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July 14, 2014

Glendo 2014

Ahhhh, camping. My friend Nancy organizes an annual trip to Glendo State Park, a recreation area around a big ol' reservoir in the middle of Wyoming just about three hours north of here. I feel like I should dig into the geology of the region, but I also feel that I'm dehydrated and underfed and sunned and road-tripped and tired. So some pictures of grasses, instead.

I kept feeling like I should stop on the side of the road to take pictures of the grasses, gentle hills, and more grasses on the way up. I'm wondering if that Microsoft background is from Wyoming. There were some GREAT rock formations, but I couldn't be bothered to stop for them. I finally bothered here, for some hills and grasses.

[This is how I roll. Cracked windshield, tarantula mascot (thanks, Mom). (For the tarantula, not the cracked windshield.)]

[This is how a bunch of other people roll.]


[Grasses, sky, clouds. That's about probably 60 percent of Wyoming. 75?]

Like I said, the drive should take just a hair over three hours.

I was going to leave on Friday but my weeks are often (always?) hectic and I didn't have time to pack on Thursday night and the person who was going to ride up with me bailed besides. And on Friday afternoon burnt out from the week I didn't feel like being in a hurry so I had a beer after work with coworkers. And then I needed to pack and then it was 9 p.m. and then I realized / was convinced by a friend that it would be a pain to get up to Glendo that late, because it's a state park and I'd be that person driving around shining lights into tents at 1 a.m. trying to figure out where to set up, which would have likely resulted in sleeping in my car. (Not the first time.)

So I went to sleep early, so I could get up early and on the road. But then when I woke up, not exactly early, I realized there was really no pressing reason for me to rush up there. I went back to sleep, woke back up, made myself breakfast, grabbed my stuff, and went for an oil change. Oh, right, and my dashboard lights weren't working, which was another reason to not drive up at night. The main guy helping me at Grease Monkey came into the tiny waiting area with his fists on his hips. I have to come in in a Superman stance, he said, because I got your dash lights working. Turns out there's a dimmer switch. So he fixed the problem by, yes, turning the knob.

Got gas. Got out of town.

On the way, a few signs tempted me. There's an old west museum in Cheyenne, and that sounded like it could be cool. But I passed it up. (Maybe I'm in a hurry? Maybe I'm not? Do I feel like a museum? Not really...) Then another set of signs for exit 92. Historical this, historical that, and a site where you can see wagon wheel tracks from the Oregon Trail.

What?? Now *that* sounds cool, and it sounds like a site a friend who had done a massive road trip last year had told me about. (Thanks Seth.) So I exited. 15 miles. That's not a big deal, right? Okay, half and hour out of my way, at least, just for driving, but whatever. I'm here, and so are those tracks.

[The groove right by the interpretive trail.]

[People were here...]

[Another view.]

[How many wagons?]

[This rugged terrain is nothing compared to what was to come for these folks.]

[The people traveling the Oregon Trail had to navigate this land in wagons. Now, highways and golf courses. Oh, and look—geology.]

[Grasses. And more grasses.]

[Wyoming's not just about the Tetons.]

Somehow, I didn't arrive at our campground at Glendo until about 4 p.m. I'd left Boulder at 10:47 a.m. So much for three hours. What took me so long? Well, there was that stop alongside the road to take pictures, there was a stop for tonic (I had some limes hanging out at my place so the only logical thing to do was to buy a huge bottle of gin to go with them), there was the detour to the tracks, and there was a stop at the gas station right before the state park for ice and a hot dog. And an ice cream. Yes, you heard me. Ice cream and a gas-station hot dog.

I guess it all adds up.

[To the lake.]

And then.... Glendo. I've always been skeptical of Glendo. Somehow it seemed far away and not very much fun. But, I mean, look at it. A campground in the shade of trees on a big body of water to play in.

And as far as I can tell, this is mainly what happens at Glendo:

[Relaxation Station.]

That, and some reading, and eating. Drinking. Paddle boarding. Relaxing. Playing. More eating. (I was very excited about the Saturday-night potluck.) Dog-petting. Hanging out around a fire. Storytelling. Hammocking. Sleeping.

[Lumin's sunwear.]

There were three babies in the camp, and no one got a picture of them. I felt like I should have. I felt a little guilty. But I didn't feel like getting up to get my camera. I'm trying to get better with this phrase: Not my job. So, getting a picture of the babies wasn't my job, but there's little Lumin's hat, above, to represent the baby contingent.

[Tent envy? Patrick's setup on the left, mine on the right. Mine was waaaaaaay faster to take down. So there.]

I kind of wish there was another Glendo next weekend.

[Heading back out of the park.]

Sign me up for next year.

Posted by beth at 2:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 7, 2014

Colorado's Yosemite

I'm writing from the future! Sort of. I went through the trouble of uploading all these photos a while back and never actually wrote up an entry about them. It's long enough ago that I don't feel like I have much to say—lucky you—so here are some pics for you of a beautiful spot in Colorado that friends Marianne, Jane, and I stumbled upon because all the tiny river-side designated camp spots were taken along the South Platte river. We ended up driving up Deckers Road toward Little Scraggy Peak, I think, which is where we found this gem. Thank you, public lands.

[Marianne enjoying the view from camp. Tough life.]

I think I put off writing this entry because I was going to try to give some actual value added by talking about the geology of the area. Which I really know nothing about. I can tell that these are granite, which is why I called the area Colorado's Yosemite. But beyond that, I can't tell you much.

[Marianne and Jane working on dinner.]

From what I remember, we had a very nice and relaxing evening and talked a lot about apologies and how women in particular (in general) are prone to say sorry for things that they don't really need to apologize for. My view: I defended the value of an apology, or the use of "sorry," regardless of gender, even if whatever happened is not really my fault. As in, I said something that offended you because I meant it one way and you interpreted another, regardless of who's to blame for the mix-up. I say, Oh! Sorry! I meant blah blah blah (*not* "I'm sorry you interpreted it that way, but..."). Of course, I could also just say, "Oh! No! That's not what I meant!" in that circumstance, but throwing a sorry in doesn't hurt. I am, however, adamant about not apologizing for something that someone else thinks I'm at fault for where I see no wrongdoing.

We tried not to apologize to each other for things after that and it was hard.

Anyway. Camping conversations.

In the morning, thanks to Sonora, I was the first one up (not counting Sonora). We went for a lovely walk before things heated up.

According to an entry on summitpost.org, the granite in this area is part of the Pikes Peak batholith, which is the youngest granite in all of the Rockies. For what that's worth.

From what I can tell, the rocks are about 1 billion years old. Everything in Colorado is, yes, older, but looks like the granite in Yosemite is only 210 to 80 million years old.

The Pikes Peak batholith is a large magmatic intrusion that cooled deep within the Earth and then was exposed by years (like, maybe a billion) of erosion. It covers 1,300 square miles. The next biggest in Colorado, responsible for all the beautiful granite outcrops in Rocky Mountain National Park and around Estes Park, covers a mere 600 square miles. (To be characterized as a batholith, it has to be at least 40 square miles, so yes, still pretty darn big.) This from the great—though very basic—book "Messages in Stone: Colorado's Colorful Geology" by the Colorado Geological Survey.

What I *want* to know is what was going on tectonically at the time to cause this to happen. Maybe nobody knows.

After a leisurely breakfast, we all went for the same walk.

[My new chair. Throne, rather.]

[The area was ravaged by the Buffalo Creek Fire of 1996, which destroyed forest but yielded wonderfully open views.]

We turned back sooner than we would have because of one little black-furred problem. An overheated dog. It wasn't super hot out there, but apparently it was hot enough by that time. Back at the car, we got rolling quickly to get some air conditioning on but Sonora would not stop panting and trying to get up to the front seat to get closer to the air (it just wasn't making it back to us). So we detoured to the Cheeseman Reservoir. Dogs and people aren't supposed to take dips, but it seemed like a desperate enough situation. Except that Sonora refused to go in. So Marianne and I took the water to her, holding her in the shade and dumping Nalgenes of lake water over her.

It worked.

[Posted Nov. 23, 2014]

Posted by beth at 5:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack