Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak
"Spacious Skies"

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Bad Lands Gallery - South Dakota


I visited the Badlands of South Dakota in July and it is a vast wonderment of rocks, cliffs and boulders with a endless blue sky. 
According to Lakota legend, the Badlands were the site of a battle between the unktehi, a race of monsters, and Wakinyan, the Thunderbird. The unktehi, who lived in the primordial waters from which the Earth emerged, caused devastating floods that endangered the human race. (Another version of the legend attributes the flooding to Uncegila, a water serpent.) Angered by the loss of his worshipers, Thunderbird sent down bolts of lightning that dried up the floodwaters and killed the unktehi. Their bones were scattered throughout the Badlands, where they can still be found.
The Thunderbird is said to be an enormous bird-like creature with legendary strength and power. They govern the weather – their voice is thunder and lightening flashes from their eyes.

Hearts of a Dragon at Fort Matanzas Beach and Other Tales

Fort Matanzas Park includes a beautiful unspoiled beach of white sand dunes that are protected so wildlife can dwell in their natural habitat.  Dragonflies were everywhere flying along the walkway.  They behaved like miniature planes landing on tips of branches with their wings pointed upward.  I never saw so many dragonflies in one place.  A Dragonfly is suppose to have the heart of a dragon.   The Desolation of Smaug is a new movie coming out in December.  I wonder if Smaug has the heart of a dragonfly?  Dragons appear in many folklores, legends and children books.

Watercolor by J.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit

In Tolkien’s fantasy world, Middle-earth, is populated with creatures that owe much to the literary tradition of northern Europe.  A Professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, Tolkien had an expert knowledge of this tradition. In the year he drew this watercolor, he wrote: ‘A dragon is no idle fancy. Whatever may be his origins, in fact or invention, the dragon in legend is a potent creation of men’s imagination, richer in significance than his barrow is in gold.’

This vibrant illustration is one of a set of five, painted by Tolkien in the summer of 1937 for the first American edition of The Hobbit. It is full of vivid details, including the Arkenstone gleaming on top of the treasure trove, the skeletons of those who had attempted previous thefts, and a curse written in Elvish script on the large amphora. A feast for children's eyes!


By Ogden Nash 1936

Belinda lived in a little white house,
With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse,
And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon,
And a realio, trulio, little pet dragon.
Now the name of the little black kitten was Ink,
And the little gray mouse, she called her Blink,
And the little yellow dog was sharp as Mustard,
But the dragon was a coward, and she called him Custard.
Custard the dragon had big sharp teeth,
And spikes on top of him and scales underneath,
Mouth like a fireplace, chimney for a nose,
And realio, trulio, daggers on his toes.
Belinda was as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chased lions down the stairs,
Mustard was as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard cried for a nice safe cage.
Belinda tickled him, she tickled him unmerciful,
Ink, Blink and Mustard, they rudely called him Percival,
They all sat laughing in the little red wagon
At the realio, trulio, cowardly dragon.
Belinda giggled till she shook the house,
And Blink said Week!, which is giggling for a mouse,
Ink and Mustard rudely asked his age,
When Custard cried for a nice safe cage.
Suddenly, suddenly they heard a nasty sound,
And Mustard growled, and they all looked around.
Meowch! cried Ink, and Ooh! cried Belinda,
For there was a pirate, climbing in the winda.
Pistol in his left hand, pistol in his right,
And he held in his teeth a cutlass bright,
His beard was black, one leg was wood;
It was clear that the pirate meant no good.
Belinda paled, and she cried, Help! Help!
But Mustard fled with a terrified yelp,
Ink trickled down to the bottom of the household,
And little mouse Blink strategically mouseholed.
But up jumped Custard, snorting like an engine,
Clashed his tail like irons in a dungeon,
With a clatter and a clank and a jangling squirm
He went at the pirate like a robin at a worm.
The pirate gaped at Belinda's dragon,
And gulped some grog from his pocket flagon,
He fired two bullets but they didn't hit,
And Custard gobbled him, every bit.
Belinda embraced him, Mustard licked him,
No one mourned for his pirate victim
Ink and Blink in glee did gyrate
Around the dragon that ate the pyrate.
Belinda still lives in her little white house,
With her little black kitten and her little gray mouse,
And her little yellow dog and her little red wagon,
And her realio, trulio, little pet dragon.
Belinda is as brave as a barrel full of bears,
And Ink and Blink chase lions down the stairs,
Mustard is as brave as a tiger in a rage,
But Custard keeps crying for a nice safe cage.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Baker Gulch Trail at Never Summer Range Wilderness

I like hiking trails that follow a creek or mountain stream and crossing nature made bridges of logs and rocks.  That is an accurate description of Baker Gulch Trail at Never Summer Range Wilderness.  Everyday it rained in the Rockies and thrice we were caught in a hail storm.  The further up we climbed, the temperature dropped and an approaching rain storm would result in a hail storm of sharp balls of ice heading our heads.  I love every minute of being in a mountain rainfall and hail storm.  It is in my nature I guess. A result of my Cherokee Indian heritage is the love of misty mountains, smoky clouds and deep forests of running rivers and streams.  I love the Rockies but the Smokey Mountains is my ancestral home and where my heart abides.

Scary and Magnificent Old Fall River Road

The eleven mile stretch of Old Fall River Road is a must for anyone visiting the Rocky Mountains.  There are very few people on the road and the scenic drive will take your breath away.  It started raining and the clouds were draped over the mountain range like a cloak.  The twist and turns of the road made me nervous and there was only one way to go and that was upward until you reached the top to the Alpine Visitor Center.  Once you start the trip on the dirt road, it is one way and no turning around!  The posted speed limit is 15 miles per hour, a journey up Old Fall River Road is not for the impatient. There are no guard rails along this road.  I plan to go back and hike some of the trips to the different falls.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Coyote Valley Trail Head - "Above the Bright Blue Sky"

The Coyote Valley Trail is a easy family friendly nature trail that makes a loop along the Colorado River in the Kawuneeche Valley. This trail is level, wide, and smooth. The trail begins from the handicapped parking area and travels across the Colorado River over a stone bridge. It was a nice area to fish and have a picnic.  The sky had swirling clouds against a bright blue heaven. These pictures of the sky is perfect imagery for a very popular children's poem written by Albert Midlane in the 19th century "Above the Bright Blue Sky."
Above the Bright Blue Sky
By Albert Midlane (1825-1909)

There's a Friend for little children
Above the bright blue sky,
A Friend who never changes
Whose love will never die;
Our earthly friends may fail us,
And change with changing years,
This Friend is always worthy
Of that dear name he bears.
There's a home for little children
Above the bright blue sky,
Where Jesus reigns in glory,
A home of peace and joy;
No home on earth is like it,
Nor can with it compare;
And everyone is happy,
Nor could be happier there.

Ute Trail at Poudre Lake

Ute Trail is moderate in difficulty but it was a cold crisp day and wet from rain which made it slippery on steep rocky paths.  We started the hike at Poudre Lake and the trail was muddy in places and you climbed upward and toward the rocky cliffs.  The trail leads to the Alpine Visitor Center a distance of 5 miles which I was not prepared to do. Several hikers wearing appropriate hiking attire and backpacks past us on the trail. My feet and ankles needed a break from the previous days hiking trip.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Grand Lake Colorado

This was taken from the historical Grand Lake Lodge.

Rocks and More Rocks, Oh My!

 The stone cliffs are from the Old Fall River Road and the Continental Divide.

Horseshoe Park and Falls


View from Old Fall River Road in Rocky Mountains at Horseshoe Park.

Red Mushrooms Rocky Mountains

The mushroom which is red with white spots and grows in and around the Rocky Mountains is called Amanita Muscaria. The more common name for this mushroom is Fly Agaric. This mushroom can be deadly to humans if consumed. If the mushroom is prepared properly it can produce hallucinogenic effects.

Lulu City's Mother Moose

Lulu City is on the Colorado River and a mother moose and her calf decided to join us.  We quickly left the river and headed into the trees to avoid a hostile mother.