Parque Natural Mexiquillo


Benson Sculpture Garden

Beginning in 1985, piece by incredible piece, the Loveland High Plains Arts Council has created a gem of a sculpture park. To date, one hundred and forty-nine pieces of sculpture valued at over $4 million grace the grounds of the park. If you are in the area treat yourself to these visual delights.

The sculptures are sprinkled across green lawns 
flanking a string of ponds.

The Chase by Vince Valdez
This is one of my favorites

Dragonflies in Composition by Jack Kreutze

Paul checking out 
High Plains Warrior and Windsong by George Walbye

The Hunt by Rosetta

Cradle Your Dreams by Vanessa Clarke

Old Friends by George Linden

Duet by Jeff K. Laing

Stock Market by Philippe Guillermo.
I don't get this one.

Cotton and Clementine by Sandy P. Graves

Monument in Right Feet Major
by Todd Kurtaman

Out of the Mystic Past by Fritz White

l-r Gretchen, Linda, Mary, Pat, Arlene, me, John and Paul
A great time was had by all.

Pacific Giant by Adam Schultz
My favorite

Audience participation

Be the art

Current Location  40.196435  -105.106682


Seeking the Cool

Denver is enduring record heat. It has been in the 90s for several days now. Enough is enough, we are going up. Temperature drops about 4 degrees for every 1000 feet of elevation gain. Mt. Evens is one of 53 14,000 foot plus mountain peaks in Colorado. It is 9000 feet higher than Denver and should be at least 32 degrees cooler. It is the highest paved road in the US.

Timberline. Temperature 60 degrees

Forget Me Nots

Stop at partly frozen Summit Lake

Alpine phlox

We passed many cyclists. It is a 14 mile, 4% to 6% grade, 2700 foot climb to the top.

You are almost there

Bighorn Sheep

You can see the road on the shoulder of the mountain below.
It was a very brisk 40 degrees. It felt wonderful.

Mountain Goat

What a view.
Photo op at the very top. Don't step back.

Current Location  40.196435, -105.106682


Red Rock Amphitheater

The Red Rock Amphitheater

Walking in and looking over the edge of the amphitheater is stunning. What a marvelous place to enjoy a concert. At night you can see the stars and the lights of Denver in the distance. 

In 1936 the CCC began construction of the present day amphitheater. As you can see below there were many large boulders to be cleared away. The superintendent feared that conservationists would protest when he started dynamiting these boulders. So, he told his forman to drill and load all the boulders, then blow them all at once. He was absent that day. The CCC crews moved over 10,000 cubic yards of dirt and rock debris. Then they poured 10 box cars loads of cement and put down 90,000 square feet of flagstone. All this work was done by hand, without the help of any machines.

The same view today. These seats built by the CCC can seat 8,775 fans.

I wonder what the photo shoot is all about

Our tour took us back stage, actually below the stage. The walls are lined with photos of groups that have performed here. 

WIN group shot in one of the green rooms 

The stage and rooms back up against the red rock, which you can see in these photos.

This is the largest green room is for the headliners. 

Many very motivated people were using the bleachers as a personal gym. They run back and forth across each row of seats. If you run all 70 rows you will have traveled 2.5 miles.

Ascending these stairs from stage to the Visitors Center Plaza you will have climbed 193 steps. A good workout

The WINs could not resist saying they performed at the Red Rock


Great Sand Dunes

In southern Colorado at 8,000 feet there is a jewel, the San Luis Valley. This green oasis in ringed by snow capped mountains reaching 14,000 feet. The Rio Grande River begins its journey to sea here. Tucked in the Northeast corner is an oddity. Sand dunes, not just any old dunes, but the highest sand dunes in North America. They seem so out of place in this lush green valley and wetlands.

The Great Sand Dunes tucked up against
the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Most of the sand forming the dunes originated, not in the adjacent Sangre de Cristo Mountains, but in the San Juan Mountains on the west side of the valley, 65 miles away. 400,00 years ago prevailing south-westerly winds moved the sand northeast until stopped by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. 
But you ask, how did they become the tallest dunes.
Less frequent, but stronger apposing storm winds from the north-east tried to move the sand back to where it came from. The apposing winds did not allow the dunes to move either Southwest or Northeast. What they did was pile the sand higher and higher until the dunes reached their present hight of 750 feet, the tables in North America.

Medano Creek runs along the South side the dune field. Not deep, but cool and refreshing on a hot spring day.  

The black specks are motivated people climbing the dunes.
Some are at the top on the left side of the photo.

Looking at the southern end of the dunes and 
the San Juan Mountains in the distance.