Colorado Travels

A few years ago, I traveled with friends to Colorado in the fall to paint. This year, I wanted to visit early in the wildflower season, when the peaks are still white with snow. Richard and I wanted to test our (relatively) new Highlander hybrid as a Road Trip Artmobile. I had never before been to Mesa Verde National Park or seen the spires of Monument Valley. Our road trip took us to these remarkable areas. We were able to climb down into Cliff Palace and feel where the early Pueblo Natives resided a millenia ago. The complexity of the carved architecture in the cliff alcoves was quite impressive. As the temperature rose, we took a ride on the narrow gauge railroad from Durango to Silverton. We headed to the cooler mountains, going from Durango’s 6500′ altitude to Crested Butte at 8800′ gave 15 degrees relief!

Mountain Larkspur-12x16 Crested Butte
Mountain Larkspur 12×16 Crested Butte

I was not disappointed with the majestic scenes offered by the Rocky Mountains. Our base for 4 days in Crested Butte allowed us to access hiking trails above 9 and 10,000 feet elevation, passing through meadows of lupine and larkspur. We also found waterfalls plummeting down cliffsides from the snow melt up high. Beauty was everywhere.

RMNP Big Horn Sheep
RMNP Big Horn Sheep
RMNP Moose
RMNP Moose

We went on to Rocky Mountain National Park, and our first morning there we watched numerous Elk, Bighorn Sheep, and Moose grazing in the wet meadows. We did 3 short hikes that day. I accomplished several paintings over the next 2 days, as Richard took short hikes, photographed, and read. (Wildlife photos here are each by Richard. He had a close encounter with a female moose at one picnic table – no photo, he chose to remain very, very still!)

RMNP Elk, 6-8 foot antler span (estimated!)

Rain comes frequently in the afternoons in this high country, so I have a few more brush strokes to put on these paintings. Sprinkles, rain, then sleet, I have learned to pack up quickly!

These Colorado paintings will be ready by our Open Studio tour in October, if not sooner.

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