Last month I spent an incredible day in the Eldorado Canyon. I got there early in the morning and hiked up the Rattlesnake Gulch trail to the view of the Continental Divide First. It was spectacular and I sat there all by myself watching the clouds create different paintings across the sky. The one below reminded me of Dali's mustache.
Then I stood upon a bench under this pine bough to get another persepctive. I loved the long needles and gnarly branches.
The rock face of the canyon in some places is estimated to be more the 1.5 billion years old. To see trees growing along the craggy summit and in nooks and crannies always makes me appreciate nature's life force and impetus to find ways to survive no matter what the conditions.
Along the trail, I photographed decaying dandelions, which seemed to evoke the transience of the season and life, next to century plants which seemed so much stronger and enduring, the stiff verticality contrasting with the more gossamer threads of the dandelions going to seed.
All along the canyon walls in the shaes, blue bells and other wildflowers grew in the nooks and crannies.
The thistle plants were exhibiting lots of pollen which attracted the bee below. The bee ingested so much pollen it fell to the ground a few moments later.
When I saw the scene below, I was pretty sure how Boulder got its name. There were so many textures and sizes of rocks along the Fowler Trail, which I hiked next. I was out in the canyon for 8 hours and saw one spectacular scene after the next. There were grand scenes, but the most intricate details were captivating as well as the macro of the rock below shows. That was like a work of art there were so many vibrant colors and patterns.
I hiked the Fowler trail over to meet up with Goshawk Ridge trail and came upon this lovely view of the valley. The clouds, the wildflowers and the light all came together to create simultaneously majestic and intricate compositions.
The wall below was fascinating, especially with the dead trees intermixed with the pines.
The Gowhawk Ridge Trail goes through a forest that has been left completely alone. You are not allowed to walk off the trail at all and I never saw another person the whole time I was walking along it. To be in such undisturbed woods quieted my soul. This impossibly bent tree was an interesting anomaly that stood out among the other trees, and I realized that being unique is what makes life interesting.
Next I came to these ruins along a stiff incline where ancient people once inhabited this canyon. Alone in this magical landscape, the past came more alive than the present.
The last part of my hike opened out onto an incredible field of wildflowers. The last time I was in Colorado to photograph wildflowers with John Fielder, there was a severe drought and all I saw was fireweed. Though there have been fires in southern Colorado, Boulder and the surrounding area had a lot of rain this year. In fact, some of the trails I'd wanted to hike near Nederland were flooded that week, which is how I'd ended up in Eldorado Canyon. How fortuitous that turned out to be. I spent an hour in this filed all alone, appreciating these incredible flowers and the surrounding scenery. I lay down on boulders when I came across them, appreciated individual flowers, and noticed how they all magically fit in with the landscape. Words cannot describe how it felt to be all alone in such a spectacular place with no sounds except the breeze blowing through the grasses, the birds calling, and insects buzzing as they fed upon nature's abundance. If someone ever asks me to picture heaven, or come up with an image in my mind that brings me peace and joy, these scenes are certainly what will come to mind. This planet we call home deserves protecting. To lose such brilliant biodiversity to fires and climate change will be tragic.