Posted: Aug 19, 2016
Up a Winding Road and Crossing the Divide
I crossed the Continental Divide just to the northwest of Fitzpatrick Peak on a little dirt track called forest road 267 that runs between St. Elmo & Tincup, Colorado. The pass itself is called Tincup Pass and the western side of the pass has possibly some of the most delightfully horrible sections of road I have been on to date. Some bits had two or three tracks and I had to get out & walk them to decide which of the choices was least likely to damage the vehicle.
But it was beautifull nonetheless. I don't think I will ever tire of driving amid woods of birch and aspen trees, but that was earlier in the drive and the road was in much better shape when I was amongst them. Once I got to Tincup it was rather late in the day the crossing had taken quite a bit longer than anticipated, which is just how it should be... Many miles yet to go.
This little stream emerged from the base of a tree.
Further down it chortled between mossy banks between fir & spruce trees
The timing was right enough so that the local lichen decided to give a shot at releasing some spores. the orange bits are debris mad by a squirrel processing conifer cones. Under some trees the debris formed a a soft mat that felt to be over a foot thick... busy little squirrel.
In spots the lichen seemed to form little communities. Something about this reminds me of a Dr. Seuss drawing.
It only needs a roof and a few other things.
Pyrite crystals on some quartz
This is the headwaters for Woodchopper Creek. We are right up about the tree line now.
When I reached the height of the pass I got out and crawled up to the top of the mountain... One must achieve greater altitude than ones vehicle on any day... What I found interesting is that at lower altitudes the Granite erodes into round boulders & other lumpy things... Up here at about 12,500 feet the granite was all angles and planes... fractured. At the top of this mountain was some nice pink & black granite.
The weather was not quite bright & sunny. Sleet began to fall when I reached to top, but I did manage to snap a pic with the phone. On my decent I came across a group of what I can only guess to be White Tailed Ptarmigans in their Beige & Tan summer dress. They, too, seemed a little put out by the sleet.
There were thistles up there too... looking quite medieval in their thorny glory
While clambering up from checking out an old mine I spied this root... The pattern was quite interesting.
Of course every good abandoned mine is guarded by a fierce chipmunk. This one was no exception and the resident chipmunk stood watch.