Arkansas River Canyon Conceived in some of Colorado’s highest country, the Arkansas River rushes down through its namesake valley. Upon leaving the state, it continues an incredible journey across the southern plains until its confluence with the Mississippi River. Near Cañon City, at one of its most volatile sections, the Arkansas’ whitewater rapids are threaded through a chasm of devastating beauty. The timeless crevice is sliced out of red earth and its jagged, rock walls are defined by eternal shadows of violet-blue. While wandering up to the rim of this royal gorge, a satanic sun scorches the savage landscape. The devil’s domain is a vicious mixture of greasewood, cactus, yucca and sagebrush brewed in a cauldron of fire. Upon reaching the cliff edge, the true elevation becomes an awesome reality whose dizzying concept is difficult to comprehend. The tiny ribbon of blue, winding its way through a graveyard of broken spires and collapsed structures, seems so far away. Descend
Showing posts from September, 2020
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"Ghost Horse" Colored Pencil Floating out of an eerie windbreak, a white apparition confronts the viewer face-to-face. It’s a piercing dawn in the Sandhills as the ghost horse haunts a prairie hacienda. The pale wraith is peaceful and harmless as it drifts through a moat of tall grass. Trying to bridle him in, a rough-hewn stockade is suggested by an irregular grid of interlocking, geometric shapes. Defined by a steel-blue shadow, the phantom’s head is the portrait of simplicity. His shaggy, winter robe is conveyed by the purest of white with touches of cool gray smudged into the shape. With the rapid rise of technology, automation and manufacturing, we creep ever closer to becoming the ultimate, urban civilization. It’s heartening to come home to western Nebraska where vast tracts of ranch land scenery can still be found, summoning the resilient spirit of the Old West.
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Helms Lake Ensconced in the granite bowl of a spectacular gorge, Helms Lake is an aqueous repository of visually stunning scenery. The soaring tarn lies tacitly above tree line but still far below a fortress of towering peaks. The difficult journey to this remarkable, alpine refuge begins in a forest of lodgepole pine and progresses through tremendous groves of radiant aspen. A cascade of icy snowmelt traces the trail and the comforting sound of rushing water placates the soul. It’s a dim aurora as the morning light yearns to infiltrate the dense interior of the primeval wilderness. The diverse geography is a succession of tiered plateaus creating a grand staircase that culminates in a basin of otherworldly beauty. While straining upward through different life zones, the tenacious trees gradually become more stunted and twisted before suddenly giving way to a glorious tundra. A maze of willows insulates the remote reservoir, creating a buffer between a rugged world and smooth wate