Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Paintmines

Luckily for me some warm and sunny weather on Saturday perfectly coincided with a burning desire to get out and about and "do something." I had been pondering an excursion to the Paint Mines park, east of Colorado Springs. The trip ended up being about a 100 mile drive, which wasn't so bad, but was a lot further than I had anticipated.

Friday afternoon I had mentioned my ideas to a coworker of mine who hadn't been hiking in a while and who was pretty interested in the journey as she hadn't been anywhere near Colorado Springs before.

Despite a few missteps on the way, we eventually pulled into the park. The parking lot was less than interesting, and the flat, unending plains had me wondering just why I had dragged poor Cristian all the way out to this desolate section of Colorado.

Luckily, a few minutes on the trail brought us to the spectacular geology that gave the area its name. The brightly colored and strangely contoured layers of clay have seen use by humans for thousands of years. Early hunter gathers used the clay from these beds to make pots.

The shapes that wind and water have crafted here look otherworldly and utterly unlike a lot of Colorado geology. Even the material is different. Being so far out on the plains, the rocks that we usually see, like the fountain formation of Roxborough and the Garden of the Gods or the rugged granite of Pikes Peak, are buried beneath thousands of feet of sediment and tens of millions of years of geologic history.

I had a lot of fun cleaning up these pictures in Lightroom, which I continue to find new uses for as I uncover more of its photo fixing powers. I also had some fun setting a few of the sliders to "max" and created a couple of truly otherworldy pictures that I'll share later in the week.

No comments: