Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Sangre de Cristo Sunrise - Light Conquers Darkness

Sangre de Cristo sunrise

Winter nights in the high country are obscure, eternal and inclement and the inkwell of black firmament is glittered with a profusion of silver pinpoints that contradict the startling silence. It’s a beautifully eerie combination of contentment and discomfort.

Down in southern Colorado, there’s a mountain range that’s as rugged as it is remote. Rising out of a desert situation, the chain of needle-sharp peaks extends all the way into New Mexico, transporting its picturesque allure across state lines.

The mountains are called Blood of Christ and if you ever witness a Sangre de Cristo sunrise, you’ll understand why. Just before dawn, the first solar rays are reflected off of snowy summits, creating a rosy alpenglow that astonishes the retina.

The steady transformation unfolds even more dramatically when a setting, full moon shines brightly in a purple sky. The crimson sierras come into full relief as the forceful contrast between light and shadow defines the surreal shapes.

After the pinkish atmosphere gradually dissolves, a basin full of life begins to emerge. Cattle graze peacefully in a swale of vast grassland while a herd of mule deer gather around a pleasant reflection pond.

Making the trek to explore a region untainted by progress is a much need respite from complicated circumstances. Morning in the Wet Mountain Valley demonstrates an observable truth - even during times of turmoil, light conquers darkness.

Winter nights are eternal

Full moon shines brightly

Beautifully eerie

Extending to New Mexico

Rosey alpenglow

Picturesque allure

Needle-sharp peaks

Surreal shapes

Forceful contrast

Blood of Christ

The transformation unfolds

A peaceful swale

The atmosphere dissolves

A basin full of life

A pleasant reflection pond

Morning in the valley

Light conquers darkness

Friday, November 13, 2020

Bishop Castle - Not for the Faint of Heart

Bishop Castle

Rising out of Colorado’s remote Wet Mountain Range, Bishop Castle is a royal symbol of hard work, creativity and perseverance. Jim Bishop began building this unfinished, medieval fantasyland 60 years ago while using nearby rock and timber so the fortress blends neatly into the local environment.

The scary keep is designed to shoot straight skyward as a labyrinth of stone and iron ascends to dizzying heights. Not for the faint of heart, a strenuous climb up a spiral staircase is required to reach the summit of this monster house.

Once you reach the top, vertigo sets in and things begin to sway as intermittent gusts of cold air make your balance unsteady. The acrophobic experience is exacerbated by open windows, suspension bridges, exposed ledges and sketchy railings but the views are incredible.

Back down in the lower bowels of the austere bastion, a grand ballroom is illuminated by a series of beautiful stained-glass windows. Interesting details can be found throughout the citadel, enticing visitors to explore every nook and cranny.

From the outside looking up, the sheer scale of the structure begins to sink in, making you feel thankful to have both feet on the ground. The most fascinating piece is the fierce dragon that guards entry into this magical kingdom. Armed with a steely gaze, the silver serpent warns all who dare to approach - ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!

Rising out of the Wet Mountains

An austere bastion

Grand ballroom

A silver serpent

Spiral staircase

Stained-glass windows

Enter at your own risk

Vertigo sets in

Incredible views

Acrophobic experience

Monster house

Medieval Fantasyland

A scary keep

A labyrinth of stone and iron

A royal symbol