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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Strolling By Woods On Glorious Autumn Morn

Can we all agree, for the sake of argument, that if everyone was in agreement about everything there would be little reason for discourse, and even less reason to get out of bed? As soon as you completely agree with me or I with you, one or both of us is going to nod off. So please, let's just disagree to agree. Can I get an amen?  

Yesterday morning broke calm and cloudy and far too warm for the last day of September. Certainly Ms Autumn is in no rush this year, which is fine with me because I love her fall attire. 

We decided to check out the foliage up Dexter Creek Trail, a hike that Bobbie and I couldn't agree as to what year we were there last nor about just how far we went. I know better than to challenge her hundred terabyte RAM, so I kept my opinion on the hush hush. We got a late start, but Dexter is only a convenient 5 minute drive from home.

A boiler gives way to rust just a half mile up Dexter Creek. We could see that it was once housed in a small brick building not much bigger that the boiler. Imagine how hot it would be in there…  

To be honest, nothing up Dexter looked familiar… not even the unforgettable mining ruins. So I began to think that the last time I hiked Dexter must have been way back, like when we lived in Montrose in the 80's or early 90's. 

Two doors for coal feed

It seemed strange that we hadn't hiked Dexter Creek Trail since moving to Ouray, particularly during fall, as it winds through a mostly aspen forest. 

More mining ruins further up the trail

It was a quiet hike. Bobbie and I often put some distance between ourselves so as to better experience the solitude and woods… me, pausing to photograph, her, to identify flowers or plants. We try to rendezvous every hour or so to see how we're doing and make sure everything is ok. 

After a little over three miles, aspens began to give way to dark timbered spruce and fir. Pitter pats of rain began to fall so we took shelter under pine bows next to a creek…  listening… feeling our bodies' sensual relaxation response to the sound, sight, smell, and touch of Nature and solitude. An elk bugled out long and hard, staking his territory and harem.    

We were but a mile from a ridge line that our map said offered prime views of Courthouse, Precipice, Dunsinane, and Sneffels mountains. But on the heels of a long bike ride the day before, my legs were not "feeling it." Sometimes less is more.

Edward Abbey said it take two weeks of camping away from civilization before one can start to unwind from societal anxieties enough to begin to connect with Nature. Imagine the psychological, emotional, physical—spiritual?—benefits of extending one's immersion into wilderness and solitude, not having a deadline to meet, a job to rush back to, a house to tend, an appointment to keep, an argument to be won. 

Is that kind of life even possible anymore? Abbey certainly longed for it later in life. The more well known he became, the more he wanted to disappear into the wild… hunt his own food, write in his journal, and ponder the reason for existence. He tired of the rejection and revision and reviews involved in writing for money, his chosen avocation because, "What else can a Philosophy major do?"    

"Miner's Cardolite." We assumed this old bucket contained some chemical that burned and provided light from the front of miner's hats. 

Another mine site further up Dexter Creek

The "outhouse" was still standing

The above photo is a Panorama, scroll →


  1. Amen-- another nice hike-- never gets old-- Walden creek RV

  2. It has been over thirty years since we hiked Dexter. So beautiful. Thanks for sharing. We really need to visit the area again.

  3. Beautiful scenery!! Such a pleasant change from the flatlands of the Panhandle of OK.
    It still amazes me how such equipment could be hauled into the high country!!
    Thanks for the tour.
    Don in Okla.

  4. Absolutely stunning photos. When we first got to Ridgway/Ouray in the first week of September, we thought, and were told by you and others I think, we might be a bit early for "color". Solution? Stay longer, which we did. As we finally pulled up stakes in Ridgway and headed above Ouray to Red Mountain on our way south to Durango, we struck "gold"...and yellows...even swatches of orange. Entire valleys and mountain sides. Next time, we hike Dexter Creek.

  5. MESSAGE TO BOBBIE: OMG! I just stumbled on to your BobbieJohnsonArt blog. Although we were aware that you did watercolors, we had NO IDEA. Very impressive. I'm no critic, but I know what I like. And I like all of what you do. I showed your site to Sharon, and she said "Wow!". You really ARE the water color artist that you wanted to be professionally, or otherwise. I noticed you were selling originals (I think). You might consider selling prints on a mass scale. Or maybe even a portfolio book.

    1. Well, you made someone's day with that comment :)

  6. "Edward Abbey said it take two weeks of camping away from civilization before one can start to unwind from societal anxieties enough to begin to connect with Nature." I can only hope it only takes two weeks beginning Oct. 5.

  7. Doesn't matter what the season...aspens always steal the show! Love that yellow!

  8. Damn fine fall color, but I disagree with you on everything else :)

  9. Can I get an amen? NO - I disagree!

  10. Oh, you are killing me with those golden aspens! But then, I would have to disagree with myself and say the header photo is the more rewarding of the two. ;-)

  11. I can relate to Abbey! And what wonderful pics you showed us again. Autumn IS beautiful.


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