Garden of the Gods and Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

9/28/16 (Wednesday) in Monument, CO (Colorado Heights Resort-ROD)

Time to get out in the world again. Our first visit was to the Garden of the Gods, a Colorado Springs city park considered by Tripadvisor the best city park in the US.

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Not only is it amazing, but it’s free. As stated on this plaque:

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Here is an overview. Can you see Pike’s Peak? Do you see in the mountain range behind the red rocks with the pines and yellow aspens? You’d probably need to enlarge the image.

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Poster view

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Actual view

Can you see the back of a crouching puma towards the top right? I had fun spotting creatures, real and imagined, in the rocks. There’s also a lion’s head, facing left.

Some more rocks.

Balanced Rock

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Further south was the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Florissant is the town where this exists. Way back in time a group of volcanoes spewed a volcanic mud flow (called lahar) that covered much of the meadow below. In doing so it covered up to 15 feet of the Redwoods growing there at the time. Yes, this a a tropical forest back then. This mud flow contained silica and minerals that slowly leached into the very cells of the wood, turning them into petrified (rock) wood. They have a 1 mile loop walk along which you can see several of the redwood stumps that have been uncovered.

Because there was a lake formed, with a mat of slimy algae at the top that caught lots of leaves and insects, and then this mat sank to the bottom, allowing these remains to be preserved in the slate that eventually formed there. This area is world famous for the number and variety of fossils found here, with most of those fossils now residing in museums world wide. We got to see some that are still here.

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There is even a yurt here where you can look for fossils yourself, with the aid of a ranger.

It was such a beautiful day to enjoy these 2 areas, we found ourselves relaxing in another sense.

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About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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