Sunday, September 9, 2012

Browns Canyon, Part I

Had a tremendous opportunity on Saturday to hike to Browns Canyon near Salida with a group from Sierra Club and Wild Connections.  The area is being considered for protection as part of a National Monument and Wilderness, and I was looking forward to seeing it firsthand.

We made good time on the drive from Denver to our arranged meeting place at the Sands Lake State Wildlife Area, where it was clear that the weather was going to be gorgeous.

My carpool companion, Rosemary, was a big hit with several geese despite her protests that she had no food for them.

We soon learned why when a gentleman came by and proceeded to feed one of the geese by hand.  He told us the goose was the "grandfather" of the bunch, and now that the bird had gotten older the others would steal bread from him given the opportunity.

To add injury to insult the goose had also been shot through the neck, though the wound was almost healed over now.

When the rest of the group arrived we consolidated our cars and headed about 10 miles to the old mining town of Turret to start the hike.  I don't believe the concrete pad was part of the original construction on the old schoolhouse.

Although the warm temperatures indicated that summer was still the season, the impending onset of fall was clearly evident in the yellowing leaves.

Our path descended gently through a gulch to an impressive view of a sandstone formation known as The Reef with the Sawatch Range in the distance.

In an area that's normally hot and dry anyway, I wondered if the grasses and flowers had died off any earlier this year in a summer that was even hotter and drier than normal.

The sky was gorgeous -- bright blue with just enough clouds to add some visual interest.

There wasn't much evidence of the area's mining past.  One exception was this sealed tunnel.

There was also fencing that likely marked the boundary of an old grazing allotment.  I'm not sure I would want to rely on this country to provide sustenance for my cattle.

Click here for Part II.

No comments: