests treated us to a delicious lunch. It was so nice to spend the day with our friends and we know they enjoyed the rest of the time they spent in Colorado. Meanwhile, my husband and I are excited to plan to return next summer to Pikes Peak to see the completion of all the improvements and to enjoy the views again!

You can also find me on


I'm linking this post to some of the following blog events:

 Mosaic MondayBlue Monday, Through My Lens MondayHearth, and Soul Link PartyYou Are the Star Blog Hop, Inspire Me MondayHome Matters Linky Party,  Good Random FunNature NotesGrand SocialTravel Photos, Travel TuesdayHappiness Is Homemade, Create, Bake, MakeOur World TuesdayRuby TuesdayTuesday's TreasuresTuesdays With A TwistLet's Keep In TouchWordless Wednesday on a Tuesday,  Party in Your PJ'sWordless WednesdayOh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful Wednesday, Wednesday My Corner of the WorldWonderful WednesdaySigns2 Little Things ThursdayThankful Thursday,  Thursday Encouraging Hearts and Home,  Thursday Thinking Out Loud, Friendship FridaysA Morning Cup of JoeFriday Features Linky Party, Skywatch FridayWeekend Roundup,  Pink SaturdaySaturday SparksSaturday CrittersSunday on Silverado
 
Bookmark and Share

Monday, September 13, 2021

Summer's End


"Summer's lease hath all too short a date." ~ William Shakespeare

The wild grass is high and has gone to seed, the light is shorter and more golden, the mornings and evenings are cooler.  The end of summer is nigh. 



"We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever"  ~ Carl Sagan

June, July, and August have passed so quickly! The weather was uncomfortably hot this year--we broke weather records for heat. Denver is currently tied for its 4th-hottest summer in recorded history (1872-present). The National Weather Service (NWS) defines summer from June 1 to August 31. We had five days of 100 degrees or higher, forty-six days of 90 degrees or higher, and five days either tied or broke the record high temperature. The weather felt even more oppressive this summer due to the high ozone from the heat and Western wildfire smoke in our atmosphere for many days.  I was happy that we invested in two Hepa air purifiers this year which ran almost constantly.

"If you don't like the weather in Colorado wait 15 minutes--
it will change." ~ Common Folklore

Speaking of weather....no, this isn't snowing...it is hail that fell during a recent afternoon thunderstorm!  We were out shopping and as we drove back into our community we began to see patches of white on the ground, even though the temperature was hot.  When we got home we saw that hail knocked off some of the tree leaves and battered a few of our flowers but thankfully no other damage was done.  As you can see from the close-up, in the photo collage above, the hail was about the size of a dime and a nickel.  Happily, it wasn't any bigger as at times Colorado has golf ball to softball size hail that is very damaging.



"Happily we bask in this warm September sun, which illuminates all creatures." ~ Henry David Thoreau

My garden is fading but I hope our figs will ripen in these last weeks of warm sun.  My roses formed rose hips and I'm drying the sunflower head to save for the birds to eat in winter. The last of summer to savor and anticipation of autumn's beauty to look forward to! Autumn is my favorite season--what is yours?



"Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be..." ~ Robert Browning

Our son's in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in a fun way this month. They rented a private suite at Coors Field in Denver for a Colorado Rockies game for the entire family to attend.  It was catered with delicious food and we all had a fun time watching the game and all the festivities. We wish them many, many, more years of wedded bliss!




September 11th is always a sad day for us.  I have written many past blog posts about this day and our experiences that day as we lived in New York City at the time and my husband worked in #7 World Trade Center. We knew many who perished that tragic day.  On this 20th anniversary of the event, the memories are still sharp and the desire that good will prevail over evil is still my hope even more than ever.


“If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn
that life is short and there is no time for hate.”
~ Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl

The pilot of United Airlines Flight 93, Jason Dahl, lived in our Colorado community at the time. His flight was the plane that the brave passengers brought down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to prevent further destruction in Washington DC. Our community put up a memorial of a flying eagle and the plaque above in his memory after 9-11.  Every year on 9-11 many gather at his memorial to pay tribute to him and all the others who perished that tragic day with a moment of silence. 

 A beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky this year during the memorial gathering. Another sign of hope! It is up to all of us to make the world a better place--spread kindness and defeat hate!

You can also find me on


I'm linking this post to some of the following blog events:

 Mosaic MondayBlue Monday, Through My Lens MondayHearth, and Soul Link PartyYou Are the Star Blog Hop, Inspire Me MondayHome Matters Linky Party,  Good Random FunNature NotesGrand SocialTravel Photos, Travel TuesdayHappiness Is Homemade, Create, Bake, MakeOur World TuesdayRuby TuesdayTuesday's TreasuresTuesdays With A TwistLet's Keep In TouchWordless Wednesday on a Tuesday,  Party in Your PJ'sWordless WednesdayOh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful Wednesday, Wednesday My Corner of the WorldWonderful WednesdaySigns2 Little Things ThursdayThankful Thursday,  Thursday Encouraging Hearts and Home,  Thursday Thinking Out Loud, Friendship FridaysA Morning Cup of JoeFriday Features Linky Party, Skywatch FridayWeekend Roundup,  Pink SaturdaySaturday SparksSaturday CrittersSunday on Silverado

Bookmark and Share

Sunday, September 5, 2021

The Silver Thread Scenic and Historic Byway



The Silver Thread Scenic and Historic Byway--CO 149-- was designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation as a National Scenic Byway in 2021. It is one of 13 America’s Byways designated in Colorado. It provides access to a diversity of scenic wonders in a vast wilderness, historical mining town landmarks, and extensive recreational opportunities for hiking, camping, and fishing.  

In prior blog posts, I showed the two historic mining towns of Creede--click here-- and Lake City--click here--as well as the magnificent North Clear Creek Waterfall --click here--that are located along the byway. Now I'd like to show some more features we saw along the drive.



One unusual geologic feature we saw was the National Natural Landmark called the Slumgullion Earthflow or Slide. 

It is a rare example of an earthflow, called mass wasting. About 700 years ago, an area of Mesa Seco, composed of partially decomposed volcanic rock, slid down the mountain and blocked the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River. This natural dam formed what is now known as Lake San Cristobal. The earthflow is about 4 miles long and covers over 1000 acres.

A second earthflow began about 300 years ago and is still active today. The United States Geologic Survey (USGS) tracks the movement of the slide, which in some places moves as much as 20 feet per year. It covers some of the original slide and can be detected by observing the trees growing on it that are tipped at odd angles.

The Slumgullion Slide was likely named by early settlers of Lake City who noted that the yellow color of the soils resembled Slumgullion Stew. “Slum” as it was also called, was generally a watery stew made from beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions, or whatever leftovers could be found. Also, miners of the 1800s referred to the leftover mud in gold sluices as slumgullion.


Please Click on Photo to Enlarge 

As this placard explains, twenty million years ago this entire region was geologically actives as massive volcanoes changed the landscape.



My husband and I marveled at the different shapes of volcanic rock and the erosion that was ongoing over the millenniums.



There were many beautiful castle-like formations of mountainous rock along the way.





Another interesting part of the drive was seeing the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River a 64.7-mile-long (104.1 km) tributary of the Gunnison River in Colorado. The river's source is Sloan Lake near Handies Peak in the San Juan Mountains of Hinsdale County.



Please Click On Photo to Enlarge

As you can read on the placard in the photo collage above the Lake Fork of the Gunnison is one of the many rivers and streams that flow into the Colorado River and travel 1,500 miles to the Sea of Cortez in the Baja of Mexico.



Most of the time as we drove along The Siver Thread Byway we were one of the very few cars on the road.  Much of the land is wilderness, except for an occasional cattle ranch.  




At another stop, we read the ill-fated expedition lead by the guide Alferd Packer in 1874, who was hired to lead five other men from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Los Pinos Agency Gunnison, Colorado.  The Utes warned them that the snow would be treacherous but they kept going.  Sadly they became lost in the San Juan Mountains and only Alfred came out of the mountains in Spring alive, and he was suspiciously well-fed. Was it cannibalism? Read the entire story and see the placard above in detail on this link.



Please Click On the Photos Above to Enlarge


One of my favorite placards on the byway told the story of the "People Of the Shining Mountains"--the Utes.  All of Colorado was once their land and they called the Rockies the Shining Mountains in their native language.
 



The Silver Thread Scenic and Historic Byway was a beautiful and interesting drive and one of many scenic byways we have driven on in Colorado. To see those other drives click on this link and keep scrolling through 38 other posts!  We hope to drive many more in the future as there are 25 byways in Colorado, and 13 of them have been designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation as America's Byways, which gives Colorado more national designations than any other state!

You can also find me on


I'm linking this post to some of the following blog events:

 Mosaic MondayBlue Monday, Through My Lens MondayHearth, and Soul Link PartyYou Are the Star Blog Hop, Inspire Me MondayHome Matters Linky Party,  Good Random FunNature NotesGrand SocialTravel Photos, Travel TuesdayHappiness Is Homemade, Create, Bake, MakeOur World TuesdayRuby TuesdayTuesday's TreasuresTuesdays With A TwistLet's Keep In TouchWordless Wednesday on a Tuesday,  Party in Your PJ'sWordless WednesdayOh My Heartsie Girl's Wonderful Wednesday, Wednesday My Corner of the WorldWonderful WednesdaySigns2 Little Things ThursdayThankful Thursday, Brians Thankful ThursdayThursday Encouraging Hearts and Home,  Thursday Thinking Out Loud, Thursday Favorite Things, Friday With FriendsFriendship FridaysA Morning Cup of JoeFriday Features Linky Party, Skywatch FridayWeekend Roundup,  Pink SaturdaySaturday SparksSaturday CrittersSunday on Silverado

Bookmark and Share