Colorado Photography of the American West

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25 February 2009

Canadian Geese

I really love Canadian Geese. Living near Fort Collins, Colorado, I am very aware that many consider them pests. Fort Collins is home to more than 10,000 full-time residents and about 100,000 migratory geese. They poop everywhere and they especially love to frequent golf courses. And then there is the recent plane crash that Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger landed in the Hudson River. Yes, Canadian Geese were the cause. But all that said I admire their beauty, their antics, and their monogamous nature.

A friend of mine who used to hunt geese told me he had to stop hunting them. After shooting one unlucky bird the mate kept flying overhead honking and would not leave the area after the rest of the flock flew away. He was so touched he gave up hunting.

Adult geese are also great parents often seen leading their goslings in a line, usually with one parent at the front, and the other at the back. While protecting their goslings, parents often violently chase away nearby creatures including humans by giving off a hissing sound and giving chase. And believe me, if you are unlucky enough to be chased by a goose, you will run!

21 February 2009

Sunday Morning Gallery - Splash!

I am an earth mama with a water spirit heart. I guess that makes me mud! Living in the Colorado Rocky Mountains gives me sustenance for my earth side. Their solid permanence gives me strength. But once in awhile my water spirit thirsts for salty oceans, serene lakes, and rivers wet and wild. I have not had my ocean fix recently but instead have found untamed waters and calm shores right here in Colorado.

The first two photos were taken in Rocky Mountain National Park on a summer hike next to the St. Vrain River. It has been my favorite river in the park since I first discovered it in 1975. And as the surrounding terrain changes from fires and natural selection, the river still rages down the steep mountainside careening over the same rocks. I find timeless energy there.

The last photo is of Horsetooth Reservoir just west of Fort Collins, Colorado. It is about four miles east of my mountain home and I can see it out my windows with the morning sun reflecting golden off its surface or a full moon making it a pool of pale light.

20 February 2009

Thank you Sierra Club!

This is my second shot to be chosen for the Daily Ray of Hope published by the Sierra Club. I am so honored!

17 February 2009

Abstractions in Nature

Abstractions in nature always catch my eye. I'm always the first in my family to see wildlife and I think it is because I see patterns in nature. If there is an interruption in pattern it draws my eye everytime.

On a cold winter morning I happened upon the graceful feather prints left in the snow by a wild turkey flapping its wings. It took me a couple minutes to figure out what I was looking at but a nearby prehistoric looking footprint tipped me off.

Rose hips are a favorite subject of mine and the green background set them off perfectly.

A summer walk along the Colorado River in Rocky Mountain National Park found a beaver pond just as the sky opened with a gentle rain.

Woody stems from last summer poke up through the crusty snow to form shadows of an ancient alphabet.

A Colorado blue sky framed by tumbleweeds catches the flight of a single raven.

14 February 2009

Sunday Morning Gallery - Mountain Majesty

The mountains of the West have always captured my heart. Their obvious beauty, their dangerous weather, their steep challenging canyons, their ancient history exposed for all who care to look, and their sheer magnitude; all these things hold an intoxicating allure for me. Today I will share some mountains that I love. The two from Zion National Park, my favorite park because of the magical light there, are ruddy and massive. The only effort required was a drive in the car, although a long drive. The vast and remote valley of Ruby Jewel was a different story. It was the hardest hike I've ever done. After 10 grueling miles up some of the roughest terrain I've ever hiked to an elevation over 11,000 feet we were rewarded with the most beautiful mountain vistas I have ever seen. And because of the remote nature it was still pristine and wild with rushing creeks percolating right up out of the ground over beds of wild flowers.

13 February 2009

Seven Things You May Not Know About Me

I have been "tagged" by Beholden to Nature to share seven things you may not know about me. So here we go.

1) For the last ten years I have lived in an off-the-grid home. We have our own solar power system, a deep rock well (literally) with water that tastes like snow, and no utilities except propane for hot water and back up heating. Our main heating is with wood from our 40 acres of Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir trees. We are official forest stewards through the Colorado State Forest Division and manage our thinning of the forest with moderation and care. Contradictory to popular impressions of this lifestyle, we do not lack any modern conveniences nor do we use kerosene lamps.

2) I actually grew up in Ohio. But my love for the West goes way back!

3) My photo of our golden retriever, Champ, was featured in the Sierra Club's Daily Ray of Hope.

4) I lived in a van by choice for three months with my husband and three year old daughter in the summer of 1980. We traveled over 3,000 miles.

5) From 2000 to 2007 my husband, Ric, and I collaborated on the first blog to ever appear on We called it "The Colorado Journal" and it documented our daily life living off-the-grid.

6) I am a voracious reader. I love award winning literature, pulpy genre fiction, and nonfiction equally depending on my mood.

7) The best friend I ever had was a dog. My forever girl, Keota.

11 February 2009

Dog Blog

I have always had a special connection to animals especially dogs. As a child I wanted a dog in the worst way but it never happened. So now when I fall for a funny, big nosed, fuzzy face it is head over heels.

Rob and Dulcie have lived with us a year and a half. My husband used to call them the emergency back up dogs. Our distinguished old gentleman, Champ, was already eleven and the keeper of my heart Keota, a black sheperd mix, had already passed on when we drove to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah to find them.

When she was six Dulcie lost her entire family. Her owner died and her two dog buddies were permanently lost to her. If you know anything about dogs you know that their "pack" literally equals their life. In the wild if you lose your pack it often means death. So when we found her she was afraid and timid. She had been bounced around the foster care system for dogs and suffered abuse. She was petrified of everything.

Dulcie has blossomed into a happy well adjusted fox hound. She still would rather avoid pets from strangers if she can. But with us she actually hugs. She nestles against you and bows her head in what can only be profound gratitude as she gazes deeply with her soft brown eyes right into your soul.

Rob was just a little fluffy ball of black fur. He was sick with some weird virus and just slept in my arms all 850 miles home. It took him months to recover but he is robust and healthy now. His nickname is "Demon". He is part Aussie and Rottie. The Aussie part is precocious, smart, and always trying to herd us. The Rottie part is stubborn and always wanting to push boundaries. We have fallen for his antics and I'm afraid we have spoiled him forever!

So now our "emergency back up dogs" have taken their rightful place in our little family. And though Keota and Champ will always be loved in memory we now have new love that is growing stronger everyday.

07 February 2009

Sunday Morning Gallery - For the Love of Trees

I live in a world surrounded by the beauty and peaceful nature of trees. I see them first thing in the soft blue morning light after a fresh snow. I see them outside my antique window, the only one that occasionally gets frosty. I see them on a misty spring walk with the forest floor a rare emerald green. I see them in the evening after a thunderstorm has beaten and tossed them about only to see them still standing tall even in their death. And I see them peeking through wisps of fog as the whispers flow up hill and around their mighty trunks like a cat brushing a leg. To live in a world of trees is to find the heartbeat of nature and hold it close as a lover until your heart and theirs beat together.

04 February 2009

Shambhala Part 2

Part 2 takes place inside The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya. The stupa itself is a representation of the body, speech and mind of the Buddha. As beautiful as the outside was the inside is just as stunning. When I entered the palace I was overwhelmed with the intricate beauty of the lovingly made decorations adorning the walls, ceiling and even the floor. One extraordinary feature in the floor was a mosaic pomegranate that had little burgundy glass marbles representing the seeds. One visitor while looking up scattered the marbles across the floor in aghast. We all smiled and helped her return them to the little concave place in the mosaic. Everywhere you looked it was a handmade, handpainted piece of art. The work is still in progress. Volunteers visit on a regular basis to paint a flower or part of a mandala. If you ever find yourself in the West I highly recommend a visit to this treasure in the beautiful mountains of northern Colorado.