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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. Down Upon the River

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.

Mountain Rivulet

This little stream emerged from the base of a tree.

Mountain Stream

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

Pyrite crystals on some quartz

This is the headwaters for Woodchopper Creek. We are right up about the tree line now.

Variegated Granite

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.

Thistle

There were thistles up there too... looking quite medieval in their thorny glory

Tree Root

While clambering up from checking out an old mine I spied this root... The pattern was quite interesting.

Guard Chipmunk

Of course every good abandoned mine is guarded by a fierce chipmunk. This one was no exception and the resident chipmunk stood watch.

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Colorado
Rockies
Continental Divide

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