Vista from Chimney Rock, CO (20) Bob Leverett
June 25, 2009


I've attached two images taken from sacred Chimney Rock near Pagosa Springs, Colorado, former land of the enigmatic Anasazi. The first image looks directly down and the second looks toward the horizon. The land below the pinnacle is covered in sparse stands of Ponderosa Pine, Pinyon Pine, and Utah Juniper. There is a scattering of Blue Spruce (I think) in the upper elevations, but not on the summits - too dry. There may be some Southwestern White Pine sprinkled around. I'll be on the lookout.  Across to distant ridges the stands become thick. In the valley, n ear streams, the ubiquitous narrow leaf cottonwood and box elder team up to keep the stream banks cool. There are many interesting shrubs intermixed with the bonafide tree species to include a sumac that doesn't look like any sumac in the East - alas, the danger of common names. More to come on the shrubs.
What never ceases to attract me to western landscapes is the visibility of the geologic processes. One plainly sees the evidence of past folding, faulting, sedimentation, and vulcanism. The impacts are revealed in stunning clarity. It is much more difficult to see evidence of these processes in the heavily wooded East. 
From an artistic perspective, the western landscape presents a palette of choices to suit any discerning nature taste. I like all the choices, but I am especially drawn to the breadth of colors one beholds especially in the Southwest. In Southwestern Colorado one is treated to the pastels and multiple shades of green against the ever present expanse of blue sky and the brilliant white of the clouds. It is a bigger than life landscape. I never feel hemmed in. For me, there is nothing so satisfying as to stand on a high ridge and gaze toward a distant horizon of snowcapped summits, building up through lower ridges covered with trees and presenting exposed rock faces and long ledges of red, orange, yellow and white sandstone. I first drink that in and then turn my gaze downward to a sweeping, green valley with a meandering river. Folks, it just doesn't get much better than that. Sheesh, what's in this coffee I'm drinking?


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