Thursday, April 26, 2012

Paint Mines

Whoa, new blogger confuses me. I think I like it, though.

Recently, Mike and I visited Paint Mines in Calhan, Colorado. Before last week I had never heard of Paint Mines, but it was an optional location for my self-guided field trip for my geology class. It was so cool, and only an hour from Colorado Springs!

Paint Mines

I'll try to keep the sciencey speak at a minimum (calling it sciencey is very scientific). These bright formations were formed from eroded Pike's Peak Granite. 55 million years ago, the prairie area was tropical hardwood forest, and the eroded materials slowly covered all that up, creating sandstone chock full of petrified wood. This sandstone was then weathered by wind and water, creating amazing formations like spires and hoodoos in fantastic colors. The sherbet colors are selenite clay and jasper in the rock. Incidentally, if you google "jasper," you get one picture of an orange rock, and 50 bajillion pictures of the twilight actor.

Paint Mines

The Paint Mines get their name because apparently the clay was used to make paint pigment by Plains Woodland tribes (technically, I think they might have been bands, but you probably don't care). Archaeologists have found colored ceramics and tools made from petrified wood in the area. I'm not sure that petrified wood would make the best tools, but I guess you work with what you've got. Plus, I'm not an expert (yet).

Paint Mines

Paint Mines

I call this one "geologic time includes now":

Crumbling cliff:

Paint Mines

Big-ass boulder that fell off in the recent past:

Paint Mines


Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Stack

Does anyone else have an intimidatingly shameful stack of books on their shelf, bedside table, or wherever? This is the stack of books that I have been meaning to read, some for years now, and just haven't done it yet. The Stack looks particularly inviting when I am totally swamped (like right now). Further compounding the problem are my (lovable) goodreads friends who find some amazing books that just make me want to drop everything and head to my nearest bookstore and/or library.

Sigh. I guess there are worst things to be addicted to. And worst ways to spend the rest of my life.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Someday Road Trip

On a whim, I mapped out a big, circular adventure around the American Northwest. This circle ended up being a lot bigger than I originally envisioned, so it became a "someday" road trip, rather than a "let's go this summer!" type of trip.

It starts in Colorado Springs, obviously, but I think it could easily adjusted to originate anywhere in this area. 

Stops include:

Yellowstone National Park
Glacier National Park
San Francisco

It's not on this map, but I think the Olympic Peninsula would be a necessary addition, since we would be in the area anyway. In addition, moving the trip down the coast to the Pacific Coast Highway would not be amiss.

Mike and I are thinking about doing the loop next summer, after he is done with grad school. Any place along here that is unmissable?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Cabin in the Woods day!

You guys, Cabin in the Woods comes out today!! Who else is totally excited? I don't know anything about it except that it is getting great reviews, it's written by Joss Whedon, and it stars Chris Hemsworth, plus a couple of classic Whedon actors, including Fran Kranz (aka Topher from Dollhouse) and Amy Acker (aka Fred from Angel and Dr. Saunders from Dollhouse) because it wouldn't be a Joss production if it didn't have some of his muses in it!

We have tickets for the 5:30 show, so there may be an update to this post later. Who else is going?

Update: It's amazing. I can't explain why, you'll just have to see it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Traveling Differently

So, as I've mentioned before, I'm going on a trip this summer, to Belize. The first half of said trip is an archaeological dig, and the second half is a beach, sightseeing, and scuba vacation with my cousin. Because of the strange dual nature of the trip, it's forcing me to think about travel in new ways. Here are my (hopefully achievable) goals (and some cool gear ideas):

Source: via Jen on Pinterest

1. Pack as lightly as possible, but bring everything I might need. These more or less contradictory statements have made my packing list a little strange, and I have had to do some shopping (but any purchases benefit future trips). My brother's recent TWO MONTH, FIVE COUNTRY trip to Asia with only ONE SMALL BAG has been inspiring. I am hoping I can convince him to write a few guest posts on the subject so the things he learned can be passed on (see Jeff, now you have to do it). My issues are a bit different, because not only do I need things like sheets and a pillow for the first portion of my trip, but I need things like snorkel gear and underwater cameras for the second. Should be interesting! And yes, I plan on carrying-on, because I'm a masochist.

Source: via Jen on Pinterest

2. Stay inexpensively, but comfortably. I won't be staying in hostels, but I also won't be staying in resorts. Right now we are looking into cool options like beachside cabanas and apartment rentals, both of which are much cheaper than fancy hotels. I am really excited to try these out, and I've heard really good things about traveling this way.

Source: via Jen on Pinterest

3. Do something I've never done before. This trip has a lot of these things. I've never snorkeled with manatees, excavated Mayan ruins, traveled outside the country alone, or dove without bringing along a buddy (meaning I'll probably have to buddy up with the divemaster). I'm hoping there are even more firsts by the time I'm through!
Source: via Jen on Pinterest

4. Take some really freaking great pictures. This one speaks for itself.

Source: via Jen on Pinterest

Anyone ever traveled differently? What's your story? What's your favorite adventure travel gear?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Visiting Durango - Any Time of Year

Hello? Anyone there? Blogging was just not happening for me during my Spring Break. It wasn't so much relaxing as eventful. One of the events was attending an Archaeological Conference in Durango, where my husband went skiing and my brother met up with me for a trip on the Durango Narrow Gauge Railroad. I have been taking this train since I was a kid and I highly recommend it if you are ever in Southwestern Colorado, or the surrounding area. The winter train goes to Cascade Canyon, instead of all the way to Silverton, but it was a beautiful trip! Here are some shots, mostly from out of train windows.

 Durango - Cascade Train

 Durango - Cascade Train

Durango - Cascade Train

Durango - Cascade Train

Durango - Cascade Train

Some tips for a trip to Durango:

1) Go anytime, not just in the winter to ski at Purgatory. The train runs more or less year-round, and Durango and Silverton are both charming little towns.

2) Eat at Carver Brewing Company and pick up some growlers. It's where the locals eat. They have really great food, and they encourage you to drink beer with breakfast. They even have this special cocktail called the Razzmosa which has Raspberry Wheat beer, OJ, and Chambord in it. So good. Plus, they have real mimosas with lots of champagne, and if you drink more than one, you may stumble into the local bookstore and buy lots of books. That is, if you're me.

3) Stop by the historic hotel lobbies, even if you don't stay in one. The Strater Hotel is beautiful, and its restaurant, the Diamond Belle Saloon, has delicious food, like truffle fries. So good.

4) The skiing is good at both Purgatory and Wolf Creek. Really good. They also have summer activities so check the websites.

5) Go for a soak in Pagosa Springs (about an hour away), my favorite hot springs. There is the big Springs resort, but if you want an inexpensive, simpler soak, check out Healing Waters.

P.S. Here is a short post on a previous trip to Durango if you want more pictures. 

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