Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Square Top Lakes

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On the weekend we went up Guanella Pass, southwest of Denver, and hiked the South Fork Trail to Square Top Lakes.  The hike is entirely above tree line, starting at 11,500' or so and ending up at 12,150' elevation.  At that altitude, it's quite a hike.  The first photo is a small waterfall on the road up to the summit.  The second is at the trail head looking out over the countryside.  The third is one of two Square Top Lakes; these are alpine lakes fed, I  think, by glacial run-off.  Not too sure about that, though.  You do feel like you're at the top of the world.

Before summer's over, end of August timeframe, we're going to try to do more hikes, so perhaps more pictures will follow.
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Thursday, July 22, 2010

One Chipmunk, Not Alvin.

As promised, a few more shots from the Pancake Rocks trail that we hiked on Sunday. I mentioned "surprises," there is actually only one, this fearless little chipmunk in the bottom two photos. Usually, these little critters scurry around so fast they're gone before you notice them. Not this guy; in the first shot he actually looked like he was posing for me. He came much closer after that -- I think he was looking for something to eat. He seemed to live in the rock formation that you can see in the far right portion of the first picture, so, after he ran off in there, I left a few raisins on his doorstep. I hope he got them.


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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pancake Rocks

We made the hike to Pancake Rocks this past weekend. I was determined not to wait to get to see these rock formations. The first picture is of one of the dominant rock formations in this small area. By the way, these sit at approximately 11,000 ft elevation. The second photo is a shot of the little rock cairns that people have set up in a couple of places at the rocks. In the third photo, you can see the "view from top", so to speak.  We stayed up on top for about 20 minutes and were the only ones there, more hikers were going up as we started down.

The trail is 7 miles round trip, 3.5 miles each way, starting at an elevation of about 9,400.  It is quite a hike; the hardest part is the descent on the return trip.  Still, it was worth the hike for the view.  Too, while it was near 90 in Colorado Springs, it was in the 70's on the mountain.  Not a bad day for an outing.

I have some more shots I will share later in the week. They contain a couple of surprises!

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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Horsethief Falls

Did a hike up to Horsethief Falls and Pancake Rocks last Sunday and I got a few shots along the trail.  I think , on this trail, the best time for taking photos is in the afternoon, unfortunately, there wasn't time for that.  These trails are about an hour from where I live and the schedule is a bit tight for an all day journey.  I guess, too, I was testing the limits of my little Canon S90, but I continue to be very pleased with most of the shots I get from it.  I hope to go again soon to try to get to the actual Pancake Rock formations which were a little farther along the trail.  Just as a point of reference, the trailhead is at 9,400 ft elevation, goes up to about 11,100 feet and, the heartbreaking part, descends again to get the Pancake Rocks.  By the time you've gone up 2,000 ft or so the idea of descending, then climbing again to get back isn't the most appealing in the world.  Incidentally, Horsethief Falls is so named, obviously, because horse thieves in the old west used to hide out in the little canyon just below the Falls. .

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Monday, July 12, 2010

Don't Know Much About History . . .

Johannes Cassianus, portret.Image via Wikipedia
The business man too does not lay aside the desire of procuring wares, by means of which he may more profitably amass riches, because he would desire gain to no purpose, unless he chose the road which leads to it: and those men who are anxious to be decorated with the honours of this world, first make up their minds to what duties and conditions they must devote themselves, that in the regular course of hope they may succeed in gaining the honours they desire. And so the end of our way of life is indeed the kingdom of God. But what is the (immediate) goal you must earnestly ask, for if it is not in the same way discovered by us, we shall strive and wear ourselves out to no purpose, because a man who is travelling in a wrong direction, has all the trouble and gets none of the good of his journey. And when we stood gaping at this remark, the old man proceeded: The end of our profession indeed, as I said, is the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven: but the immediate aim or goal, is purity of heart, without which no one can gain that end: fixing our gaze then steadily on this goal as if on a definite mark, let us direct our course as straight towards it as possible, and if our thoughts wander somewhat from this, let us revert to our gaze upon it, and check them accurately as by a sure standard, which will always bring back all our efforts to this one mark, and will show at once if our mind has wandered ever so little from the direction marked out for it.

This is another lengthy quote from John Cassian’s Conferences in which he discusses purity of heart. What I find interesting about this section is his description of what it takes to gain purity of heart – single-mindedness. I think the greatest enemy today to faith, I know it’s my greatest enemy, is getting lost in all the distractions available: too much television, too much internet, even too much Bach, all make a shambles of my very best intentions to spend more time in prayer and sacred reading. But what I find even more interesting is that this isn’t a new problem. Evidently, monks and, I’m sure other Christians, have struggled with this throughout the centuries. Remember, this was written in roughly the 4th or 5th century A.D., over 1,500 years ago. There was no television, no internet, no news magazines or newspapers; there were still distractions, things that make our thoughts wander.

We like to think that those of us living today have somehow evolved and become different from those who lived before us. We think we’re better just for having come later. We think we have nothing to learn from those who went before us. Obviously, we are wrong. We have a great deal to learn from those who experienced life perhaps in its most real form. We can learn from the desert monks, if only we would. Reading them isn’t always exactly easy, and there are no brilliant pictures or graphics accompanying their writing, it takes some effort. I can’t help but feel that the reward would make the effort worthwhile.

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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rocky Mtn Workshop - September, 2009

I was browsing my photo gallery the other day and came across my shots from the photo workshop at Rocky Mountain National Park last September.  I came across the pictures of the big bull elk that we spent so much time with on Saturday afternoon.  He was truly an impressive creature, not just to us watching him, but to the other bulls in the area too.  They were avoiding him, would go nowhere near his territory.  One dared a little too close and this guy went to make sure he understood his mistake.  It was quite a show.
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Friday, July 9, 2010

From Fr. Michael at Getheseme Abbey

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...Image via Wikipedia
Our gospels tells us of how Jesus, as he went around to all the towns and villages and saw the crowds, how “his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned like sheep without a shepherd.” Are these words reminding us of something terribly important if we are going to have new vocations to the religious and priestly life today? Do we find our own hearts moved with pity and do we recognize sufficiently how many, especially the young, are troubled and abandoned? Do we see the crying need for persons to guide and instruct the crowds of our own time? Have our affluence and technological advances stolen from us this sense of pity and compassion, this sense of urgent need, blinded us even to how troubled and abandoned the people of our time truly are? I find myself asking these questions and wonder if they might be a way of deepening our prayer and attracting vocations.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mt. Cutler Trail, 4th of July Weekend

This is from Mt. Cutler Trail, minutes from downtown Colorado Springs. I was hiking up the trail and looked up to see this little guy watching me. Normally, chipmunks up there disappear before you even know they're there. Not this fellow, he stayed in place with no fear from the likes of me. Guess you get to know the dangerous characters.
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Tuesday, July 6, 2010


From a few weeks ago. We manage to grow a few things on our granite plot. I should add, we can grow a few things that aren't immediately eaten by the deer. Enjoy.