The Eastern Plains (Thursday Travels)Posted: May 3, 2012
According to Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge these days, the Eastern Plains of Colorado are part of the High Plains which are in turn the westernmost part of the Great Plains. It is said that the Eastern Plains of Colorado are semi-arid, receiving very little rainfall throughout the year. M and I timed our trip to the plains to coincide with some of that rainfall. Not intentionally. It just worked out that way.
Fortunately, because we’ve learned to be prepared when hiking, we had our rain ponchos with us. Coming back to the plains on a day with better weather was not an option. We had one day to visit the plains and the Paint Mines, and part of that was spent sitting in the car, waiting for the lightning and thunder to pass. Rain is no problem, but lightning, especially when you might be the tallest thing out there (as seen in the lead photo for this post — that’s M making his way towards the Paint Mines), can be dangerous.
We also spent a little time in Calhan, the town nearest the Paint Mines Interpretative Park, having a late lunch at what appeared to be the only restaurant in town that was open. They had free wi-fi, which allowed us to check the weather on the laptop while we had our lunch. The food, by the way, was quite good. I don’t remember the name of the place, and it seems I didn’t include it when I originally wrote about our hike while still in Colorado.
Because we’d spent so much time sitting and waiting, it was nice to finally get out and hike. We were parked quite a distance from the Paint Mines so we had plenty of time to enjoy the view of the plains and the storms off in the distance.
I loved the feeling of spaciousness and the huge expanse of sky on the plains. I know some folks find all that flatness rather boring. I suppose if we’d driven out to Colorado and I’d experienced the flatness of the Great Plains (through Kansas, Nebraska, and then into Colorado), I might have eventually felt the same way. I don’t really think so, but I’m willing to entertain the possibility.
Storms moved through the Bogs last night, waking us up with loud booms of thunder and the strobe light effect of the lightning. It was quite a show, one that didn’t last too long.
We’re trying to break a record high here today. I believe the record is 85 degrees. They’re predicting it will get up to 87. It’s true what they say: It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity. The mugginess is almost overwhelming.
Recreation in the open is of the finest grade. The moral benefits are all positive. The individual with any soul cannot live long in the presence of towering mountains or sweeping plains without getting a little of the high moral standard of Nature infused into his being… with eyes opened, the great story of the Earth’s forming, the history of a tree, the life of a flower or the activities of some small animal will all unfold themselves to the recreationist.
~ Arthur Carhart, 1919
That’s it from the Bogs for today. Thank you for joining me as I flash back to August of 2010. I’ll leave you with a few more photos from our approach to the Paint Mines. Next week we might actually get down into the mines and take a closer look at things.
Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find resources of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.
~ Rachel Carson
The fight for free space — for wilderness and for public space — must be accompanied by a fight for free time to spend wandering in that space. Otherwise the individual imagination will be bulldozed over for the chain-store outlets of consumer appetite, true-crime titillations, and celebrity crises.
~ Rebecca Solnit
(Pardon the plethora of photos. Ye Olde Blogge was originally intended to be the place where I record my journeys and adventures. Some of the photos are not all that good, but they are a record of the hike so I’ve included them.)