We arrived in nearly white out conditions; shortly afterwards the sun and the clouds took turns filling the sky above us.
Sunset light on storm clouds makes for great highlights in forest pictures. The next shot I took when the cloud obscured the sun was a dull and flat picture by comparison.
A fully furnished kitchen and table settings made the meal on par with going out to eat at a nice restaurant.
The next day dawned crystal clear. The three skiers hit the slopes while I hit the freshly plowed road looking for great photo opportunities.
The wind was eye watering hard and cold.
Some times the wind blown powdery snow filled the air around me like a fast moving fog that scoured the skin from my face.
Random gusts would hit various trees at various time, causing them to explode like a blown upon spent dandelion.
The sculpting continued before my eyes; a section would blur with the wind for a moment, the assume a new design. I thought this drift looked like a part of an angel's wing.
I couldn't imagine what turbulence formed these complex snow designs. The twists and curves: were they the work of a whirl wind?
Remember the cartoon plot line staple of the snowball rolling down the hill and becoming so huge that it over takes the cartoon character?
Perhaps I should have stopped to check to see if someone was trapped in the middle of this runaway snow ball!
As I drove down the mountain, I began to see incredible shapes that we had not seen in the white out drive up the night before.
When switched to black and white the scene is even more mysterious.
(Add in a jet flying over head and I can almost imagine a science fiction movie set here.)
Like many people, I tend to see shapes that remind me of something.
Does anyone else see a Persian cat perched up atop this rock formation?
As I drove I could see bits of red rock peeking out in the distance. Finally I found a side road and began to travel in to the red rock areas.
It makes me happy to see the vermilion soil in one place and yellow soil else where, and some gray behind it all. So what exactly is the color of dirt anyway?
Isn't dirt kind of like sky? Sometimes sky is grey, sometimes it is red, and sometimes it is almost a pale yellow too.
I saw a large fish being followed by a smaller fish, and a salamander sitting off to the side down below.
Now I do not know exactly where an air force base might have been, but obviously there was some kind of flight pattern overhead. The jets were silent, yet constantly passing through my vistas.
Does anyone else see a somewhat reptilian form standing?
I barely went farther the edge of the road to take all these pictures.
My car, parked on some lingering snow. I was very glad for all wheel drive as there was no cell phone coverage in the area, and if I got stuck in the snow I would be completely on my own.
The road was creatively named "Five Mile Road".
I am guessing it is like, um....maybe five miles long?
Do you see a Tiki god off to the left?
Or what do think you see?
(While it is nice to be driving around all alone so I can stop as often as I please and gawk as long as I wish, sometimes I miss having someone else to chat with about the images that were seen.)
I did take one very short off road trail; hiking no more than five minutes in.
I just wanted to get close to the red rock walls, wanted to see them up close for a change.
A few dried flowers hinted to me that come spring there would be colorful flora to hunt down in the area too.
Noah's Ark Trail?
How fun! There must be some crazy cool rock formations to see up the way.
Can't do it today...won't hike alone, and there is probably too much snow on the trail right now anyway.
North facing scenes are so hard to photograph. I waited until the sun sunk down low and at last lit up just the jutting edges of the rocks.
It was close to 4 pm, and I hadn't eaten since breakfast. That *might* have been why I just kept seeing pastry with drizzled white icing as I took these shots.
The whole time I was in the canyon I only saw one person; a woodsman cutting logs accompanied by his dog. We nodded and said hello, when I came back down the road he was loading his truck with beautiful evenly cut long logs.
When I started shooting these scenes, inching my car along to focus on the views with the best lighting, suddenly cars started appearing with people of all ages heading up the road.
They barely glanced at the scenery but each driver seemed to take a good long stare at me.
Really, I was parked each stop as far off the road as possible, yet they looked at me like I was parked totally in their way.
(Sometimes it is fun to fiddle around with the saturation and shadow feature in Picasa to make a picture look kind of trippy.)
(Can you understand now why I had to keep stopping every couple of feet to take a different perspective of the snow trimmed red rocks?)
I got back to the condo about the same time as the skiers. They were peeling off their gear and heading for the condo complex jacuzzi and sauna.
Of course I had to join them. We had the jacuzzi pool to all to ourselves. We chatted over our days and after we were limp and light headed from our soak, we got out and wrapped up in towels to walk back to our condo.
The pool deck and walls were all made from cedar; it smelled wonderful in the hot moist air.
It is just too bad that wet feet had made the wooden step wet, and too bad that I was the one to slip and land on my hip, elbow, knee and ribs beneath my arms.
I am pretty sure I couldn't connect all those points on my body on to stairs again, even if I tried.
Oh boy did it hurt, and worse, the bruised ribs made breathing the 10,000 feet high air even more difficult than before.
Pizza was ordered for dinner so I could stay in and stay on some heavy pain killers.
I slept poorly that night, but that didn't stop me from heading out the next day again, going to explore the sights in a new direction.
(To be continued.)