Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Where's Waldo?

At one point in time this blog was about me and my travels with Homey.  Much running to keep my rather rambunctious and (at times) quite destructive Golden Retriever too tired to do anything foolish.  Running with him was something of a stop and start affair until around mile 3 or so and then he'd settle into a rhythm and could go for hours.  

I have stopped running with him in Bolivia, in part because I don't trust the dog-life around here, and in part because he's starting to lose a gear.  He'll join me when I run laps of the back yard, but tags in and out almost like he and Ella are running a relay.  

Anyway, in my previous life, I worked in the Geology Department at the University of Colorado.  My task was to create a series of videos which showed the geologic history of the state. Occasionally, this allowed me to take off with my camera and collect “media” for incorporation into my work. One day, I took advantage of that opportunity to head out and drive around the Eastern Plains, visit Garden of the Gods, look at some exposures of quite old (for Colorado) sedimentary rocks on Hwy 24 West of Manitou Springs, and finally end up at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.  

An example of the videos I was working on is below.  I wrote, directed, animated (all but 2 scenes - the good stuff is Nataly's younger brother's work), provided many photographs and the voice talent, edited and uploaded this video.   One of the photographs I took on this day's drive ended up in this video - the photo labeled "near Manitou Springs, Colorado" which was, in actuality, the now infamous Waldo Canyon.
After the the Fossil Beds, I headed back toward CO Springs when...on the lefthand side...a trailhead whizzed by - Waldo Canyon Trailhead.  I still had a fair bit of time left in the day, and I was wearing my running shoes so, I found a turn around and made my way back to there.

As usual, Jackson was absolutely stoked at the prospect of getting out of the car.  Especially on twisty roads, he gets carsick.  Weird malady for a dog, but his previous owners warned us about it.  "He doesn't do well in cars," I believe was their exact phrase.  I assumed that the thrill of exploring a new area outweighed the pain of twisty roads.  

We'd already been out and about at Garden of the Gods and outside of Manitou, but this was too good to pass up.  We parked, I grabbed my little Nikon Coolpix, 40 oz. Clean Canteen and headed up the trail.  Jackson dressed as a dog, and me in jeans.  Whatever - one of the joys of running is just how little you need to be able to enjoy an outing such as this one.

The "Waldo Canyon Loop" was really a lariat in the neighborhood of 7 miles long.  It started with a decent singletrack climb over decomposed Pikes Peak Granite.  One of my favorite running formats and surfaces.  We stopped for many pictures and I didn't have my GPS, but I do remember turning left at the beginning of the Loop portion of the trail.  

I remember running through a very pleasant copse of Douglas Fir or Ponderosa Pine where the earth was recognizable dirt and the trail just begged one to open up the throttle and run.  

And I also remember the shock I felt when I ran past a signpost planted next to the rocks.  It turned out to be one of many, each with something else interesting about the geology in the canyon.  

One pointed out the Great Non-conformity.  The sign showed where sandstone rested on top of granite, and pointed out that the surface which separated the 2 rock types represented a gap in time of something like 500 million years.  Another identified the Peerless Dolomite.  I think I remember that one because the name of the formation is simply unmatched. There were others, but I don't remember them well...

At different junctures along the trail, Pikes Peak was visible to the South and Colorado Springs to the East.  A really cool area I hoped to visit again with my DSLR.

Unfortunately, my memories are fuzzy - Homey and I ran together here in late January, 2008 - and "Waldo Canyon" is now synonymous with the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history. I expect that even though the rocks are now going to have even better exposure, it will be a rather inhospitable place for quite some time.  I wonder how long it will be before the organization that stewards the land back in there re-opens it.   

Thanks for reading, and give a nod to your local emergency services personnel, would love to see some of them around here...

1 comment:

  1. Funny that the title is Where's Waldo...I just saw a Where's Waldo joke picture of a grave stone with just 'Waldo' on it in large let me read your'll just take a minute or two...
    But that wildfire was definitely not funny. It was so sad to hear about the destruction of the area. The earth will recover (and hopefully in our running lifetime), but hopefully the people impacted by them will soon recover.


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