A peek at South Park ~

For yesterday’s drive I skirted Denver on the west side and took U.S. Hwy. 285 over to Kenosha Pass and down to South Park. I’d been keen to see this part of Colorado ever since I read a magazine writer’s comment that, though he’d been many places in the world, the view down across South Park from the pass was his favorite. Not ever having watched the animated series “South Park,” I didn’t know that it was named after a real place. (There is also a North Park, northwest of Rocky Mountain National Park.) The designation “park” here refers to a broad plateau or basin ringed by mountains.

I stopped to eat lunch at Fairplay, then took state route 9 up through Alma (10,578 feet elev.), and over Hoosier Pass (as it turns out, there are two Hoosier Passes in Colorado, both of them—I presume—originally sited in Indiana, then trucked west and greatly enlarged). A series of hairpin turns on the other side of the pass takes you down to Breckinridge. There were still golden-leafed aspens along 285 east of Kenosha Pass and in Breckinridge; elsewhere, the aspens were mostly bare. Given the abundance of stands on the slopes, it must have looked spectacular a couple of weeks ago. Now I know an ideal driving route for seeing the fall colors in Colorado.

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A patch of prairie ~

These photos were taken at the Cathy Fromme Prairie Natural Area, just south of Fort Collins, Colo. This acreage, which has never been plowed, is bounded by two major roads to the east and west and by housing developments to the east and north. It’s lovely country, but the traffic noise is omnipresent. When I had walked about 15 minutes, it began thundering persistently, so I backtracked to the parking area. I didn’t get photos of the many flowers still in bloom, many of them very small and easy to overlook.

Aspens ~

Yesterday I took my sister for a 7-hour drive to see the aspens in their fall colors. We drove from Loveland to Boulder, up Boulder Canyon, down the Peak-to-Peak Highway, up Hwy. 40 to Granby, up Hwy. 34 to Rocky Mountain National Park, and across Trail Ridge Road. We didn’t stop for photos very often, but here are a few.

Pond eddy ~

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Taken at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s 2017 orchid show. Olympus OM-D EM10 II with 30 mm macro lens (60 equivalent). I recently acquired this 4:3 mirror-less camera (which somehow stands up under the burden of that absurd series of letters and numbers), and so far I absolutely love it. It’s lightweight and small, which is a boon for my tendinitis-weakened wrists, but it seems to perform as well as my Pentax K-50. Best of all, you can shoot just by touching the LCD screen where you want the sharpest focus to be. No, Olympus didn’t pay me to praise this camera. What a shame! Next up: Orchids! Lots of ’em.

Another green world no. 2 ~

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This ethereal vine, which looks like some sort of fairy fern, is growing in profusion outside of our public library. Anyone know what it is?

iPhone photo. “Another green world” is from Brian Eno’s classic album of that name. It just occurred to me that he might have borrowed that title from a literary work, but a quick Google search isn’t turning up anything.

Intermission: An afternoon in the Cache River area ~

Water ripple, swamp near Cypress Creek Visitors Center, Perks, Illinois

Water ripple, swamp near Cypress Creek Visitors Center, Perks, Illinois

With luck, I’ll wrap up the Big Trip series this week. This afternoon was a rare day for Southern Illinois: low seventies, sunny, not very humid. Too nice to stay indoors. The shot above was taken from a boardwalk just south of the Cypress Creek Visitors Center. Pentax K-50, 100mm macro lens.