The Eastern Plains (Thursday Travels)

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.

Grasses and flowers

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.)

Approaching the Paint Mines


24 Comments on “The Eastern Plains (Thursday Travels)”

  1. tedgriffith says:

    Thanks for the trip today! Even thought I live in Colorado, I have rarely visited the eastern slope, and never to stop and explore. 🙂

  2. I suppose it wouldn’t be good to be out hiking on the plains in a thunderstorm. I lived in Oklahoma for a number of years and loved the feeling of endless sky–though at first I had to adjust. When I first moved there I felt strangely exposed and almost vulnerable–though I got over it pretty quickly.

    87 is insanely hot for your part of the country–especially when topped off with humidity. It felt that way here yesterday. Just miserable. Stay cool.


    • Robin says:

      Thanks, Kathy. 🙂

      I thought I might feel exposed out on the plains too, but I am semi-claustrophobic so I guess it shouldn’t have surprised me that I loved all of that wide open space. I also like that I could see the storms coming. Around here, I have to wait until the clouds move past the trees to see what we’re in store for.

  3. We like the hike record! The clouds add a bit of drama?(great 1st pix) And of course the flower just glows- love the texture on leaves and stem.

  4. mobius faith says:

    Some excellent shots here. I’m really fond of powerlines so those shots stand out for me. The very first shot is also quite lovely.

  5. aFrankAngle says:

    Interesting how we think Denver is in the Rockies, instead of at the end of the Great Plains – where it meets the Rockies. Colorado Springs – the same way. Biologically speaking, the meeting of two biomes … and oh the transition as we gain altitude. Love the second pic.

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Frank. 🙂

      I think what interests me is that Denver is the Mile High City. That’s one of the reasons I thought it was in the Rockies, being so high up and all. And oh, what a difference that altitude makes! Even moving from Denver (5280) and Boulder (5430) to Estes Park in the Rockies (7500) can be disconcerting for some. The highest I’ve been (outside of a plane) is up on Pikes Peak at 14,110. Moving up gave me an appreciation for John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High song. 😉

      • aFrankAngle says:

        Yep – the Mile High City that’s as flat as a pancake. 🙂 … I haven’t traveled north to Boulder & Estes Park (I know – both are wonderful). I have a friend who lives west of Denver – up high & looking across a meadow with Mt Evans (14K?) in the background. Awesome!

  6. You do go on such interesting journeys, Robin.. I’d love to go on as many of these hikes as you do.. with my camera along of course;)

  7. Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find resources of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.

    ~ Rachel Carson
    love this quote and have added it to my collection for this year.

  8. boatacrosstheriver says:

    I love all that open space as well…

    I hope your few days off was relaxing — looks like you’re back at work!

    Thanks for continuing to stop by my blog! I always look forward to your comments.

  9. Sallyann says:

    Everything looks so big and so flat it’s awe inspiring, but then you look down at your feet in just as much awe at the pretty little flowers in the grass.
    Enjoyed the trip, thanks. 🙂

  10. What an interesting landscape! That’s one vast horizon 🙂

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