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Where not all roads less traveled are roads...

Header Photo: Table Mountain, Golden, Colorado, with views of downtown Denver.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

One Last Fall Album, On The Eve of Departure


A curve missed between between Durango and Lovely Ouray is the last mistake some drivers make. Carry just a little too much speed into a switchback, maybe hit some loose gravel or a patch of black ice in the wrong spot and you're in big double trouble. I'm intrigued by the automobile carnage left to rust away at the bottom of un-guardrailed portions of The Million Dollar Highway.


Twisted. Mutilated beyond recognition. Ghastly half-buried compound fractured metallic limbs protrude from red rocks and soil like something out of the mind of Poe or King. I don't know if the occupant(s) of the above vehicle survived. The car's deformed remains makes identification nearly impossible; there is hardly one square foot of metal that's not creased, caved, or crushed to smithereens. It would take a forensic automobile aficionado to identify this "body," maybe even a little DNA. It must have rolled and rolled and rolled—tumbled side-over-side and end-over-end for what must have seemed like an eternity. I can't imagine. 

Snowplow drivers risk this fate daily (and nightly) every winter. Over the years, several have been carried to a death by avalanche. You think about the random uncertainty of Life more when navigating The Million Dollar Highway during winter, on your way to play under "eves" cocked and loaded with a billion tons of snow.

We stopped at the "played-out" Idarado Mine a few miles down on the Ouray side of Red Mountain Pass in order to wander through a collection of old teetering mine shacks. Now vacant relics from the past, they once vibrated with life's essentials... hustle, hardship, and hope. Inside one room I found lockers laying in disarray, purposely ripped from the wall then left behind as though, "Aw, the hell with it." File cabinets with once important information—type-written on some vintage Royal with an inked ribbon—lay toppled, their drawers hanging out like dog tongues. I could almost hear the Royal's clack, clack, clacks, see a harried secretary with piles of paperwork on her desk shunning flirty hard rock miners, all competing for her attention as they passed her door on their way to uncertainty—ore cars that they would ride thousands of feet under-mountain. 

A chipmunk stood frozen amid broken window glass, as if measuring the odds of whether I would throw him a snack, or make a snack out of him. In a blink he was gone, suggesting he might live to die of old age, unlike most miners that once peered through the very same glass when it was whole, still puttied neatly into the window frame.




















17 comments:

  1. That there's one a them Chevy Chryslomercury Fleetwoods if I'm not mistaken. That or a Smart Car.

    Still greatly enjoying your words, pictures, and wisdom.

    - Joe

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    1. Bless you, Joe…try not to spoil those grandkids too much :)

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  2. Damn, those fall colors are killing me. This is the first year we're missing the yellowing of the Aspens and oh, how I love that brilliant yellow. Thank goodness I have your blog to take me there.

    Nina

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    1. Repayment for letting me tag along with you to the PNW… but I'm a desert rat too; so get us out of the cold and fog real soon !!!
      mark

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  3. Just absolutely breathtaking! I love the reflective shots the mostest today.

    I consider myself kind of an aficionado of rust and chrome by running the Internet for Hubs and his "in progress" lifetime project of restoration of a '57 Chrysler Imperial ~ yah, it's a beast! It had sat in a Kansas pasture for over 20 years after its life of use when he actually paid money for it, hired two wreckers to put it on a flatbed and brought it home... It keeps him out of my hair!

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    1. It's come to that, has it? :))
      We men will keep our mouth shut about "Girl Things" if you gals will let us have a toy or two :))
      Funny comment, but you didn't identify the wreckage???
      mark

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  4. Don't see how anybody could have walked away from that wreck. Absolutely no guess on the car but love the old house. Sure wish someone would come in and give it a new life among that gorgeous scenery. Really enjoying your fall pictures. Those yellows are screaming......next up, snow.

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    1. Our focus will now turn from yellow to red…lookout Utah.
      mark

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  5. Those two reflection photos are amazing! Awesome job, Mark!

    We are hoping to get back to the fall color at Great Basin NP next week. With the altitude we might be just in time.

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    1. I know there are aspen in Great Basin, higher up. Might be some snow too!
      mark

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  6. That spot where that wreck sits....that ain't looking like any highway. Rather a spot for a boondocks night.

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    1. Unfortunately, you have to walk in…so bring a boondocking tent :))
      mark

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  7. I can read your blog, but the pics are taking too long to load due to the slow internet. Safe travels to Utah, I love the colors in Utah. The North Rim is a great place to be, but I like the colors of Utah better than the GC and can't wait to get back that way.

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  8. I do hope you write a book some day and let us know when you do.

    Thank you for sharing the incredible fall beauty around you. Post cards, calendar shots, whatever...your photos are worthy of some serious recognition!

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  9. I so agree with Lisa...the lake pictures are the prettiest lake pictures I have ever seen...incredible!

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