Sunday, July 18, 2010

DAY 17 & 18

Heading north on Hwy. 84, we left Santa Fe setting our sites on Pagosa Springs, Durango and Mesa Verde, Colorado. The highway is a beautiful drive right through Abiquiu and Ghost Ranch tucked away in Georgia's beloved terracotta mountains, all peppered with desert scrub, reminding me of three-day stubble on the slopes of ruddy cheeks and chin. I remember as a child drawing that same kind of beard on my Etch-A-Sketch. It's no wonder Georgia was willing to endure so many hardships in the early 1900s living alone in those high canyon walls. A short drive further, on through high cliffs that look as if they were sculpted with a chisel and buffed smooth with fine pumice to display distinctive colored layers of strata like towering confections at the stiff-peak stage of seven minute icing.

Over the last tall ridges of New Mexico, as if by magic, we coast into new landscapes. The scrub brush is now replaced by viridian walls of towering pines above valleys of lush lime-green farmland, and pastures dotted with livestock. Black Eyed Susans line the edges of the highway brightening our path. The mountains on all sides have turned from warm earthy tones of burnt sienna and ochre into cool misty blues that soften into periwinkle purples in the distance. We are now in the southwest corner of Colorado... back to the Rockies I knew from my college days.

My photos were all taken out the window going 60 mph, so bear with me here but I think your will get a glimpse of what I am trying to describe. Dave hates to stop while towing the trailer so I have to make do with the blur. I didn't get to paint yesterday since we were on the road most of the day, and then I was unable to post (until today the 18th) since there was no Wifi, water or electric hookups in our primitive campground high up in the canyons of Mesa Verde.

It was great sleeping last night, 60 degrees under a half moon and millions of galaxies of stars and planets. All night long I could hear the quiet hooves of elk nibbling on the tall grasses and wildflowers around our camper.

This morning we will be hiking and touring some of the numerous ancient cliff dwellings of the Puebloan people who first settled here 2,200 years ago. I hope to paint later this afternoon but have been painting miles of canvas on my mind. I believe when artists are creating, no matter what the genre, God is using us as His instruments to play and have fun in our world...I sure love being one of His brushes.


  1. Nancy,
    Thanks for sharing your trip, your pictures are better than mine.

  2. Your words are as good as your paint! What wonderful glimpses into your beautiful mind and spirit!

  3. We are in the same state. I'm in north east Colo. at Greeley with my two sisters. We head to the mountains on Tues. I feel closer to God when I am in the majesty of His mountains. However, I am not able to explain things as wonderfully as you do. Thank you for sharing so much with us.

  4. Hi Margaret...what a lovely comment!!! How did the Prairie Event go in Central Texas last night? I am dying to hear about it. Send me an e-mail when you catch your breath.

  5. Len,
    My images pale in comparison to your amazing art. Even a rummy like me can't find a bad shot in this land of endless perfect locations. Thanks so much for your thumbs up...I feel affirmed. : )

  6. Rita..what a nice surprise to know that you are here also in CO. I totally agree about feeling closer to God in the mountains. I think this just may be heaven.Hope you have a great time with your sisters...maybe we'll pass you on one of the windy passes. Thanks for following along with me.

  7. #1. Hey Rob...yeah, it was weird buying Gin at an Albertson's in Santa Fe...not too weird to do it...your Mom has collected several interesting rocks for, I swear is flecked with may become misplaced before we return...we are doing our first Dry Camping this air conditioning...we are sooo rugged...I am looking forward to wetting a fly in Wyoming!
    #2. We did the "cliffs" and they are an amazing, but I know why they's hot as Hell here...I'm ready to Headondownthehighway and wet a fly in a cold stream! I think Nance could be a War photographer after this trip...she takes shots hanging out of the window on the cliff hanging roads like a pro...later, dp

  8. . . . missed you for a day, but them I can appreciate all that you are doing, which is fantastic!

  9. Wow, that road-warrior-velcro'ed-monstrosity will actually do 60?!?

    Love that rock strata shot. Might be sandstone/siltstone (red) on the bottom and limestone (white) on the top...if so, the red sandstone is prob. the famous 'Red Beds' from the Permian period (~300-250 mya) and is what gives the Red River it's name.

    The land in your photo was once a beach or shallow ocean (red sandstone) and then sea level rose, during the time of the dinosaurs, and the sediment changed to smaller sediment and the calcium remains of ocean animals.

    Your photo shows the boundary between this event, a cyclic melting of the polar ice caps.

    I know, TMI!! but I am hoping that knowing the history of the land will add to your artistic interpretation of it- both visual and poetic.

  10. WOW son...very cool info. I am so glad to have all that history and geological understanding of the area. This adds lots more texture and beauty to what we are seeing. Thanks.