Painted Desert

Painted Desert

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Taking the air

Many small excursions in the past couple weeks... I will start with a couple sights from downtown Golden.

Where else can you get ski wear and wedding dresses in one place?

I had talked about devoting a blog entry to the statues of Golden, but at the time I took this it seemed much more interesting to me... just pictures of the placards, and let my audience imagine the statues. But that might be a bit too perverse. So I leave you with just the above. (Imagine the cowboy!)

I had to go into downtown Denver last week to pick up my new computer monitor, which will allow me to use my desktop computer. I had bought the new LCD monitor from an ebay seller in Denver so that I wouldn't have to pay the $25 shipping fee, but I did have to go into town to pick it up. So I took some pictures too.

The Denver public transportation agency has bikes for rental. I did actually see a few people riding these bikes around town, but I can't imagine them being terribly useful. Surely any errands that could be accomplished with that tiny basket would be better accomplished with a canvas tote and a bus pass.

Speaking of public transportation...

Union Station, which exhorts you in neon to Ride the Train!

Also, a guy walking a goat. This is not strictly transportation, but is interesting.

Because of the thin air up here, not only is it harder for me to climb a mountain, it is harder for carbureted vehicles to climb mountains. My car has a carburetor and predictably lacks power at this altitude. (Well, some might say it lacks power at any altitude, but those people probably own cars made after the 1980s.) After being informed by the shop that getting the air/fuel mixture adjusted would probably not be worth the cost, I took it for a test drive just to see if I could get over the high mountain passes at all, so as to plan my future excursions.

This is Loveland Pass, on the continental divide, at about 12,000 feet. After my car made it up to the pass it turned off without permission, but it was otherwise okay. The continental divide is the line that separates the part of North America that drains to the Atlantic (and Gulf of Mexico) from the part that drains to the Pacific (and Gulf of California). The divide runs along mountain ridges from north to south, vaguely, and in theory, if I were to spit on the east side, my spit would seep into the ground, travel as groundwater to a stream that would eventually empty into a tributary of the Mississippi and end up in the Gulf of Mexico. If I were to spit on the west side here, my spit would find its way to the Colorado River and into the Gulf of California. In reality, though, it's so dry here that my spit would probably evaporate before it got very far into the ground. But it's a nice thought experiment.

Some views from Loveland Pass:

It had been a hot day in Golden, but boy, it must have been in the 50s up there. All I had was a t-shirt and shorts so I didn't stay too long.

My car is not the only carbureted vehicle in my life. Thing 1 and Thing 2, our government ATVs, are also carbureted and, as you will recall, were not performing well on their first outing at the landslide. So we had the shop change the jets... I gather that these are the things that squirt the right amount of gas into the carburetor... and took them to Jones Pass, which is also on the continental divide. We couldn't go all the way to the pass because it was still so snowy.

Alas, the ATVs still weren't doing that well. My fellow intern and I hiked up to a ridgeline for lunch and he took one of the now-obligatory pictures of me at the top:

It was very steep climbing up here, so steep that while standing on the side of the mountain you could reach your arm out horizontal and nearly touch the grass as it sloped up in front of you. I felt like I was climbing Watership Down. For some reason I had it in my head that going down would be easier, but of course, it was not. I slid down a significant portion of it, some on purpose, some not. I walked like a crab down some of it. At one point, exhausted, I paused to record my thoughts:

At one point I made it over to a steep patch of snow and decided it would be a good idea to slide down it on my butt. This turned out to be very wet and dirty. However, it did work:

Here we are looking up at my slide marks from the stand of trees into which I crashed.

The area at the foot of the trail is owned by a mining company; I admired their sign, so here you are (click for detail):

On Sunday I ventured into downtown Denver once more, this time by bus. It is about a 25 minute car ride to downtown but almost an hour by bus, and it is $2, but I wasn't sure how parking was going to be. This weekend was the Denver PrideFest, and here I would like to entertain you with dozens of photos of people in fantastic costumes and make-up doing crazy things. However, I managed to miss the parade, and the rest of the day was mostly a sort of normal-looking party:

albeit with lots of rainbow items. I do have a shot of young men dancing on pedestals in their underwear, which I will dutifully share...

...however, and I say this with some incredulity, I was there for hours and there was really not very much worth taking a picture of. I also say with some incredulity that I had a great time, despite not knowing anyone or talking to hardly anyone, just sort of wandering around for hours not taking pictures. Well, everyone else was having fun, but this made me cheerful rather than lonely. Plus, there were an extraordinary number of good-looking people there (despite the sentiment of this classic from the Cheezburger network), many of whom were not wearing very much, and, well. It was free.

Oh, I do have this video of people square dancing...

I'm not sure which is the oddest part of this video: the wigs, the use of the word "lady" by the caller, or the guy passed out in front of the camera:

So that was that, and that would be the end of the story were it not for the adventure that evening, which did not involve a camera, but did involve a bar, two dance clubs and a bicycle rickshaw ride from a man named Benny Mailman, who said that the bicycle rickshaw could fit four people but this is a Lie, it really only fits two. Comfortably. I'm not sure what else I can say about this that will make sense, except that Benny Mailman also works as a comedian in L.A. and comes to Denver when he needs to make money (ride in bicycle rickshaw = $2 a block), and that there are no seat belts in a bicycle rickshaw. Also that I sort of made friends, though I don't know whether I'll see any of these women again.

Then the other night I took a hike up Green Mountain for Sunset... this is a low rounded mountain between me and Denver, it has no trees on top and looks like an attractive green bowl turned upside-down. Well, this time of year it's green... I gather the general area is brownish for most of the year.

And finally, one more adventure today, in which we took Thing 1 and Thing 2 back to Jones pass after they had their jets (and something called "needles") changed yet again.

Here our are scallawags, ready for some action at last. They may finally be suitable to haul a hundred pounds of concrete up a mountain. Tomorrow I am going back into the field where we will work an 80-hour week, then I am planning to visit Katie for my birthday (she is working in southern CO), and when I finally recover from all that I will have more stories and pictures.

1 comment:

Mom said...

Beautiful phoyography, as always.