Thursday, December 22, 2016

Colorado National Monument, CO (12/20/2016)

I've had in mind for a while now to visit the "Monument" when there was snow on the ground.  With not much to do on Tuesday, I decided this might be a good time.  My impression from the TV weather was that Grand Junction had received more snow than Montrose, and we still had quite a bit on the ground.  Unfortunately, after driving 65 miles, I was a little disappointed to find less snow remained than I had hoped for.  Still, as long as I was there, you know I would go ahead and drive the rim road. For the most part,the photos will speak for themselves.


In all my visits here, I've bypassed the signs to "Glade Park Store" on a road that leaves the park.  This day, however, it was past my lunch time and I decided to visit the store in hopes of getting a little nourishment.  Five miles and I was there, on top of the plateau amid quite a few homes and ranches.  I never expected such a community.  The nice lady in the store offered to microwave a cheese-steak sandwich, which I shared with her little dog, Emma.  The lady told me the store had been there since 1907, but that she had "only" been running it for 25 years.  The CocaCola box must have been there much longer, I haven't seen one like it for years.

She mentioned that the man across the street was somewhat eccentric, and that he was spending the winter in Steinhatchee, FL (a place well known to me).  Before leaving, I took a couple photos of his house and some of the unusual things in the yard.  The observatory was very impressive, but I wonder why the stairs are outside.

Back to the Rim Road drive.

I also made a video of the drive through the park, which can be seen at Rim Road Drive

Monday, December 19, 2016

Montrose, CO (12/17 & 12/18/2016)

Another winter storm came through Friday night and into Saturday morning, dropping up to twenty inches of snow in the mountains, but only 5-6 inches here in the valley.  As soon as the roads were clear, I got out to take a few photos around town, starting with my street.

The adobe hills looked like giant snow drifts.  Surprisingly, I found the trail of someone who drove into the hills without the benefit of a snow plow.  It would be interesting to know the outcome of this adventure, one that I would be unwilling to attempt.

I particularly enjoyed the homes and ranches with Christmas decorations, all the more attractive in the snow.

I started to drive toward Black Canyon, only to find more snow on the road than I was willing to deal with.  Still, I got high enough to get a couple photos.
Back in Montrose, the ducks were enjoying the icy waters of an irrigation canal, and the historic buildings at the Museum of The American West were enhanced by the blanket of snow.

Sunday was a brilliantly sunny day, with a temperature of 22F in Montrose.  Once again, I headed for Black Canyon to check out the canyon walls covered with snow.  The road was open only to the visitor center, with the rest of the road reserved for cross-country skiing.  Trails in the park are available for snow-shoe hiking, and I spotted one couple putting snow-shoes on before taking a hike. Even without snow-shoes, I was able to walk to a couple overlooks, glad that I had worn my waterproof boots.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Ridgway & Placerville, CO (12/11/2016)

We are currently enjoying a "warm" spell sandwiched between cold spells.  The "polar air masses" shown on TV lately have mostly passed to the north of us, dropping snow in the Denver area but not here.   In fact, most of our snow here in the valley has melted, although the surrounding "high country" still has a nice coating.

One of the places I go for sunsets is a large adobe mesa on the edge of town, strangely enough known as Sunset Mesa.  The mesa is home to about a dozen soccer fields, several baseball fields and  basketball courts, hiking trails, communication towers, a cemetery known as Grand View, several businesses and homes, as well as a lot of vacant land.  In other words, this is a large piece of land with a good view of town and the nearby mountains.  Even when the sunset doesn't cooperate, good scenes can still be found.


 More than a week since any day trip, I felt the need to get out, no matter what the conditions, so I jumped in the LRJ and headed south.  I drove through Ridgway and on to the tiny village of Placerville.  This route skirts around the northern edge of the San Juan range, which was totally covered in clouds, some of them very interesting.

 Taking a short side trip on Last Dollar Road, I was seeing the snow up close and personal.

Back on track, I reached Placerville in only a few minutes and pulled onto Front Street.  Although I've driven through here many times, this was the first time of actually going into the "main street" of the town.  Founded in the late 1800s as a mining camp, the town's buildings reflect that time period.  The more modern homes are scattered along the San Miguel River and on the mountainsides that form the valley.

The river has a lot of ice and snow along its banks.

The pond in the county park is also frozen, but the sign declares "Thin Ice".  I'm not sure how the ring of snow on the ice got there, since the ice won't support any significant weight yet.
On my way home, I snapped a few more of the San Juans.

Once again, we had one of those incredible sunsets that seem to color the entire sky.  Almost every direction had a great view.