Archive for the ‘mountains’ Tag

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)

Rocky Mountain’s High

A view of Long's Peak in the Rocky Mountains from Estes Park, Colorado

A view of Long’s Peak in the Rocky Mountains from Estes Park, Colorado, Photo credit; Joyce E. Johnson

ROCKY MOUNTAIN’S HIGH

Majestic, symbolic, touching near and far

in splendor each peak with

towering summits each speak

Of solid mass and might

commanding attention, they affect

park visitors that journey,

traveling through their portals high.

They stop to capture all its glory

focused through camera lens,

their eyes now scoping a huge black raptor,

his loud call proclaiming ownership to its prey.

It soars through void and space

shattering the solitude with ascent,

honoring the skies with its grace.

A climber grasps to reach

a pinnacle to the high

struggling through their efforts

with gasping and with sigh.

Then perched atop

what stretches far and wide

gazing over to the sights

of the Continental Divide.

Lodge Pole Pines grow thick beside

a mass of Douglass Fir and Spruce,

trees that cover the mountain’s side

stops where the tundra’s

soft moss bed lies,

rich with colors, green and blue.

Cold winds blow, the air is chilled

Aspen leaves turn a golden hue.

dropping quickly to the ground.

Layers of snow and ice soon cling

to the mountain slopes’ thick white fields.

Layers that repeat through winter months

with each snowfall, the skiers come,

leaving their tracks upon the slopes

until it warms and the sun melts all,

and the runoff begins, and the rivers flow.

All who come seeking their own experience here

will take away their memories of these

awe-inspiring peaks.

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Joyce E. Johnson © 2016

 


Rocky Mountain National Park – 100 years

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This year (2015) marks the 100th year since RMNP opened and declared a national park in 1915. We live in Loveland which is only about thirty miles from the park entrance and every time we go up we are in awe at all there is to enjoy and photograph. Longs Peak (14,000 + ft.) and other mountain peaks, their majestic beauty, the wildlife, and wonders of nature and environment always makes us so thankful for what we have in our own ‘neck of the woods’ to the west.

No matter what kind of storms or situations come such as the devastating flood in 2013 that washed away so much of the pristine natural areas  we find that in time nature restores and replenishes all, eventually. Much of it returns and comes back in a new or different way like the re-channeled Big Thompson River. Work is still being done on roads, campgrounds, and monumental markers of significance that was affected during the flood. RMNP and the town of Estes Park has seen record attendance this last summer bringing in the much-needed revenue to fund and support the projects still in construction. But, whatever the storm took from us there will always be the magnificent awe-inspiring mountains that welcomes visitors each year, and us who live near them who never tire from seeing all God has created for us to enjoy.

For more information on Rocky Mountain National Park and the 100th anniversary celebration you can find it here

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Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

Another place we call ‘home’

 

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A young deer near the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, Colorado

Bright and wild they grow

raising petals to the sun

dotting mountain sides

where game graze and run

through green fields of early dew

and nature thrives where abides

all things living, old and new.

It is a place where deer roam

the peaks on which the mountain stands;

Deercrest, a place we call, ‘home.’

__________________________

Footnotes: Deercrest is the name we gave our four-acre lot of mountain property located 32 miles northwest of Fort Collins, Colorado in a mountain resort community called Glacier View Meadows.  We have had our property there for over twenty years now and though we live in Loveland this is our other ‘home’ where we love to get away, and  enjoy the quiet and peaceful mountain air and rugged,  natural environment.

Joyce E. Johnson (2014)

COPING WITH REALITY – The wildfires in northern Colorado

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Coping with reality is often one of the most difficult things to do. One can only wish it was fiction, like the fiction I have written and shared on this blog site. But, life happens. Not all of it pretty. Not all of it sane. And in the aftermath of destruction, or chaos to see if there was any good that came from it maybe depends on one’s perspective. But, when we cannot see any, God can, and the future beyond it, if we believe there is a reason and purpose in His plan.

I will use the illustration of an event happening this week where  my husband and I, and our family live. Wildfire, the worst our county has ever seen has been raging through our region and mountains here in northern Colorado. We have waited through this entire week to see if the fires would spread further, hoping it would be contained. We remain hopeful that beauty will come forth from the ashes and embers burning our beloved Rockies. This is one of those difficult things to deal with, as I hope and pray for the rain to come and a rainbow to burst through the smoke-filled skies with a promise that God will bring new growth, lush  green trees, tall and erect, to our spacious beautiful mountains again. Colorado is my birthplace, a place I have always felt my true home although I have lived in other states and regions.

The devastating pine beetle infestation on the trees and their destruction is the only good thing I can think of that is the good to come from the fires. But, the destruction of homes and property where people have built their lives, raised families, or even just taken their families to picnic, camp out, climb a peak, or take a rafting trip down the Cache La Poudre River may be but only memories pushed back into history.

My husband and I own property in a part that sits in wait right now to see if it will be spared. We have had our lot in Glacier View Meadows for over twenty years now. Our grandchildren were just babies when we took them up there with us to enjoy the camp-out, campfires, smores, hikes, and family outings. The remains of five (dogs) of our family’s pets are even buried up on our lot. They all loved the wide open space, and roamed it, as did we all, enjoying Spring rains that preceded the blooming of beautiful wildflowers in the summer, strong winds that blew the smell of our fragrant Cedar trees, Douglass fir, and Ponderosa pines across the mountain’s landscape, and fresh, deep snows that promised a good supply of run off in our streams and rivers. It was ‘postcard’ picture perfect and we relished every picture of our secondary home and family refuge. Our collection of pictures and videos show it all the way it once was before the fire. But, the way we imagine it can look after the fire is one implanted in our minds and hearts we don’t want to keep, but have to cope with. It is reality.

So, we wait. And we keep praying: for the protection of the firefighters and rescue crews, for the wild life and animals, pets – large and small – to make it down and out of harms way, and for the homeowners’ homes to be spared. But, that is not the case as many have lost their homes in the fires. One life has been lost in the fire. We are thankful there has not been more. Homes can be rebuilt, new trees planted or regrown from seedlings popping up months later. But, there is no replacing a loved one lost, or a pet that lived a part of its life with one, now gone. 

Chaos, and catastrophic events ordained or allowed by God cannot be explained. One cannot know when to expect them, or even how to be prepared for them. But, we can be ready to go regardless our fate when we know the one who holds our destiny in His hands. It is ultimately in His control, and we must just deal with it, coping with it the best we can. I am thankful I know my Redeemer lives. It is what makes the coping with reality not easy, but more bearable. And it is with Him where I count it my real home, one day.

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