Touring Around Salida CO, Day 12, 16 August 2010

Trip: Rapid City SD to Taos NM and Back
Day Twelve -- Driving North out of Salida, 16 August 2010:  We decided to take an easy day after getting into Salida in the dark and pouring-down rain.  So we just stayed in the area for the day -- wandering north up US HWY 285.
US HWY 285 North out of Salida CO Into Arkansas River Valley
US HWY 285 North out of Salida CO Into Arkansas River Valley
Wide View Up the Arkansas River Valley
Wide View Up the Arkansas River Valley
We headed up into the Arkansas River Valley and toward the Sawatch Range on the left (west) side -- home of the Collegiate Peaks -- all of which are over 14,000 feet.
Looking North Toward Mt Princeton CO
Looking North Toward Mt Princeton CO
The southern-most of the peaks is Mt Princeton, with its rugged chalk-cliff south flank.
South Flank of Mt Princeton CO
South Flank of Mt Princeton CO
The foothills fronting the Sawatch Range are tertiary terrace gravel.
Rocky Foothills of the Collegiate Peaks
Rocky Foothills of the Collegiate Peaks
Fishing the Arkansas River -- As we drove up the valley looking for a gravel road to explore over in the direction of the peaks, we saw a guide boat with fishermen plying the Arkansas River.
Guide Boat On The Arkansas River CO
Guide Boat On The Arkansas River CO
The Rugged Slopes of Mt Princeton -- County Roads 280 and 270 led us toward the mountains and Mt Princeton Hot Springs.  The chalky crags on the south slope of Mt Princeton contain kaolinite, a soft white clay mineral.
Chalk Cliffs on South Flank of Mt Princeton CO
Chalk Cliffs on South Flank of Mt Princeton CO
We parked to take a look around, and we met a fellow
graduate of  Montana State University who had seen our MSU Bobcat license plate surround.  He graduated in Film and TV back when MSU was Montana State College, and had spent his career working for a big network news organization.  He played football for MSC and went to Camellia Bowl back in the day.  We were almost the only two people on that road, so it was so fun to run into a fellow alum.
  
We looked up the flank of the peak as the sun kept playing back and forth across it from the fast-moving clouds.
Still Life with Clouds, Cliffs, Sun Splashes, and Pines
Still Life with Clouds, Cliffs, Sun Splashes, and Pines
High Cliff Dwarfs Trees on Mt Princeton Flank
High Cliff Dwarfs Trees on Mt Princeton Flank
Then we headed back toward the mouth of Chalk Creek Canyon, still looking at the sides of the peak.  Roadside Geology of Colorado by Halka Chrinoc and Felicie Williams describes this amazing and complex terrain.  Don't travel Colorado without it! 

Flower-Covered Bench Land -- Then we drove across a wide flat between the mountains and the river valley.  Because of the altitude, the wildflowers were still in full bloom, despite the lateness of the season. Even the grasses were in bloom.  I used a wonderful website to identify these:  WILDFLOWERS, FERNS, & TREES of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, & Utah by Al Schneider   Any identification suggestions are welcome!
Grama Grass (Bouteloua gracilis) in Bloom on Grassland Foothills
Grama Grass (Bouteloua gracilis) in Bloom on Grassland Foothills
Mountain Currant (Ribes montigenum) and Rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa)
Mountain Currant (Ribes montigenum) and Rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa)
Mountain Currant (Ribes montigenum)
Mountain Currant (Ribes montigenum)
A Short Grass Prairie Mixture With Grama Grass (Bouteloua gracilis) and Wild Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)
A Short Grass Prairie Mixture With Grama Grass (Bouteloua gracilis) and Wild Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus)
Hoary Aster (Dieteria canescens)
Hoary Aster (Dieteria canescens)
Grama Grass (Bouteloua gracilis) Another Prairie Combo
Grama Grass (Bouteloua gracilis) Another Prairie Combo
Rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa) and Mountain Peak
Rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa) and Mountain Peak
Rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa) Against the Sky
Rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauseosa) Against the Sky
Oregon Snowball Saxifrage (Micranthes oregana)
Oregon Snowball Saxifrage (Micranthes oregana)
Bahia (Amauriopsis dissecta)
Bahia (Amauriopsis dissecta)
Penstemon
Penstemon
Old Man of the Mountain (Hymenoxys grandiflora)
Old Man of the Mountain (Hymenoxys grandiflora)
Curly Cup Gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa) and Scarlet Gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata)
Curly Cup Gumweed (Grindelia squarrosa) and Scarlet Gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata)
Scarlet Gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata)
Scarlet Gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata)
As we got closer to the valley floor, we could see just how rugged and boulder-strewn the east wall of the valley rose above the floor.
View East Across the Arkansas River Valley CO
View East Across the Arkansas River Valley CO
Close up, the valley wall was a conglomeration of massive boulder piles.
Fence line and Boulders on the East Arkansas River Valley Wall
Fence line and Boulders on the East Arkansas River Valley Wall
Back in Salida -- The town of Salida had done a very nice job preserving and dolling up some of the older buildings in the downtown core.
Detail on Corner Building in Salida CO
Detail on Corner Building in Salida CO
Building-Front Gingerbread in Salida CO
Building-Front Gingerbread in Salida CO
Front of the Old Enterprise Bakery in Salida CO
Front of the Old Enterprise Bakery in Salida CO
Spiral Drive up Tenderfoot Mountain -- From the end of "F" street you look up at Tenderfoot Mountain, with its big white "S."  Access is it from Spiral Drive, which can reached from near the hospital.
The Salida CO White Stack
The Salida CO White Stack
Spiral Drive was built in 1922 by the Lions Club as a civic project. The ā€˜Sā€™ on Tenderfoot Mountain was built by the Salida High School senior class in 1932. Even where the windows have been updated windows from the drafty old single-pane leaded glass ones, it has been done with taste.
Tastefully Upgraded Windows in Salida CO
Tastefully Upgraded Windows in Salida CO
Gingerbread and Hilltop Building in Salida CO
Gingerbread and Hilltop Building in Salida CO
Text by Brian and Louise.  Pictures by Brian.  Text and photos copyright Goin Mobyle, LLC, 2010.
  

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