The Drive of October 20, 2012

If you are a regular reader to my blog, you read the Chronicles of October 19, 2012 (Parts I, II, and II).

Well, the very next day we decided to go on a longer drive.  Specifically, to the top of the Continental Divide at Cottonwood Pass, and then on to one of the so-called Ghost Towns, St. Elmo.

To get there, we take the same route I drive every morning to get to work . . . down I-25, through Old Colorado City, through Manitu Springs, and up Ute Pass to Woodland Park.  Except we keep going . . . well, first we stop to get some doughnuts at The Donut Mill to shore up on the snack we already have.  Then we keep going, past Wilkerson Pass.

The reason I mention Wilkerson Pass is that I don’t feel I have left “home” until we get through there, and descend down where the antelopes forage.  We head to Buena Vista, gateway to the Cottonwood Pass . . . but before we head up, we stop for a hearty breakfast at a small cafe in Buena Vista.

Sated, and with a host of snacks more or less intact, we head up toward the top of the pass.


Yes, there be scenery a plenty . . . which, of course, slows our drive since some old fool insists on taking photos.




I particularly like the looks of the naked aspens, their branches set in suggestive poses.


Look at the above photo . . . that one aspen is leaning over to hug the other, while two more are extending their arms to join them.  On the left, almost running, two more are rushing toward the group, branches outstretched, eager to join the group hug.  Sheesh!  Get a room, why don’t you!

Actually, I like the aspens for the gray contrast they offer to the surrounding evergreens.


Wait . . . this is Cottonwood Pass . . .

I like the Cottonwoods for the gray contrast they offer to the surrounding evergreens.


“Dammit, readers! I’m an engineer, not a dendrologist!”

“I don’t know nothin’ ’bout identifying trees!”

Bottom line, I think some are aspens and some are cottonwoods, and I ain’t about to lift any bark to check which is which.

I do know about taking the color out of something.


20121020_1_DSC2898-Topaz 20121020_1_DSC2897 20121020_1_DSC2898_onOne

Just different treatments . . . mainly to pass the time until we get near the top of the pass.


Yes, that is another panorama.  It is the view looking East, taken from one of the pull-outs near the top of the pass . . . again, you should be able to click on it, and get the full sized one, with lots of details, but in case WordPress is still screwing up, here is the link:

The above is a panorama made up of about six landscape photos.  This next one is made up from either four or five portrait photographs.


And here’s the link for the above if clicking on it does not work:

This next photo is the view from the top of the pass, right at the Continental Divide, looking West.


What? . . . you want a panorama?  Sure!


And the link:

That’s a nice view up there, but it was pretty windy and cold.




Here’s proof of where we went (unless I Photoshopped it):


Here’s a photo of the road heading East again, this time from the very top of the pass:


And here is a panorama of it:


And that was it.  We headed back down, and made our way to St. Elmo.  As it was getting late, I did not stop to take any photos along the fairly scenic, but not spectacular, drive there.

St. Elmo was disappointing; it’s not so much a ghost town as the summer residence for a number of people, all wrapped around the idea of a ghost town.

20121020_1_DSC2935_DxO-2The problem is that it looks staged.

20121020_1_DSC2937Perhaps if it looked more like this . . . .

20121020_1_DSC2935_DxO. . . and this . . .


But instead, it looked like this . . . 


And this . . . 


Now, I admit there were some interesting things to photograph . . . 



That looked hand-drawn.
That looked hand-drawn.

20121020_1_DSC2993 20121020_1_DSC2978 20121020_1_DSC2984 20121020_1_DSC2987 20121020_1_DSC2989 20121020_1_DSC2991

However, as much as I enjoyed snapping photos, the place did not match my mental image of a ghost town.  All of the buildings are owned by someone, all of them are locked up, all of them are habitable (other than barns and stuff), and people live there at least for part of the year.

But, like I said, I enjoyed snapping photographs.  Photographs that can be seen in all their glory in the associated SmugMug gallery (HERE).






I did get a few decent photos of a Stellar Jay.



One thing I especially liked . . . the old iron bridge over the creek.




But, finally, and not that long into our visit, it was time to head out.  On the way out I stopped to get a few photos of the cascades we had passed on the way in.




There are a few more photos in the associated SmugMug gallery (HERE) for them inclined to visit it.

BUT WAIT . . . . 

We got home just in time for this . . . 20121020_1_DSC3053



All things considered, another pretty good day . . . which is finally part of a semi-permanent record.

If you enjoyed this moment, found the photos inspiring, found the description to be an easy form of learning, and the writing clever and full of mirth, feel free to share it.  However, if you hated the whole thing, and consider it a waste of time . . . why, then, it’s the perfect thing to forward to people you do not like!  It will serve them right!

Wrinkles in the Fabric of Fear
Wrinkles in the Fabric of Fear

Astute persons might have noticed these doodles, and correctly surmised they hold some significance for me, and perhaps for humanity at large.  If said astute person is curious about them, click on it for an explanation of their origin.

WordPress is still screwing around with trying to be a class operation.  As such, while they busily work to add features and themes I will never use, they are remiss in fixing problems like disappearing links.  So, if you click on the doodle, and nothing happens, this is the link it’s supposed to go to:  Note . . . there is no guarantee WordPress will keep this as a link, but at least you can copy it and paste it on a browser’s address field.


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. . .  my FP ward  . . . chieken shit.