Thursday Travels

Somewhere near the Calhan Paint Mines in Colorado.

One of my goals this year is to sort through photos from our trips to Colorado in 2009 and 2010.  Many of them have not seen the light of day since they were taken, and that means they haven’t appeared on my blog or been seen in print.

Wildflowers in bloom on the eastern plains of Colorado. I know the white flowers are blown-out (overexposed), but I love the colors of the grasses in this photo.

There is an expression — walking with beauty.  And I believe that this endless search for beauty in surroundings, in people and one’s personal life, is the headstone of travel.

~ Juliette De Bairacli Levy, 1979

Looking out over the Paint Mines and the park trails.

I started to show and tell about the Paint Mines in this post back in February, and then forgot about it.  I am hoping my memory will be good enough to allow me to make some of my travel photos a regular (semi-regular?) Thursday feature.

I came across this description of the Paint Mines at

In stark contrast to the rolling high plains of eastern El Paso County, the Paint Mines rip the prairies open in a shocking display of hoodos, caprock canyons and brightly-colored clay.

It was one of the best descriptions I’ve seen in my travels around the internet to research the Paint Mines.  You can read more here.

The photos in this post were all taken from above the mines, before we walked down into them.  Unfortunately, there is nothing to give you a sense of the size.  There were only two other people there that day, another photographer and her model.  I suspect they were taking high school pictures as the model was a teen-age girl who looked to be about the right age for senior portraits.

Another good reason for making my travel photos a Thursday feature is that Thursday tends to be my errand day.  Going back through Ye Olde Archives allows me to schedule a post, thereby giving me a break during the week to get caught up once I finish running my errands.  This post, by the way, is not scheduled because I didn’t think of it until today.

The clay in the Paint Mines has been used for ceremonial paints and pottery by prehistoric and historic Native Americans.  Settlers mined the area to make bricks.  The colors are caused by oxidized iron in the clay.  The formations are delicate so climbing on them is prohibited.  Judging from some of the photos I’ve seen, some people don’t seem to care, climbing around on them for that great photo-op.

The hiking here is easy.  One description I read says to pick a trail, any trail, as they all intersect at some point.  We were there in August on a day when storms moved in and out and, as I think I’ve mentioned before, the mosquitoes were fierce on the trails above the mines.

The Calhan Paint Mines Interpretive Park is one of those places I’d love to go back and explore during the different seasons.  There were some wildflowers blooming in the prairie when we were there.  I’ve read that the colors from the flowers are magnificent in May and June.

This is one of my favorite images from that hike. Not because it's a great shot, but because it shows some of the flowers that were blooming against the other-worldly backdrop of the mines.

Today’s weather here in the Bogs is gray and foggy with the occasional rain shower.  My rain dance must have worked.  We’ve had some nice, gentle showers throughout the morning and early afternoon.

Thanks for stopping by today and traveling back in time with me.  I hope you don’t mind the occasional forays into the past.  I’m all for living in the present, but it seems a shame to leave some of these photos languishing in the archives.

P.S.  Today’s view of the pond:

43 Comments on “Thursday Travels”

  1. Pat Bean says:

    All great photos, but I especially loved the horses. They’re beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Deborah Lee says:

    Loved these pics. Notice the face in the 5th one – upper center?

  3. Dr Bill says:

    Wonderful photos! Thanks for sharing

  4. Hi, Robin! We’ve got rain as well, so I’m so glad you’ve done these travel photos:) I love all.. the colored rock ones look like tie-tyed batik! And your favorite one near the bottom.. I could swear I see an angel on the left with a large wing next to the edge of the photo.. and in front two wee little birds she is looking at.. but then I love finding meaningful shapes in clouds so maybe it’s just me:) xo Smidge

  5. I had never even heard of the paint mines. What a fascinating place. I, too, love the horse photo.

    • Robin says:

      Thanks, Kathy. We found the Paint Mines by happy accident. It’s one of those places the guide books don’t include, but ought to.

  6. What remarkable photos of a remarkable place…the colors are beautiful and shapes amazing! (and the gnome in your headline….keeping and eye on things???? I’d be smiling like that too if I lived in the middle of such pretty flowers! : ) )

    • Robin says:

      The Gnome Knows All, Kathy (PP). lol! He does seem to enjoy living in the garden, surrounded by flowers. For the record, I never saw myself as a garden gnome person, but after hunting for gnomes at the arboretum last year, I just had to have at least one little one. Reading Harry Potter over the past year probably added to that desire. 🙂

  7. thank you for sharing these. I’d never heard of the paint mines. What beauty.

  8. all are really cool, but 128a takes the cake of this group! It could easily stand on its own. Neat place too!!!

  9. ladyfi says:

    What a great place! I love the way the stone is painted with colour.

    • Robin says:

      That it is, LadyFi. I wish we’d had a blue-sky day for taking photos during our visit, but the colours in the stone made up for it. 🙂

  10. aFrankAngle says:

    For whatever reason, Paint Mines captured my attention. I want to visit!

  11. TBM says:

    Great photos. I lived in Colorado for years and it is a beautiful place with a great history. Your rain dance must have worked for London as well. It has been raining off and on for over a week and they say it will stay for next week.

    • Robin says:

      Oh dear. I hope the rain doesn’t outstay its welcome, TBM.

      How lucky for you that you got to live in such a beautiful state. I’d love to retire there, if I could. I’ll have to win the lottery first. 🙂

  12. Great post, Robin. The paint mines have a very surrealistic quality to them – love the sinuous curves and layers. Love the painted ponies too!

  13. Kathy says:

    what interesting paint mines. I have never seen nor heard of them. What a good idea–to make Thursdays into your travel-sharing blog.

  14. Thanks for taking us to the Paint Mines–I might just have to add that to my travel list!

  15. Sallyann says:

    Very pretty mines, thanks for the visit.
    If I didn’t know better I would say I was looking out a the pond today through my window with all the drips on it. 🙂

  16. Those painted clay mines must be Nature’s abstract art. Colorado has such a wide variety of beauty

    • Robin says:

      I agree, PhilosopherMouse. The more I look at the photos of the mines, the more things I see in them. And Colorado is one of my favorite states. 🙂

  17. How beautiful! I would love to go back to Colorado someday, I haven’t been there in almost 20 years! What I really remember is how QUIET it is in the desert!!

  18. Marianne says:

    That’s very interesting, Robin. The Paint Mines look awesome! I’ve never seen photos of them. Thanks for sharing!

  19. eof737 says:

    I have had to LIKE all the posts in my mailbox as a way to catch up. 🙂

  20. […] Thursday Travels ( […]

  21. CMSmith says:

    Thanks for sharing the photos. I love the first one of the horses. The mines are interesting. I sometimes post trips from the past too.

  22. […] Thursday Travels ( […]

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