Saturday, July 11, 2020

Bergen Gulch - A Discreet Wetland

Bergen Gulch

Settled below the southern slopes of Bergen Peak, Bergen Gulch is a discreet wetland that supports flowers, birds and wildlife. This time of year the cattails are beginning to ripen and the lupine are in full bloom so blackbirds and elk engage in a territorial dispute over the bountiful land.

Filling the discreet ravine, the large-leaved lupine are massive plants whose ladder-like blossoms climb towards the sky. The hungry wapiti are anything but gentle as they tromp through the purple field, consuming a huge swath in a single sitting.

The little red-wings have fledged so while they’re learning to fly, their protective parents aggressively dive-bomb anyone who happens to wander into the area. The conglomeration of chickadees, juncos and nuthatches is small but noisy as the busy birds scour the ponderosa pine for anything edible.

Branching off from Bergen Peak’s most beautiful side, the muddy drainage, depending on the season, varies from a trickle to a deluge. The small valley is surrounded by steep hills, littered with fallen logs and broken by rocky ground, making nimble footing a necessity.

After the chaos of completing another week, the serenity from spending time in nature is sought but there is difficulty finding somewhere secluded. During the summer, when the main parks are occupied by lots of people, this place always seems to be pretty quiet.

Southern slopes of Bergen Peak

A discreet wetland

Lupine are in full bloom


Massive plants

Ladder-like blossoms

Elk territory

Bountiful land

Hungry wapiti

Spending time in nature

In a purple field

The place is pretty quiet

Consuming a huge swath

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Summer Light and Shadows - A Somber Vignette

Summer light and shadows

During this season, when the weather is warmer and the days are longer, the foothills landscape is defined by distinctive summer light and shadows. Evenings are particularly special because beams from the setting sun pilfer through cloud congregations, resulting in a rather dramatic effect.

At dusk, the mountains turn blue and the trees in the meadow, before casting long shadows across the undulating field, are traced by a luminance that glows. Delicate wildflowers become translucent when their obscure niche is struck by the fading radiance.

Sunsets at the lake are magnificent because now water, which reflects the glorious scenery, has been added into the equation, expanding your viewing pleasure. The peaceful ambiance becomes even more soothing when the rain settles in and, rather than induce melancholy, the muted atmosphere germinates solutions to perplexing problems.

The blossom garden is bursting with optimism as the wind-blown flowers dance joyfully across the preserve of fresh greenery. The gorgeous grounds are a cheerful place to linger because ebullient portraits can be composed from out of the darkness of a somber vignette.

The weather is warmer

Fading radiance

Distinctive light and shadows

Delicate wildflowers

Forest dawn

Evenings are special

Beams pilfer through clouds

A dramatic effect

Bursting with optimism

An obscure niche

Dancing joyfully

An ebullient portrait

Blossom garden

Blue mountains

Peaceful ambiance

Gorgeous grounds

A cheerful place

Glorious scenery

Traced by luminance

Viewing pleasure

Soothing rain

Muted atmosphere

Induced melancholy

A somber vignette

Fresh wildflowers


Saturday, June 20, 2020

Roxborough State Park - Garden of Providence

Roxborough State Park

Situated at a geological flash point where the prairie meets the mountains, Roxborough State Park is a study in contrast between shapes, textures and colors. Sharing space in this rare environment, smooth, angular, red rocks shoot skyward from out of a bed of broken, nebulous, green scrub-brush.

The spectacular esplanade is positioned below the Front Range on a narrow plateau overlooking the South Platte River wetlands. A long string of jagged peaks recedes into the distance and fuses with a solid plate of brilliant, blue sky.

During the summer, sweltering heat is stifled by a taut breeze that gusts through a labyrinth of dense woodland, open meadows and vermillion spires. The isolated Eden is unpopulated by human presence and it is mostly deserted except for a plethora of butterflies, a few deer and a pair of hawks circling overhead.

The highlight of the preserve is a deep chasm named Fountain Valley where the inspiring views from an overlook are expansive. Once inside the slender gorge, sandstone towers surround the hiker, cutting off any connection with the outside world.

Long, blue shadows define the rocks’ surreal shapes in the low, morning light. Down in the lower end of the canyon, near the historic Henry Persse Ranch, an incredible formation is called Washington Rock because it looks exactly like George Washington’s profile!

Willow Creek is a diminutive gulch that drains this natural city of crimson crags and leads the visitor back down to a tamed grassland. Similar landscapes along the corridor are known as Garden of the Gods and Garden of Angels but after my experience in this Garden of Providence, I’ve discovered it to be just as divine.

Prairie meets the mountains

A study in contrasts

An isolated Eden

A rare environment

A long string of jagged peaks

A spectacular esplanade

Sandstone towers

Crimson crags

Washington Rock

Fountain Valley

A narrow plateau

Surreal shapes

Labyrinth of dense woodland

Garden of Providence