Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sat, Oct 1, 2011: The Bells, Flying Solo

Today, I am finally in a peaceful enough state of mind to go through my pictures with a feeling of joy and excitement.

Kaylee and I woke up even earlier on the morning of October 1st than we had the previous weekend, and headed down to the lake. I learned that there is a certain "sweet spot" along the lake where the most photographers crowd in, and I was able to plant myself right along the edge of that spot. I was so happy. :)

Before the sun rose, the lake was as still and silent as the earth itself.
I messed around with some exposures and made this HDR shot, which looks to me like Maroon Bells in Wonderland. :)
I think that morning, the sunrise flowed in to the valley on the light, strong breeze that showed up the instant that the sunlight began its soft descent down the peaks.
Once again, the earth took my breath away.
The breeze ruffled the stillness of the water, but I liked it because it seemed to be painting a picture with the light and mountains.

Kaylee was the perfect dog for the entire morning. This time, she wore a little dog coat that I bought for her. I have always told myself that I would NOT be one of those people who buys clothes for their dogs, but the previous weekend she had been so cold that buying her some sort of coat seemed the only reasonable thing to do. She lay on the ground, gnawing on a giant rawhide, for about 2 hours without a single complaint or incident. Many of the photographers actually came over to us and took a picture of her. :)

The lake was, of course, absolutely packed.

Kaylee and I walked around the lake, taking in the colors and the novelty of fresh, cold autumn morning air.
The earth was so beautiful as the fingers of sunlight danced over her.
The colors became so rich and deep as areas of the valley flooded with morning light.

Kaylee in her jacket.
I experimented with my shutter speed to see if I could get the light of the aspens right. I don't think I got it quite right yet, but I know I will someday. :)

Wow...
I love when the earth is so beautiful that it makes my heart hurt.

I wasn't sure if this was a beaver dam, since there was no flowing water to dam up right in this spot, but it seems like more than just a random pile of sticks to me!

The colors were other-worldly:



The aspens beckoned me back down the road, warming my heart and soul with their rich golden leaves.
Independence Pass was much more colorful this weekend, though still fairly green!
I wish that all people on this earth can experience such beauty.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sat, Oct 1, 2011: The Bells, Flying Solo: Update

Life has been rushing past me this month with a speed that makes me out of breath and dizzy in my efforts to keep up with it. Friday (tomorrow) ends my 3 weeks of complete insanity, which have been stuffed with meetings and reports and crises at work, and one activity after the next at home, almost every night.

A friend once explained to me his perception of the difference between an introverted and extroverted person's regeneration of personal energy. His explanation rang true for me with a little kick in the gut (that intuitive feeling that you get when something is true). He said that extroverted people find it energizing to be around people and they regenerate their energy while around people. Introverted people, counter to this, are energized and regenerate their energy when they are alone and feel their energy drained when they are around other people. I am definitely a person who regenerates my energy and is able to relax when I am alone... a state which has been difficult to find much time for this month.

Usually I can hang in there pretty well with things being fairly busy, but this month has been way too much to handle. I absolutely cannot wait to get some down time and relax. Fall Break for my schools is next week: a whole week of peace and adventure, and finally some time and energy to edit and post my second round of Maroon Bells pictures. The thought of this week on the horizon has kept me going for a long time, and now that it's finally here I'm so relieved. I can't wait to have some fun. :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sat, Sept 24, 2011: Maroon Bells, Part 4

Wow... I think this string of posts have become the most epic posts I've ever done about one overnight trip! :)

I was relaxed and refreshed after my nap as B drove us back down Frying Pan Road and onto Route 82, Independence Pass. The leaves were in various stages of shifting from rich summer green to brilliant autumn gold, and I loved both of those and every color in between.
In some places, Independence Pass is a crazy road! You can just see it in the picture below, clinging to the hillside:
As is typical in the mountains where pines dominate (rather than aspens), the ground cover was bright and colorful and stood out against the soft yellows of the grasses and dark strong greens of the pines.


Independence Pass is named for the small ghost town of Independence. We passed this building just before Independence. It looked like maybe at one time it was some sort of mill or mining building (?).

This little valley is so beautiful. I could easily imagine myself living there as a pioneer... though I'm sure the winters were very harsh and long.
We parked near Independence, which I have never visited despite traveling across the pass several times before.


Most of the cabins appeared to be in original, run-down condition, though some were at least somewhat fixed-up. I loved the views through the doors and windows of the homes.
One had this little outhouse behind it:

The neighbors had a lovely view of the outhouse:

The earth was stunning for me that day.



I tend to think of myself as a person who searches for and finds beauty in many places, but I do feel fortunate (so fortunate) to live in a place where the beauty is so simply obvious that it hits me with a force that knocks the wind out of my soul.
The dogs were so good for the entire trip.
The water flowing on the eastern side of Independence Pass reminded me of the color of the Crystal River when we visited Old Crystal Mill, and I wondered if they come from the same source.
Along the pass is a wonderful farm that looked vibrant and alive against the bright aspens.


There was a lot of cloud play in the sky when we reached the Twin Lakes outside of Leadville, which made for some amazing shadows and sunbeams that rolled across the mountains and water.

I... love... this... place.
We headed back up to the highway to make our way home, and passed this hideous strip mine. I really don't enjoy ending my posts about this beautiful trip with something so sad to me, but I feel like it's really important to share. One of the ways that companies extract materials from the ground is by strip mining entire mountains. Eventually, they mine the whole mountain away so that there is nothing left. They literally level the mountain. That is in the process of happening in this picture.
I know that I use products that utilize materials obtained in this way, and it makes me really sad that I contribute to the destruction of this beautiful land. I also recognize that I use many other things that hurt the earth (such as driving my car all over the place and using gas). I don't think I'm even educated enough about any of these things to know exactly the extent to which I harm her. Seeing this mine though, right in my face, allowed me to view some pretty immediate consequences of our lifestyles. I hope with all of my heart that our society will experience a shift in production that allows us to create products in a way that also respects the earth.