A Sight to See on my Next Trip to Colorado

Sharing a link to this blog about a Russian artist who carves gemstones:

Following up on my last post regarding my at times overzealous interest in geology and pretty much all subfields therein, it’s only fitting to admit the #1 reason we decided to visit this particular museum over any others. We (and by that I mean ‘me’) had been undecided on which museums in Denver we were […]

via The Gem Carvings of Konovalenko- Denver, Colorado — Sleepy Coffee and Fables

Fennboree IV

Travel plans for June 9th – 11th?

Here’s a link to the necessary information for the 4th annual Fennboree, for Fennatics and the curious. It always sounds like a good time, just a little far away for some of us.

Gorgeous area, though.

66,000 Links North of Santa Fe

66,000 Links North of Santa Fe

The Junior Oxford Dictionary is Losing Touch with Nature

Forrest Fenn wants to get kids off the couch and out of doors.  What does this news say about our culture when “selfie stick” & “hashtag” replace words like “acorn” and “otter”?                    : (

Sharing this post from Lady Muir:

I was shocked to read the list of nature words removed from the Jr. Oxford Dictionary in the last decade. What follows are excerpts from an essay that explores the intersection between language and life.

via Let Nature Words Live — LadyMuir

How do Gemstones get their Colors ? — Know-It-All

Reblogged this because it’s kinda cool:

The most common cause of color in gemstones is the presence of a small amount of a transition metal ion. Most gemstones are allochromatic, meaning that they are colored by impurities or trace elements in their crystal structure.

via How do Gemstones get their Colors ? — Know-It-All

100 Years Ago

P1000886

On Summer Seas (1916)

The National Park Service was created one hundred years ago.  Yellowstone preceded that, being designated in 1872.  And once upon a time, I dreamed of being a forest ranger.  My imagination had me up in a tower in a sea of green trees–a rather narrow view of the current job description.

morning in mountains

Glacier National Park

 

One of the more unique rangers we’ve met was dressed to the hilt as a French voyageur  and remained in character, impressing our youngest.  I think there was even bread baking involved.

 

voyageur_canoe

1868 Quetico Superior Route, Passing a Waterfall by Frances Anne Hopkins (Scene showing a large Hudson’s Bay Company freight canoe passing a waterfall, presumably on the French River. The passengers in the canoe may be the artist and her husband, Edward Hopkins, secretary to the Governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company.) (public domain)

That national park was the site of the Rainy Lake gold rush in the mid-1890’s.  Northern Minnesota is not the first place I’d think of when searching for gold.  Better odds, maybe, of finding Forrest Fenn’s treasure chest.

chest

Forrest Fenn’s Treasure Chest

 

 

Scouting New Mexico

My first visit to New Mexico was brief, less than 24 hours.  I came down from Colorado on the dark side of the mountains one night and was glad to arrive (safely) at the hotel in Santa Fe.  Not until morning did I try to find Fenn’s place.  I had the address.  I had GPS.  I had an invitation.  But.  The car was leading me out of town, back into the mountains.  The streets were one way this way and that.  And narrow.  No view.  Claustrophobic.

I’d allowed plenty of time but it was fading fast.  Aha, I thought.  I’ll go to the bookstore.  They must know where Forrest lives.  When I asked the nice guy behind the counter in Collected Works, he said, “Why don’t you just call him?  He’s in the phonebook.”  I said just point me in the right direction.  I made it on time and there he was, just like he says in the book. to show you care.

Cactus

Cactus

I had to head home then, and didn’t explore the mountains north of Santa Fe, or even Santa Fe, for that matter.  And between you and me, I was relieved to be out in the open sky again.  I’m not a desert person.  I don’t get it.  Give me green;  changing seasons;  trees.

Book Signing at La Fonda

Still, when the approval/opportunity came up to return for one of Forrest’s book signings, I jumped at it.  Leaving in the midst of harvest?  Well, I’d pay the piper later.  Short notice, but what did I need to pack, really?  Camera, phone, the book to be signed.  Good to go.

About halfway to Santa Fe, the climate changes, the trees disappear, the dirt turns red.  Very red, and it was flying where the farmers worked it.  And of course, it was hot when I left and got hotter the further west I went.

Blue Hole details

First tourist stop?  The Blue Hole I’d read about.  It would make living in the desert bearable.  Almost.  If I scuba dived.

Cold Water in Blue Hole

Cold Water in Blue Hole

Another thing that makes it bearable, is altitude.  (It turns out my car’s GPS does have an altimeter, after all.  Wish I’d noticed it on my last trip to the Rocky Mountains, where I was gauging altitude by how short of breath I was.)  By the time I hit 6,000 feet above sea level, Santa Fe, in other words, it was a bit cooler and a lot livelier.  So.  I had two or three days, depending on an incomplete arrangement, to explore the land of enchantment.

First up, the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway loop around the mountains above Taos.  It was by (fortunate) chance that I chose to drive the loop clockwise that Sunday, since there was some sort of mountain bike event and dozens of bikers were taking it counter-clockwise.  Nine or ten thousand feet above sea level –  I don’t know how they do it.  (A couple of them looked like they were wondering if they could do it.)  My car didn’t care for the altitude, either.  The capless fuel flap didn’t want to give.  Thank you, kind station attendant!

P1000309I knew I wanted to visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Angel Fire. (See this post.)

And this.San Francisco de Assissi Mission Church in Rancho de Taos

And then I thought I’d stop at the Rio Grande Visitor Center on my way back to Santa Fe, but I made a wrong turn and ended up here.

Ojo Calientes

Facing this,

One lane bridge

One lane bridge

and, nearby, Bears Again

Seriously.  Bears, again?

Actually, it wasn’t bears that scared me away.

New Mexico Museum of Art

New Mexico Museum of Art

I stuck to Santa Fe proper on Monday and saw the most amazing “painting” made of found things (think Forrest’s Holiday Ornament Contest) in the New Mexico Museum of Art.  Pansy Stockton  (1895 – 1972) used things like bark, moss, twigs, and so forth and created beautiful images that from a distance looked finely painted.  The one on display was of a waterfall, and the milkweed silk gleamed perfectly as falling water.

Pirates

Pirates – Captain Hawkes Sets Sail

Bronze Elk

As I played tourist, I scouted for parking for the evening event at La Fonda, remembering the difficulty I’d had on my first visit to Santa Fe.

Miracle Stairway

Miracle Stairway

Monday evening was the book signing and the chance to meet some fellow treasure seekers, one of whom brought a box of fabulous French pastries to share!

La Fonda Blaze

La Fonda Blaze

Arrangements fell into place for Tuesday evening, so I had the day to explore more of the mountains north of Santa Fe.

66,000 Links North of Santa Fe

66,000 Links North of Santa Fe

Audubon Primitive Fat Tire Trail Etiquette

In particular, the Ski Basin and the Audubon park.

Bold BoulderIn the WoodsRock BandTrail Marker

National Forest

And then, when it was time to head home, I saw the blaze.

Morning Blaze Over Santa Fe

Morning Blaze Over Santa Fe