Archive for the ‘Colorado’ Tag

Photo Challenge: Experimental   5 comments

I took this photo with my iPhone 6 camera. I have not had this phone long. It was given to me by my granddaughter. She had lost it on a hiking trail, was rather new still, and though she searched for it then  she did not find it until two weeks later. Since she had immediately gotten her a new phone of the same model and make, she gave me this old one which surprisingly was still there in the same spot where lost and her dog picked up her scent on it. It was not broken or damaged, and still in excellent condition for me to use after transferring my phone carrier account over to this one. I experimented with the camera some while on a walk with my dog when the sun was going down over the lake when I took this. You can see just a tiny opening of color still from the reflected color and sheen off the lake through the trees, and a glistening wet look on the fallen leaves along the trail.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

via Photo Challenge: Experimental

The ‘spirit of Christmas’ in historic downtown, Loveland

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I took this shot from across the street of our downtown historic Rialto Theatre. The wind was blowing hard, but the temperature was only about 30+ degrees. Still, we knew the big freeze and frigid arctic blast was on its way into town. Thursday evening was the only good night before the snowstorm hit to walk around downtown, browse through shops and antique stores, then go to dinner at an old-fashioned diner where their specialty is their famous burgers, fries and shakes. Dinner was delicious as we sat by the window looking out onto the street at the traffic pass by under brightly colored Christmas lights. It brought back memories of years gone when we sipped shakes at the corner drug stores and drive-ins.

Although our town is well over 100,000 in population right now, it was only about 28,000 when we moved up here twenty-three years ago. But, the town has tried to maintain a small town atmosphere in the historic district just two miles from home. There is a nostalgic feeling to the old district, and the  ‘spirit of Christmas’ past, present and future in a Charles Dickens like setting. The foothills to the west of town and the towering Rocky Mountains thirty-five miles further west give Loveland the feel and look of an old-fashioned Christmas post card people used to send to family and friends that today can only be found in antique stores.  One of our favorite things to do is browse and shop for nostalgic things, toys and collectibles that I could imagine wrapped up under someone’s tree. Like family traditions kept and adopted down through the years, or things contemporary, old or new every town and place celebrates Christmas in their own way. Merry Christmas to you and yours from Loveland, Co.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

 

Winter comes to the high country

I watch clouds turn dark and ominous

as the season changes in the high country here.

Our camp fire crackles in the crisp autumn air,

and a whistling sound like a distant water’s flow

builds with intensity across mountain slopes.

Trees shed their coverings as gusty winds blow

leaving dry beds of pinecones and needles on the ground.

The front moves in and wildlife hunker down.

Dusk falls, temperatures drop, ice crystals form.

A dusting of snow glistens on the peaks.

We wait the coming storm.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Posted November 28, 2016 by Joyce in My Photos, My Writings, Photography, Poems, poetry, Seasons

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The annual quest for Colorado gold

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Every year when the leaves turn and Autumn arrives we head out, on our quest to look for the best places to photograph the changes in color and the Aspens turning a bright golden-yellow. And sometimes, a shot of something else will do too when we stop to explore along the road. The top photo is one of the Aspens in the Rocky Mountains seen off highway 7 between Lyons and Nederland, Co.

The bottom photo is one of Barker Dam off the road on the way down to the city of Boulder. Timing, location and altitude can make all the difference in the color and changes seen. In some areas just a few days earlier, there was more color with rust and red tones showing in some of the plant life, brighter in places, but in others it had not yet reached its peak. Photographers with tripods set in place can be spotted along the road, as everyone wants to capture the gold.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

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Painted by the finger of God

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The sun lingers just over the rise,

a tinge of pink reflects off the peaks.

With anticipation I wait to behold

the glow spreading across the sky.

The hour in passing seems too long.

Then dusk descends slowly over the ridge,

and the heavens like a canvas arrayed in hues

of orange and yellow merge together

exploding in color and brilliant light,

an image painted by the finger of God.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Footnote: I took the above photos in July of this year, getting these and many other shots during our wait for the sun to go down while parked up on the lookout ridge overlooking Longs Peak in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Whenever we go up there I come away inspired to write new pieces of poetry, adding more new photos to our ever-growing collection of Colorado mountain photos that fill our albums and digital libraries.

Living just an hour away and thirty miles from Rocky Mountain National Park is a definite advantage to being able to do this, and we never tire of the beautiful drive up highway 34 from our town of Loveland, through the narrows and granite canyons and into Estes Park situated at the foot of RMNP.  At this time of year after a very busy, bustling summer of tourists visiting RMNP we see the busy summer tourist season come to a close with the Labor Day weekend. Soon, the Aspen trees begin to turn a golden color, drop their leaves, and the elk do their popular bugling call (the beginning of their mating season), drawing more tourists for the autumn season. The air turns colder and we see our first winter snow storms, snow skiers arriving, and it is busy again. 🙂

Experiencing the famed Stanley Hotel

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“Look! There’s an ax. It’s just what we need,” my husband said. The long wood handled ax with its red steel blade was one of the featured sale items in the window of the hardware store on Elkhorn Ave., main street in Estes Park.

“Yes. It looks like a heavy-duty one, and a good buy.” I replied.

We bought the ax. We knew we would put it to good use on our newly purchased mountain property. There were a lot of trees to thin out, and we needed firewood.

When we got to The Stanley Hotel we grabbed up our bags and went to go check in. Then I remembered.

“Wait! We need to cover up the ax in the back of the car. It’s too exposed and someone will think…we don’t want someone calling the police on us.” I said.

I went back to the car, opened up the hatch back of our red Ford Escort Wagon and covered the ax with an old blanket.

This was the start to our weekend at The Stanley twenty-five years ago when we had a reservation to celebrate the weekend of our 25th wedding anniversary. We had a second floor balcony room that opened up to the veranda outside overlooking the magnificent Rockies encircling Estes Park. Beautiful and serene.

When we bought the ax we didn’t know that The Stanley Hotel was used for the inspiration of Stephen King’s horror story in his book, and movie, The Shining. Until we discovered all the copies of his book in the gift shop there, and vaguely remembered the story. The Stanley is also considered to be one of the most haunted hotels known. We didn’t know that either, or believed it. Until we heard sounds during the night like one banging pots and pans on old, creaky pipes. There was little sleep that night. Ghost story events are a regular form of entertainment at The Stanley.

The hotel sits atop a steep grade, in the mountains facing east, overlooking the town of Estes Park, Colorado. It is designated a national historic site, a mammoth four-story structure with the inside furnished in antique, heavy, ornate furniture in old world period pieces. It is located just six miles from the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, and remains still one of the most popular and expensive hotels in Colorado.

Our daughters wanted to grant us another ‘memorable’ night at The Stanley, this time for our 50th wedding anniversary we are celebrating this month. So, once again we were guests, in a king size suite, a gift from our girls, after having celebrated with friends and family at a surprise anniversary party. I guess our girls wanted to keep the tradition going, though it is not our wish to repeat it a third time in another twenty-five years, if we’re still around. 🙂

As popular and expensive as The Stanley hotel is we could not understand why there were no screens on the high windows up on the fourth floor in our room this time. They had been cut out. Literally.  The room was beautifully furnished, but, the balcony off of that floor is completely inaccessible by doors so tightly secured one cannot use them to step out for some invigorating mountain air, or for any other needed escape. It was hot, and there was no air conditioning in the room, so we opened up the windows and just pulled the shears together, and hoped for a good night’s rest after a long drive up through RMNP.

Whether the hotel’s popularity dates back to its founding and opening in 1909, named for F.O. Stanley who came into town on his ‘Steamer,’ or is due to its long rich history of story lore and fame, it has hosted many a traveler and tourists, and then maybe those, who walk the dark hallways, and balconies, unseen. 🙂

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For information and history related to The Stanley Hotel you can find it here: http://www.stanleyhotel.com/accommodations

Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Sunset on Trail Ridge Road, RMNP

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Trail Ridge Road – Rocky Mountain National Park (June 2016)

The drive up Trail Ridge Road in RMNP is paved clear to the summit. The meandering, steep climb winds through forested thick stands of Ponderosa, Lodge Pole pine, Douglas fir, Juniper, and Spruce. Snowfalls, blizzards and drifts can make the drive treacherous any month of the year when a storm front moves in. I have been up on Trail Ridge Road in July in the middle of an unexpected snowstorm and blizzard that was not forecasted. The gates positioned at halfway and three-quarters way up are then closed to all traffic, except for snow plows.

About three thirds of the way up is the last major overlook with a paved path leading out away from the road about a quarter-mile to a viewing platform of loose rock, boulders, and tundra. The tree line is below the ridge here and one can look down and over to peaks stretching for miles beyond, into the horizon. The Alpine  Visitors’ Center is located at the top of Trail Ridge Road at an elevation of 12,000+ feet. Longs Peak at 14,000+ ft. sits in the middle of the mountain range, viewable from this vantage point.

We parked, walked the path out to the viewing platform and waited for the sun to make its slow descent over the peaks. It was dusk and the chipmunks and marmots played and scampered about on the rocks and tundra beyond the overlook viewing platform. It was another hour before we could get these pictures at about 8:30 to 8:45 p.m. During that time we watched the clouds dissipate, form again, change and move. It is an amazing sight to see the way the clouds change in the process with colder misty ones forming below the viewing point. We took a number of pictures during our wait. These are only a few of our favorites.

For more information on Trail Ridge Road and Rocky Mountain National Park, you can find it here; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trail_Ridge_Road

Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

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