Saturday, May 27, 2017

Elk Ridge - Scenic Splendor

Elk Ridge, Colorado

The morning after a mid-May snowstorm, Elk Ridge is a pristine landscape rising above untouched territory. Breaking trail through drifts of deep snow impedes progress but on this day there is no rush to reach the top.

Frosted Bergen Peak looms over the white meadow where a grove of green aspen accentuates the scenic splendor. Blue shadows undulate across a frozen surface that blankets the rugged earth buried so far below.

While trudging along the edge of the dark woodland, tall pine trees release a deluge of icy snowmelt. Drenched from head to toe, the wanderer in this wilderness is bound to get wet and chilled to the bone.

By late afternoon, the warm sun has begun to release the foothills from the weakening grip of the season's last winter storm. Truly, it shouldn't come as a surprise because this unusual pattern has become an annual event.

It seems outrageous to be experiencing such inclement weather at this time but the snow will not last long. Believe it or not, in a couple of days you won't even be able to tell it snowed at all because it will have vanished into thin air.

A pristine landscape

Deep snow

Bergen Peak looms over the white meadow

Blue shadows

Along the edge of a dark woodland

Tall pines release snowmelt

Warm sun in the foothills

An annual event

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Holladay Nature Preserve - Dreary Days

Wallace F Holladay Nature Preserve

Occupying a rural greenbelt on the outskirts of Indianapolis, Holladay Nature Preserve features a diverse variety of trees and birdlife. Surrounded by a deciduous forest, a small pond is the sparkling centerpiece.

Continuous rainfall has cleansed the dense woodland, saturating the Spring landscape with a glossy sheen. During such a downpour, the brown creek rushes steadily through a rolling meadow.

In the field below a weathered, red barn and a broken-down silo, yellow flowers form a nice border. Nearby, the abundant foliage becomes a tangled mass that's tremendous in both height and width.

Despite being drenched during the remarkable deluge, resilient songbirds keep chirping with an infectious optimism. After a few, dreary days spent in the heartland of Indiana, it's nice to finally see the sun.

A diverse variety of trees

A small pond is the centerpiece

A cleansed woodland

A Spring landscape

A rolling meadow

A red barn and a broken-down silo

Abundant foliage

Tremendous height and width

It's nice to see the sun

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Spring Storm - South Table Mountain

South Table Mountain

"You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes." ~ Alexandre Dumas

The desolate landscape on top of South Table Mountain is a bleak outlook, troubled under a murky, Spring sky. On this great, windswept plateau, trees are scarce and the sting from abundant cactus is too painful to recount.

Dark skies unveil a curtain of cold rain that soaks all who dare to trespass on this depressing domain. The merciless breeze is a dogged companion that's unsympathetic to a yearning for more cheerful times.

The muddy road leading home is a lonely trek serenaded by the melancholy chorus of field crickets and meadow larks. Just like the turbulent weather experienced on this dismal day, life is a storm.

A desolate landscape

A troubled sky

Trees are scarce

A painful sting

Yearning for cheerful times

A lonely trek

Turbulent weather

Life is a storm

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Warren Woods - A Fairytale Forest

Warren Woods, Indiana

Situated in central Indiana, Warren Woods is a fairytale-like forest bursting with lush greenery and blue flowers. A little, brown creek flows peacefully through the heart of a deciduous bird dwelling.

An amazing variety of calls can be heard, sung by the canopy's unseen inhabitants. The noisy chatter is a bit comforting for the new visitor as the happy chorus permeates an eerie atmosphere.

Lingering gray skies are evidence of recent thunderstorms whose heavy rainfall has drenched the dark Woodland. The soggy trails are a flooded mess, splattering mud with every step.

Encamped in Eastern Territory for the first time, I'm inspired by the lovely landscape and all of the birds, trees and water. It’s a temperate climate with a humidity that’s as warm as a blanket.

After a few days exploring the flatlands, it’s time to leave. Upon our return to the high country West, we're welcomed by 15 inches of wet snow - it's great to be home.

A fairytale forest

Lush greenery and blue flowers

A little, brown creek

An eerie atmosphere

A dark woodland

Birds, trees and water

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Colorado National Monument - Austere Beauty

Colorado National Monument

Out in western Colorado, the steep, northern wall of the Uncompahgre Plateau falls away into the Grand Valley of the Colorado River. Erosion has shredded this leading edge of orange sandstone, designing a labyrinth of extraordinary canyons.

Wind, water, ice and an infinite amount of time have combined forces to create a natural sculpture garden in the high desert. From the lofty Grand View Overlook, the floor below is decorated with rock chimneys, arches, spires, towers and coke ovens.

Granted special status in 1911, Colorado National Monument preserves a unique piece of the American West and protects a surprising variety of wildlife. Desert bighorns, bobcats, coyotes, mountain lions, lizards, rattlesnakes and rock wrens are a few of the species who call this place home.

During an evening hike on the heels of a passing Spring storm, beams of soft light come streaming through the steel-gray clouds. While following a broken trail that skirts the chasm’s rim, Monument Canyon is the main attraction but the distant Book Cliffs and Grand Mesa are impressive as well.

Ute Canyon is a secluded tributary that offers plenty of peace and quiet. At this section of the park, the deep gorge narrows and sheer cliffs rise from a rugged thoroughfare of scrub greenery such as cacti, yucca, pinyon pine, Utah juniper and sagebrush.

The exquisite scenery found out here near Grand Junction is the perfect prelude to the surreal landscape that sits across the border in eastern Utah. Some may think this region is a desolate hell-on-earth but it has an austere beauty that can only be found in such a stark wilderness.

The plateau falls away

Erosion has shredded the plateau's edge

A labyrinth of canyons

A natural sculpture garden

Chimneys, towers and spires

A unique piece of the West

A passing storm

Soft light streaming through gray clouds

Broken trail on the chasm's rim

Impressive views

Secluded Ute Canyon

A thoroughfare of scrub greenery

Exquisite scenery

Austere beauty