Pulpit Rock White Formation turns into Art.
One of the white rock formations on the Pulpit Rock hike haunted me after finishing the hike and downloading the photos.
I knew it had to get transformed into one or two of my surrealistic, abstractions images from my nature photos.
At first sight, just thought of it as a stony lion, that reminded me of the ancient sculptures I had seen all over Europe.
But when I began to play with it, saw two ways it could be looking. In either one, I loved how it looked like they were being reflected in a pond below.
One, just a series of two lions facing each other.
Or with two lion lovers being guarded by their friends acting as look-outs in two directions.
Leave a comment letting me know which one do you like best?
It has been a few years since I last hiked the trails at Pulpit Rock.
There was absolutely no signage indicating where to turn off of Nevada Avenue or where the trail head actually is located. And the entrance for the parking lot is quite different looking. But we did find it after a couple of U-Turns after driving past it the first time.
At first it looks like an easy hike, and I left my hiking pole behind. Big mistake!
The trail soon took a turn for the rocky and challenging.
As we began to hike upwards off the flat trail, we discovered that there was no signage to guide us to which trail to take up to the formations. And the ones we took were very poorly maintained trails leading up and down from the main formations.
There were a couple of places I had to ask for a hand up from my hiking partner.
But having no worries about being embarrassed about this request, chose to do that rather than risk a fall.
And coming back down, actually sat down to get back down in a couple of places.
Walking among the beautiful formations was worth taking this challenge to get up there!
Years ago, after a bad car accident, I developed had Panic Attacks when I was in high places and looking down. I quickly decided I wasn’t going to live with that and took steps to overcome that health challenge. Tested myself a couple of times on this hike when the trail ended in a steep drop off.
I was fine! So happy I was able to make that shift in my mental and emotional state all those years ago.
There were incredible views of to the west towards Pikes Peak.
At the top of a trail that went east from the Pulpit Rock White formations that everyone sees from below were a few cairns on the trail.
Got some nice photos of this one with Pikes Peak behind.
And this awesome “grandfather” tree caught both of our attentions.
I am certain it will someday become one of my abstract photos, but for tonight, just sharing it in its natural state.
I had picked up a heavy stick to use as a pole in one of the more challenging areas. Then when we saw what looked like an easy trail down, left it behind. And we even encountered some icy areas on this downward trail.
So I soon regretted that decision. I would definitely recommend anyone doing this trail take a good hiking pole with them to stabilize themselves in many sections going up and down from the white formations.
No need for a pole here, so if you just hike the lower section, you can hike without one.
The birds were singing and the sky was very blue above.
It was just too beautiful of a day to turn back quite yet.
I’ve Been Down a Rabbit Hole of Creativity for the Last Year.
So one of the main reasons I haven’t been focused on writing about my hikes is, I had fallen down a “rabbit hole’ of being creative with my Nature Photos.
This is an example of what I have been doing that came from one picture of the “hiking cat” yesterday.
This is the original photo.
Then this came out using a small piece with the cat in it.
Then this one came next.
And this one . . . Sometimes you see the cat, sometimes you see a fantasy creature . . .
On this site, my artistic images can not only be bought as framed prints and cards, but can be put on mugs, t-shirts, pillows, towels, shower curtains and so much more. Pretty fun.
And this one came from the “Let It Be Tree” seen in my last post.
Do you see the fairies?
Take a moment and write a comment about what you see in any of these images.
Time to share more hikes and how they revive my spirit.
So I haven’t stopped hiking, I just got away from posting them here. But plan on writing about current and past hikes starting NOW!
Just two days ago it was frosty and very cold. Then it was 60 degrees today and I just couldn’t resist being outside in the sunshine.
So I started out to take just a walk up my street.
I hadn’t intended to actually hike today, so didn’t have water or hiking boots or walking stick.
But I kept going up just one more street. Then, on the street near a short trail leading up to a field I was joined on this walk by a very friendly cat.
As I stood below this steep trail, I decided I really wanted to visit my favorite “Let It Be Tree”. So up I went.
And the cat followed me . . .
This reminded me of the times when I lived for a short time in Florissant that my two cats I had then would hike with me. And when I moved back to Manitou I would put them in the car and drive to a nearby trail-head and we would hike together. They loved those hikes!
He kept rubbing on me, looking cute, and laying at my feet when I sat on the trunk of the tree basking in the sunshine.
At this point, I decided to make it a longer walk/hike and climbed up the very steep section to get to the field and another trail. And without my hiking pole, it looked a little daunting.
Since the cat kept following me, I just kept walking on some deer trails in the field, not wanting to really get on the trail, and I didn’t have water or my in-town hiking pack on my back. Just my phone and camera.
We walked around and I actually did something I don’t think I have ever done before, I called a friend who needed some encouragement. And we chatted about ways to help each other. I kept trying to take photos with the camera while on the phone. A few came out just fine, others . . . well, not the best approach to getting good photos.
After I finished the call, I walked a few more minutes, but it was time to go back. And I although I really didn’t want to leave that sunny space, I walked towards the place I came up.
Looking down I decided it was just too risky to do without a pole and hiking books.
The kitty easily tripped down there and invited me to follow.
But, I wasn’t up for risking a fall on the very slippery steep slope. Told him to go home and I headed for the street.
Kitty didn’t understand why I didn’t follow him, so came and followed me. But he was pretty hesitant on the street. Seemed unsure where he was. So, I picked him up and carried him a few blocks. He was kinda nervous and kept looking around, but didn’t try to escape my arms.
When we got close to the trail area I had gone up, I let him down. A guy was there and greeted the cat by name. I asked if he knew where the cat lived. He said yes, and pointed to a driveway across from the trail and the cat was happily walking up it. Was glad I could continue on home without that sweet kitty following me.
It was a lovely break from the computer and being indoors. Still, I am not totally comfortable with the series of really warm days we have been experiencing in January and February. Sunshine is not unusual, but 60 degree weather just seems wrong at this time of year!
Glad I did take advantage of it today and truly enjoyed being able to get away from town in such a short amount of time and enjoy vistas and “wilderness” so close to home.
If you enjoy hiking and writing, I would invite you to check out my Hiking Journal.
It is not just a “blank” book for writing about your hikes, but has spaces to record specifics about each hike. It also has pages and space to do some writing about what inspired you on each hike.
Some how I have gotten away from posting my hikes here. Talk about them on Facebook, but need to keep this site more up to date. I have taken many hikes since my last post. Also considering putting them into a book format . . .
On this Christmas day, I needed a “spirit renewing hike” badly.
The day was gloomy and it had snowed during the night.
I had seen the full moon and hadn’t expected to awake to snow on the ground.
Started out just walking around town. Then the sun came out.
I headed up the street towards the water tank trail to see how icy or deep in snow it would be.
Not to bad.
Realizing I didn’t have the proper shoes, no water or a pole, I gingerly started up the trail.
There were places it was a bit more snowy and icy than I felt totally comfortable, but then there were areas the snow was barely covering the trail.
The weather changed soon after I started the hike, but not too cold.
Sometimes I like to test myself and make sure I no longer experience vertigo when looking down from heights. So I walked over to a cliff and looked back down to the path below.
And I was just fine. So hiked on a bit farther.
Then I spied one of my favorite things to photograph: Rusty objects.
I played with this for a while.
On one part of the trail, I realized there was one other set of tracks. This set didn’t look like a deer as the first set of tracks I had seen when starting out. And they were very fresh. Began looking around me more to be sure nothing was waiting for me . . .
And when it started to snow I turned back and began to head back down the trail. Still a bit wary of spotting a creature that I might not like being alone with in the mountains.
Tried to capture snowflakes falling. Not an easy thing to do. But did catch a few in the photos.
And then there were some lovely pine cones to capture.
They reminded me of winter flowers blossoming in the trees and on the ground.
Hiking down, there was a great view of downtown Manitou Springs.
Looking down upon my town made me think of these words:
“O’ Little Town of Manitou Springs . . . how still you lie below.”
My Spirit was renewed as I remembered how I love this little town . . .
So I headed back to my home.
Blue skies showed up for a short time.
But not for long.
And the sky was very strange. “Mama always said, Don’t look into the sun.”
But I couldn’t help taking some photos of the sky with sun brightly behind the clouds.
And will try to capture the full moon Christmas night, but finding that challenging for my camera.
Merry Christmas 2015 and to all, a good night!
Hiking above the Platte River in Deckers Colorado can be a bit adventurous.
Some of the trail is very steep and covered with scree. This made them rather challenging to stay on one’s feet and not go slip sliding down the slope.
I hadn’t brought a hiking pole, but found a lovely hiking stick to use when I started to get nervous about my footing on these sections.
Going down can be a bit scary. I actually scooted on my butt on one section rather than chance sliding down or falling over the edge. But most of them I did standing up.
But we were rewarded with some very beautiful views of the river below.
I love the beauty found in weathered wood. And see many creatures within their forms.
This old stump seemed to invite us to travel on this trail.
There were lovely wild flowers along the trail.
Some very dramatic ones.
The Thistles were showing off their many stages of beauty.
I felt very blessed that this Western Tanager gave me just a few seconds to take his picture, before he flew far away.
I am constantly amazed by the beauty that surrounds us.
And what is even more amazing to me is when plants are so very determined to grow in places that one would think impossible.
Talk about being between a rock and a hard place . . .
Now I must end this post, though I have many more beautiful images of the river and the plants that were growing here to the delight of our eyes.
Had planned on taking a hike in Red Rocks, but called my hiking friend and suggested a different trail.
This trail is part of the Intermann Trail and starts up in Crystal Hills.
She agreed and we were both so very happy we made this change of plans.
So many flowers and great views to be seen.
I was really excited to see that the cactus were blooming.
The Prickly Pear Cactus were glorious and blooming in many colors all along the trail.
At the trails beginning my hiking friend pointed out that there were some rather interesting flowers blooming there.
What do you see here?
They are Prairie Cornflowers.
What did you think the were?
And then there were these sweet flowers.
I think they are called Mariposa.
They did come in a few colors, but the lavender ones were my favorites.
And just had to get a really close up image of their inside beauty.
Then there were the very delicate Penstemons.
There were many areas that the Indian Paintbrush were growing in groups or singularly.
And I kept trying to get a perfect shot of these very delicate fluffy end game for a yellow flower.
We had some incredible views on different sections of the trail.
I don’t think I have seen Colorado hills this green in many a year.
At one point we had a view into Crystal Park.
A few places we had great views of the Garden of the Gods.
And there was view of Cedar Heights and the burned area above as a reminder of a drier year.
We could see Red Rocks Canyon and far beyond from many points on the trail.
We started down by the green water tower.
The pine cones were not as spectacular as on the last few hikes.
There were a few lavender or pink ones.
These are reminiscent of Christmas ornaments
Some were just fun to look at. Green and Brown on the same growing point.
When we got back to being close to the beginning of the trail, we decided to take another path.
This was another really good decision.
When looking into the pond we saw these strange creatures.
Anyone know what they are?
The water bugs were skipping along creating waves above the sandy bottom.
What we encountered when we looked closer at the pond was truly magical.
These iridescent blue dragonflies were dancing around us and around the pond.
And what were they doing here?
Must be mating season for these beautiful winged creatures.
Then back on the other side of the pond.
Two styles of Black and White Dragonflies posed for us.
A bit difficult to get a picture from a distance, but they let us try for quite some time.
Heading back, I had to remind myself I had known the last few bits of the trail were a steep uphill climb.
But it was an easy climb when I thought of how I had been well rewarded for coming down this hill.
Hiked to the Catamount Reservoir on June 24, 2015.
Took a longer hike yesterday than last weeks hike.
Started a bit earlier and had blue skies at the start.
As we hiked farther beautiful big puffy white clouds appeared all around.
The trail seemed to end, but we walked along the shore a bit farther.
I think the water was just up high and we had always had to walk on the shore, but it was probably wider in the past.
And every time we thought we were getting close to seeing the large reservoir, another cove caused us to take a long detour around that watery area.
I did enjoy getting some great reflections on the water, even though it wasn’t very still, some of the images came out really beautiful. Like the big cloud reflected with the trees next to it.
Then the clouds began to darken and the wind picked up a bit.
And as we started to head back it was thundering all around us.
It began to sprinkle as we neared the parking lot.
Never rained very hard on us, but as we drove out of the area, looking back at Pikes Peak, it was storming up there.
There wasn’t the profusion of flowers in this area like we saw in Lovell Gulch. Still we saw some beauties.
I have no idea what this green flower is called. And just saw only one. Has an orchid look to it.
If anyone know what it is, please comment below.
And I found some posed against driftwood making a beautiful contrast of color against the grey weathered wood.
And just a few Indian Paintbrush were to be seen.
And there was one area of many Shooting Stars that I do so love to see. Memories of my childhood in Wildwood, Illinois and walking in the wooded areas around our home come rushing back. I always have loved walking in forests and enjoying the wildflowers and wildlife I might spy.
There was on stump that my hiking partner saw as Ganesh.
I could see the trunk and she declared that meant abundance was coming our way. I’ll take that type of positive energy every day if I can.
The only creatures we saw on the hike other than butterflies floating by and birds flying high were a whole gaggle of geese on the reservoir.
And then there were the Pine Cones. So many different colors and configurations.
The little sprouts sort of looked like raspberries. So interesting to see the different stages all on one tree.
Never remember noticing them growing in this manner.
Tiny ones just beginning to sprout next to one, two or three closer to their final size.
Can’t wait to see where we get to hike next week!
Lovell Gulch outside of Woodland Park, Colorado on June 17, 2015.
It is truly time to get back to posting my hikes. Or at least the images that I captured on them.
Lovell Gulch was awesome today!
If you can get up to Lovell Gulch for a hike in the next few days, you will be able to catch the most incredible profusion of Wild Iris I have seen in years.
Some were past prime, others hadn’t bloomed yet. I was in awe!
And we have been enjoying the best Iris year all around Manitou Springs, so it was a real treat to see the Wild Iris where also showing off this very wet year.
I don’t know what the name of these purple, and multicolored flowers, but they were everywhere.
There were just a few Shooting Stars, one of my favorite flowers that remind me of ones that grew in a field behind my childhood home in Wildwood, IL.
Big Monarchs would fly right past me, then continue on their journey.
And then there were many other flowers including these sweet little daisies.
The Pine trees in Lovell Gulch are putting on a different type of show of beauty.
The budding Pine Cones are coming out in all different colors and shapes.
I could have spent hours just taking pictures of these beauties.
But the wind had started to come up and it was sprinkling a bit, so had to leave.
And the wind did make it a bit challenging to get them to hold still, but I think I got some good images to share.
The weather did change a bit as we hiked for about 4 and half hours.
Started out with a pure blue sky.
Then some clouds showed up.
And then a bit darker clouds.
And finally wind and dark skies, but no rain.
So we headed home spiritually renewed, happy and tired.
On the last day of May, I went for another Stroll in Fountain Valley Park.
It was a bit different from the other hikes. It started with a sighting of this very relaxed bunny by the Visitor Center.
On the pond behind the Visitor Center there were three turtles sharing a log. In the big pond farther to the North there was one turtle sunning on a white rock, then he was joined by another one. The cattails were just beginning to green up. After seeing the turtles in Monument Park, it was fun to see more here. I haven’t seen that many turtles in Colorado, but I grew up with them in Northern Illinois.
We saw very few ducks or geese, but there were a few on the big pond. This Mama Mallard had three duckling with her. We could imagine that many of the other Geese and Ducks were sitting on nests protecting their eggs or young hatchinglings.
We also saw many Red-winged Blackbirds and Robins seen on this hike. I think everyone in our group took a picture of the black bird on the far left below. He poised beautifully for us as we walked by.
It really felt that it was on the edge of summer. Some very green areas, with some very dry area next to them. Flowers beginning to bloom, yet many more in waiting. Most of the flowers we saw were on trees.
The robins were hoping around on the path leading to my favorite tree. It has faces on many areas. I took this one from both sides; one was in the light and the dark. Makes for a very interesting contrasting image. Will have to use it sometime in a book.
More fun with Tree faces below. I don’t think I will ever get tired of taking pictures of this tree. Fascinating images that look different each time I see them.
It was a glorious day for a hike. The reflections in the water and Pikes Peak in the distance makes this a really beautiful easy hike that anyone can enjoy.
Another place I love to play and try and get the perfect image of Pikes Peak and a rusty Irrigation wheel was on our pathway this day.
I think this might have been a better image than the one I submitted to a contest. The sun was out and Pikes Peak showed up more in the distance. It will certainly find a place in my “Views of Pikes Peak” book when I get working on that this winter.
One of the most fun sights was this bird building a nest in one of the small gazebos.
Right after this gazebo, I broke away from the group to walk on one of my favorite side trails that goes down to the river. I first passed this wicked looking bit of driftwood, that is another thing I can’t walk past on this hike without taking a picture of each time.
At the water’s edge I came upon this beautiful female Mallard Duck. The purple on her wing was a surprise.
She stared at me for a few minutes, then turned and stated to swim away. That was when I noticed a male Mallard who kept alluding my camera.
It took me quite sometime to catch up with the group. I had not realized I had been so long away from them. But I eventually did catch up at the cattail pond.
And as all good things must come to an end, so did this hike. But I had another relaxing place to be. I was to be the “demo-body” for my friends Young Living Essential Oils Raindrop Therapy class.