Sunday, September 9, 2012

Browns Canyon, Part II

Click here for Part I.

I'm not sure exactly what my expectations were for the vista that would meet us at the end of the hike.  But the view when we reached the rim of the canyon definitely exceeded them.

The landscape was simply stunning, combining some of the best elements of National Parks like Black Canyon of the Gunnison and Arches.

Our group enjoyed a relaxing lunch, and also got to learn about some of the conservation projects being worked on around the state.

Have I used the word "breathtaking" yet to describe the scenery?  No?  Well, the view to the west was exactly that.

I hope I can eventually see all the natural beauty in this amazing state.  But I also hope I have a lot more gems like this to discover before I do.

White Mountain and Mount Antero provide a beautiful backdrop for a hoodoo that would still be pretty impressive without them.

One member of our group found some pottery shards, which were passed around with great interest for everyone to examine.

Hike leader and Central Colorado Wilderness Coalition director John Stansfield pointed out an interesting tree stump on the way back, almost as if he knew my affinity for taking pictures of dead wood.

A few wildflowers were still clinging to their petals, like this tansy aster.

Some predator had themselves quite a meal, then elegantly laid out the clean bones on a table of rock.

The hike was only about six miles long, but our pace was an obvious indication that none of us were in much of a hurry for it to end.  More than five hours after we began we were back at the trailhead, where a fading Gaillardia aristata awaited our return.

Senator Mark Udall is gauging public interest in protecting Browns Canyon.  You can learn more about the issues on the Friends of Browns Canyon web site.  If you see enough there and in these pictures to feel that this area should be protected, please let Senator Udall know.  If not, I urge you to check out the area for yourself.  It's just a three-hour drive from Denver, and well worth the trip!