Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Garden of the Gods: Mainly a Picture Show

(Still) Day 4 - Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, Colorado

After our morning of tempting gravity to pull our 2-ton vans down 5000' of Pike's Peak Granite, we venture on to western Colorado Springs to unwind with cold nalgenes and soft rock. Colorado BASIN soft rock (ohhh geology joke....) Anyways, we arrive at Garden of the Gods around 1PM, after eating lunch in the scalding visitor's center parking lot, and after visiting the welcoming center. (Beware: this is not the first time we'll stop by a visitor's center before actually visiting the attraction.)

The Garen of the Gods stop is a series of tremendous, near vertical or completely vertical tipping bedrock monoliths protruding upwards. Aside from one bright white limestone piece, many orange and deep pinkish-tan sandstone outcrops (with outrageous sedimentary structures) surround you as you enter the park. I believe the rocks are Paleozoic, but my rite-in-the-rain notebook is currently drying in the dining room right now. Anyways, on to more pitcures.

Les Hasbargen in Super-Geologist-Photo Mode
Vertical Bedrock=Drool
Sedimentary Structures worth Killing For
Something happened riiiiiight here...
Don't tell my geo-colleagues I took pictures of a dicot...I mean plant..
And this.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pikes Peak (or) I'm Going to Die, Volume 1

Day 4
Pikes Peak, Colorado

So we got up pretty early to take a ride up to Pikes Peak. Thinking that it would be a typical up-mountain tredge in our beastly Chevy 3500 Vans, and obviously tainted by my assumption that this meager 14,000' peak would be just like negotiating Whiteface Mountain (4600') of the Adirondacks.

I was wrong.

The ride up was devastating. Switchbacks all the way up, for about 14 miles I believe, all with near-vertical cliffs at every hairpin turn. Not to mention, coming around every corner there seemed to be rock outcroppings just high enough to obscure the view from the vans. Also, it doesn't help when your driver is a rubber-necking geology professor more interested in the surrounding mountains than his own well-being.

Our first stop was at a visitor's center about 30% up the mountain by a nice body of water known as Crystal Creek Reservoir.

A little later we stopped once again, a stop which was probably induced by personal comfort issues (gasses expand at higher altitudes, including the ones inside you) at Glen Cove. From here you can see a heavily jointed rock face, as to be expected in this part of the country, but also, what seems suspiciously like a rock glacier...

To see the magical rock glacier, look in between the trees in the center of the photograph. I have not found any published information on rock glaciers at Pikes Peak, but it's still kind of a new field. This looks quite a bit like those developed in the highlands of Maine which remain active in movement during the summer months when temperatures can fall below freezing.

Moving on. On to the Peak itself! From here you'll see a few typecast tourist-rockhound photos. But they're still rad, so check them out.

Looking out over Colorado Springs vicinity.

Some much tougher grasses than myself...

A hungry fox...

Rockhounding some Pike's Peak Granite

Scientists at play...

...and water and rocks, at the same time...

Coming up next: Day 4 Part 2 - Garden of the Gods

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Getting it Started Again

So it's been about two weeks since we returned from the Western trip, and I figure it's about time to start posting again. I plan on doing a day-by-day kind of this, but for the sake of boredom I will sum up the first three travel days into one post, rather than three.

Day 1 - Oneonta-Enon Beach, Ohio

Upon arriving at our (meth lab) campsite in Enon beach, Ohio, camp spirits are high. Everyone is getting to know each other, though the vans were semi-segregated so far (geology in one van, bio-ecology in the other, including professors.) We decided to time our tent-setting-up, but gave up after 10 minutes (we got better after this one day, we just forgot how to be decent human beings for one day).

Like I said, camp spirits are high, at least until dinner shows up...


Meanwhile, Ross, Brenden and Ryan are out getting a 30 rack of Miller High Life...


And Ducks:

Day 2 - Enon Beach, Ohio - Clinton Lake, Kansas

Definitely an improvement on the previous campsite. The drive was truly awful, sitting 3-a-seat from 7am-4pm, but camp spirits remain in good form, and the campsite is actually really nice. There is a reservoir nearby, and the pseudo-sunset offered some good dusk photography. Not much else to report, however, so here's some more pictures yayyy...

A common Bluet...though not blue at all:

A nice dusk shot of a bass condominium:

Day 3 - Clinton Lake, Kansas - Colorado Springs, Obvious (Getting Close!)

The excitement grows as we enter the Great(er) Plains of North America and venture into the territory of Pronghorn and Mule Deer. It's a welcome sight fore sore eyes of plains cottonwood leaves and a few insects.

Once we arrive in the greater Colorado Springs area, everything changes. Mountains rise up again, and us New Yorkers find solace in the fact there there's still snow atop Pike's Peak (just kidding..,or am I.) Also, it's taco night, and I'm cooking!

Next Up: Pike's Peak, Garden of the Gods