Outtakes- 2017 Colorado Edition









As always, it takes me good while to get to the end of posting about a trip- between editing all the photos and just life in general, i’m actually pretty surprised it didn’t take longer. But, here we are! Two months from the end of the trip and i’m finally done and onto planning my next trip.

Getting the chance to explore these parts of Colorado more in depth was a perfect vacation and while I don’t see myself returning any time soon, I know i’ll be be back. Whether it’s to go hiking in Rocky Mountain NP, finally make it to Lake City, see the night sky at the Great Sand Dunes NP or just relax in the quiet of South Fork, Colorado is a state that holds too much not to be worth a visit for anyone with a sense of adventure.

All The Posts:
First Post, Overview
Rocky Mountain NP Pt1
Rocky Mountain NP Pt2
Caribou Ghost Town
Gem and Minerals at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Gem Carvings of Konovalenko at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Denver Museum of Nature and Science , Last Part
Bear Lake, Rocky Mountain NP
Garden of The GodsBachelor Loop, PT1
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, Pt1
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Pt2
Sunset at Great Sand Dunes National Park and PreserveBachelor Loop Pt2

I’m taking a break from writing any blog posts for the month of June to give myself time to focus back on neglected art projects, finish up the editing for the novel i’ve been writing, catch up with friends and above all, plan my next trip. I bought a ticket to Paris back at the end of March and i’ve yet to really settle on an itinerary (or get my passport in order) so hopefully by the time I get back on here, i’ll be able to share some kind of travel plan. Or beg for suggestions.

Either way, i’m wishing everyone a fantastic start to their summer and much luck in their adventures!

not drowning in my coffee cups yet,
~m

Quiet and Calm, Rust and Rot- Creede, CO











You know it’s not a roadtrip unless we end up exploring abandoned places…

Coming down the Bachelors Loop back towards Creede to head back to South Fork, we pulled off so I could take a better look at a structure partially obscured by trees and snow. Of course that ended up with me grabbing my camera and dragging myself (and the bf) to go up and over the hill, to better explore what looked more and and more interesting by the second.

I’m still not quite sure what this place is/was to be perfectly honest. When I looked at the Bachelor Loop map more close, it looks like this isn’t actually on there? The closest spot is #15, which is the Creede Cemetery (where I took the photo of that church from the end of my last post) but after that is #14 which is the Creede Scenic Overlook (again from where I took last posts photos). I remember passing a sign that said “Ponderosa” but thats about the best my memory serves me and no matter how much googling i’ve done, i’ve come up with nothing to give a name to this abandoned structure. To be sure, I also don’t remember any “Private Property” signs- which we saw a lot of while doing the other parts of the Bachelor Loop- and given the graffiti we saw inside plus the general air of disuse, i’m pretty sure I didn’t go stumbling through just anywhere.

What I do know for certain is that it was entirely unexpected but more wonderfully interesting and i’m always happy to get a chance to explore gems like this, even if I can’t always put a name to them.

~m

Fog Rolling in Through the Mountains- Creede, CO

Having spent the previous day at the Sand Dunes NP, the plan on Thursday (what was supposed to be our last full day staying in South Fork) was to head to Lake City first.

Actually, to be perfectly honest, the only real goal for the day was Lake City, everything else came a distant fifth. And why did I want to go to Lake City so badly? Because i’m a stupidly stubborn person sometimes and after the bf spent 2 years mentioning how the next time we were in Creede I needed to go visit Lake City, and how great Lake City was and did I know I needed to go visit Lake City… i’d had enough. We were going and the gods themselves would have to block my way.

The funny thing is, I actually said those exact words out loud to the bf as we set out on the road towards lake city, the sky overcast and looking like a bad idea. “The gods themselves are gonna have to come down and block my way.” . I’m not only stubborn but dramatic as well, apparently.
And did I make it to Lake City? The answer to that is no, because hubris is a lovely and fun thing.

Just 20 minuets past Creede, still about an hour away from our destination, the flakes started falling. And they kept coming. Heavier and heavier until the whole world was one giant coating of white. It got so bad finally we had to stop the car, the windshield rapidly icing over and the road itself only a suggestion. We turned back, because although i’m dramatic and stubborn and leak hubris like faulty car, i’m not completely reckless. We ended up on the other side of the Bachelors Loop tour road, the snow over here falling only in gentle flakes again, not in looming sheets of pale terror.

From up here you can look down at the town of Creede, nestled in the junction of the mountains, tucked in safe. The church in the last photo is actually visible from the high view (you can see it in the first three photos up top) and if your ever out here, on your way to Lake City and happen to get kicked in the teeth and made to turn back, I highly recommend coming up through the Bachelors Loop for the view. We had it all to ourselves that day and it almost made up for our interrupted plans.

(One day, i’ll visit you Lake City!)

~m

Night Falling Over Sand- Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, CO

What I remember most vividly was the feel of cold sand against my bare feet and the sound of running water. We settled in next to the creek to relax after our eventful day (starting in South Fork, headed to Creede and then back to South Fork only to head back out later in the day to find a town with a postoffice to buy stamps at and then finally to this park that ended up about a two hours drive away) and to wait for the sunset.

It took it’s time, and perhaps if I was a more determined photographer I would have hiked up to the dunes to enjoy the view from there but, I consider myself more of a traveler than anything else, and so I saved that journey for another visit. This time I took in the colors of above from below and enjoyed the clouds moving in from the east.

We lingered till just after the sun had settled in, the sky still muted colors, until we heard the far off cries of coyotes…and the sounds of people nearby calling back at them. There is a particular kind of madness that even i’m not that fond of delving into, so after a few more back and forth calls we headed back to the car, the day more than happily ended.

~m

The Magnificence of the Wind- Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, CO

I had wanted to come to this park for so long that by the time I visited it, it was almost like a dream. 

The first time I sat down with plans to visit the Great Sand Dunes NP, it was last June. I had been idly messing around in google maps, enlarging and then zooming into areas of interest around Texas, Colorado, Arkansas and Oklahoma and had spotted an area on the way to the San Juan Mountains that I hadn’t quite looked at before and upon closer inspection, led me to the point where I was ready to make the 14 hour drive from home out there by myself as soon as possible. This idea ended up being shelved and instead I headed to Big Bend NP (which to be honest, wasn’t the best idea either as it was the beginning of summer and I ended up almost dying out by an abandoned mine), though I still kept the idea tucked into my heart that I would make it out to see the dunes one day.

Fast forward more than half a year and another roadtrip later, and we finally found ourselves looking up up up at the gently swirling dunes. I’ve seen many a beautiful place, been privy to some spectacular scenery and have been to more places that took my breath away than I probably deserve but…

I know I say this a lot and perhaps after a certain point it almost becomes a given, but this park was well and truly something special, something magnificent that I can’t quite put into words. Maybe it’s because of the utterly unexpected nature of the environment- you’re walking past green bushes and across a cold stream to get to the dunes and then once there, you’re looking past them towards the tall snow capped mountains in the near distance, the smaller green mountains on the other side of the view no less lovely.  Or maybe it’s because I rarely visit parks with any preconceived notions or expectations (the one exception being Arches and perhaps thats why I didn’t enjoy my visit there half as much ) and with this one especially, what I got was more than I could have dreamed up in the first place.

The few people that remained by the time we made it out into the dunes were friendly but kept their distance, everyone very much in their own space, in their own world. It can be hard to see exactly how large the area is when you’re making your way in from the park entrance but when you’re out there, it’s like you’ve stepped into a whole other world. One where the sound of sand shifting and moving is a constant companion, where the wind whips and whistles fiercely (but never too harshly) and where each step is just a little more difficult than the last.

It was fun- just so incredibly fun, the kind you forget to have when you pass from childhood- to wander around the dunes without any real aim, crouching low to watch the ripples in the sand, and looking back to where you came from to watch your heavy footsteps slowly disappearing into nothing.  Time here passes strangely, one minute your heading towards the next rise of sand and the next you still haven’t quite made to where you were aiming for and the suns gotten much lower in the sky. You look around and people that you had seen at the tops of the dunes, their sunglasses glinting in the light and cameras covered in plastic bags, they’ve disappeared down the other side and you wonder what they’re going to find over there. You wonder if you should try and make it over as well, but then your legs are growing tired from constantly sinking and rising, sinking and rising and so you head back towards the shores of the cold creek that marks the border back to normal.

Visiting this park it’s an experience not to be missed, but above all, you really should try and stay for the sunset like we decided to. If you think things feel surreal now, wait till the sun sets.

~m