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Eldorado Canyon Views of the Continental Divide, Goshawk Ridge Trail, and Wildflowers

 View of the Continental Divide from the Rattlesnake Gulch Trail

View of the Continental Divide from the Rattlesnake Gulch Trail

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.

 Eldorado Canyon Continental Divide View with Cloudscape

Eldorado Canyon Continental Divide View with Cloudscape

Then I stood upon a bench under this pine bough to get another persepctive.  I loved the long needles and gnarly branches.

 Continental Divide View Under Pine Bough

Continental Divide View Under Pine Bough

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. 

 Eldorado Canyon Wall

Eldorado Canyon Wall

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.

 Dandelion Decomposition wiht Red Tic

Dandelion Decomposition wiht Red Tic

 Eldorado Canyon Century Plant

Eldorado Canyon Century Plant

All along the canyon walls in the shaes, blue bells and other wildflowers grew in the nooks and crannies.  

 Eldorado Canyon Wall with Wildflowers

Eldorado Canyon Wall with Wildflowers

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.

 Thistle, High Key

Thistle, High Key

 Bee Drunk on Thistle Pollen

Bee Drunk on Thistle Pollen

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.

 Boulders on the Fowler Trail, Eldorado Canyon

Boulders on the Fowler Trail, Eldorado Canyon

 Eldorado Canyon Macro of a Rock Face

Eldorado Canyon Macro of a Rock Face

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.  

 Eldorado Canyon View from the Fowler Trail

Eldorado Canyon View from the Fowler Trail

The wall below was fascinating, especially with the dead trees intermixed with the pines.  

 Eldorado Canyon Lower Peanuts Wall

Eldorado Canyon Lower Peanuts Wall

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. 

  Eldorado Canyon Goshawk Trail Crooked Tree

Eldorado Canyon Goshawk Trail Crooked Tree

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.  

 Eldorado Canyon Goshawk Ridge Trail Ruins

Eldorado Canyon Goshawk Ridge Trail Ruins

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.  

 Eldorado Canyon Bluebells

Eldorado Canyon Bluebells

 Eldorado Canyon Field with Indian Paintbrush and Wildflowers

Eldorado Canyon Field with Indian Paintbrush and Wildflowers

 Bee Balm, Eldorado Canyon

Bee Balm, Eldorado Canyon

 Bee Balm Close Up

Bee Balm Close Up

 Eldorado Lupine

Eldorado Lupine

 Eldorado Field of Wildflowers, Detail

Eldorado Field of Wildflowers, Detail

 Bee Balm and Wildflowers, Field in Eldorado Canyon

Bee Balm and Wildflowers, Field in Eldorado Canyon

 Eldorado Canyon, Indian Paintbrush

Eldorado Canyon, Indian Paintbrush