September 25, 2010
10th Annual Quick Draw and Art Auction
Taos Center for the Arts – September 25, 2010
Couldn’t pick just one from the dozens of Taos artists taking part in the 10th Annual Quick Draw and Art Auction so we salute all the participants and their creativity. Paint brushes, tubes of paint and sculpting tools stand at the ready as the noon hour approaches. Local artists in a wide range of media begin work on creations that must be finished on site by 3pm. Patrons and browsers wander among the easels and work tables chatting, asking questions or just standing back to watch the process as each work takes shape.
At 2:50pm we hear the announcer, “Artists, you have ten minutes to finish your work.” As each piece is completed, signed, and framed they are taken to the finish line. The public can view, appraise and sign up for a bidding paddle. The auction starts at 4pm, action lively and sometimes quite competitive. Proceeds benefit the Taos Center for the Arts which provides facilities, programming and education in the visual, performing and media arts.
In the morning we viewed the shows comprising the Taos Fall Arts Festival. Quick Draw offered an opportunity to see many of the artists in action whose works we’d admired in the shows.. An ever changing gathering watches as horses charge across Doug Scott’s canvas. Ed Sandoval’s personality and painting quickly draws a bevy of art enthusiasts as he captures a Northern New Mexico fall scene. Pat Woodall intensely adds vibrant colors to his Ranchos church. We stop to watch Leigh Gusterson whose art we frequently admire.
In addition to painters, sculptors, potters and jewelry makers work in stone, glass, wood and silver. Live music and an appreciative audience add to the festive atmosphere on a perfect autumn afternoon in Taos.
September 24, 2010
Woodblock Prints, Oils, Pastels
Taos artist Angie Coleman is well known for her woodblock prints. The image of each relief print is produced from the raised surface of a woodblock. As each color is printed more of the background is carved away. One block is used for each limited edition.
The process intrigues me, I can’t imagine the vision and planning required for each new creation. As each layer is chipped away there is no going back; one slip of the chisel and the result is changed. The process produces subtle variations with each print.
Coleman graduated from the California College of Arts and Crafts and has been included in many national juried shows. Her work received the best of printmaking award at the “2007 Taos Invites Taos Show” and the Harwood Museum purchase award in the “Originals New Mexico Show” in 2007. In addition to woodblock prints she also works in oil and pastels.
Many of Coleman’s subjects reflect her years of living in Taos, New Mexico and her love of hiking and camping in the mountains ofColorado and New Mexico. We’ve collected a number of her works over the last ten years. Each day we enjoy Coleman’s images of chamisa, golden aspen, antique truck and rustic adobes in our home. Add to that today’s purchases of two winter scene miniatures and her last available print of Apples and Adobes.
When in Taos visit Angie Coleman in her working studio/gallery at 207 Paseo Del Pueblo Sur, two blocks south of Taos Plaza and immediately north of McDonald’s. The studio is generally open Monday thru Saturday, call 575-779-4658 to confirm hours. Visit her website for more details on the woodblock process and the “Gallery” pages to see the range of her work.
September 24, 2010
Cimarron to Taos
Green predominates through Cimarron Canyon. Views from Eagle Nest include splashes of colors on Wheeler Peak. As soon as the road turns west from the Angel Fire intersection the promise of fall color increases. Twisting up Palo Flechado Pass many of the aspen are in transition, some green leaves edged with yellow. The peak is yet to come but scattered groves gleam golden or a lone tree absolutely glistens.
Proceeding down Taos Canyon roadside color enhances with yellow-topped chamisa, silvery white dried seed heads, multi-hued grasses and red and orange shrubs against a background of dark green pines.
Further down the canyon willows and cottonwoods add a palette of yellow and gold. A number of artist studios along the route welcome visitors. Combine autumn and art for a engaging tour.
September 23, 2010
Highway of Legends Scenic Byway
Walsenburg – Trinidad
Today we drove the 82-mile scenic byway from Walsenburg to Trinidad, Colorado via US160 and CO12 – the Highway of Legends.
Very little fall color appeared until we reached Cuchara. Along the ascent of 9,941’ Cucharas Pass, random aspen gave a preview of the coming golden glory. Across the valley, near the top of the pass, one grove gleamed in rich yellow/orange hues encircled by large stands of green aspen awaiting transformation.
Aspen are prolific along the section of CO12 between Cuchara and Monument Park. Many hillsides support dense stands. The tall thin trunks seem to form a while fence across the slopes.
While color changes enhanced the scenic byway route today the best is yet to come along the Highway of Legends. I would guess that within a week to ten days the area will be at its peak seasonal display.
September 19, 2010
Mountainsides of trembling gold, splashes of orange and red plus cloudless blue skies – a perfect Colorado September day. Hearing forecasts of the fall colors peaking early this year we headed to the hills in search of seasonal glory. We struck gold!
We left Denver on US285 westbound. Just a sprinkling of color appeared until around Grant. Kenosha Pass is heavily forested in aspen and they were truly at their peak – a mother lode of gold. We weren’t the only ones out looking for color; hikers, bikers, horseback riders and photographers jockeyed for preferred positions. The road descends into South Park.
At Como we turn onto Boreas Pass Road – 21 miles to Breckenridge. Just outside of Como the pavement turns to gravel, a bit rough in spots but car drivable. The route follows the roadbed of the Denver South Park & Pacific Railroad constructed in 1880-81. When completed in 1884 the DSP&P was the shortest route between Denver and the rich Leadville mining district.
Looking for photo opportunities we follow a narrow side road and soon find ourselves at the Como Cemetery. Dense aspen stands nearly hide many of the tombstones, some dating back to the 1870s.
The east side of Boreas Pass supports many aspen groves, almost all of which have turned to shades of yellow, gold, orange, red, bronze or rust. Descending down the west side to Breckenridge we find fewer, but bright spectacular groves.
Hoping to avoid Sunday afternoon I-70 traffic we follow CO9 over Hoosier Pass to Fairplay. At 11,542’ elevation the pass is too high to support aspen. However we don’t have to travel far down the south side before mountainsides on the left and right glisten in the afternoon sun.
After a late lunch at the Brown Burro in Fairplay we head east on US285 over Red Hill and Kenosha Passes back to Denver. Temperatures in the mountains were comfortably in the 70s. Denver set a record at 96 degrees. Even at 5pm the sky was still cloudless; our Rocky Mountain day was truly golden.
If you want to see aspen at their best in central Colorado make the trip soon before all that glitters drifts to earth.
The route as describe over Kenosha Pass, Boreas Pass, Hoosier Pass, Red Hill Pass and returning over Kenosha Pass is approximately a 200-mile roundtrip from Denver. With lots of stops for photos plus exploring historic sites and cemeteries we made the trip in eight hours.
September 16, 2010
Crested Butte Welcomes the Autumn Equinox
Crested Butte combines its Eastern European roots and the autumn equinox with the 25th annual Vinotox celebration September 13-18, 2010. Vinotox means “fall wine festival” in Slovenian, a time to recognize the summer harvest and gather the community before the upcoming winter.
The origin of the festival is credited to Marcie Telander. She listened to the old-timers telling stories around the pot belly stove in Tony’s Conoco. The stories had roots in their native lands of Austria, Ireland, Italy, Hungary, Norway, Scotland and Slovenia. A common thread was a fall festival near the equinox, a time when new wine was made and old wine needed to be drunk, a time to feast, dance, and tell tales.
Today’s celebration includes storytelling workshops, liar’s night, a community feast, “Grump Boxes”, and enormous bonfire. Thursday evening, September 16th, The Eldo fills with tall tales, whoppers and adventure stories blow into massive proportions. Prizes are awarded for the town’s best liars. On Friday evening the community gathers at Rainbow Park Pavilion to feast on roast pig, corn, potatoes and traditional Croatian and Slovenian foods.
Late Saturday afternoon medieval characters including maidens, torchbearers and accompanying entourage “mum” through downtown and into restaurants sharing harvest songs, dancing and inviting everyone to join in the festivities.
In preparation for Vinotok local school children place decorated “Grump Boxes” around town. Townspeople, and visitors, write down their “Grumps” or grievances that they want to forget so that they can start the new season with a clean slate. Saturday evening the boxes are stuffed into a 20-foot tall grimacing effigy – the Grump. The Grump is put on trial, found guilty – of course, and goes up in flames at the massive bonfire – along with everyone’s grievances. Then it’s time to free-spiritedly move into the next season – winter and a bounty of skiable white powder.
My theory is that the Crested Butte community, which survives on tourism, especially enjoys a time when the summer tourists have retreated and the skiers have yet to descend. I grew up in a college town and remember how much we appreciated the weeks when students were not in residence. You could drive across campus without dodging distracted academia, fine a parking place near the library or leisurely browse the shops of campus town. As much as “The Butte” appreciates and caters to their visitors they also celebrate their community. Visitors are certainly welcome to join them in the frivolity of Vinotox.
September 16, 2010
Ride the Rails for Colorado Fall Color
Colorado celebrates autumn with golden hillsides of aspen, scrub oaks in hues from crimson to burnt umber – and, the occasional dusting of snow on the high peaks. No season is more colorful for a scenic train ride – narrow or standard gauge. Many of the railroads offer special events during the fall. All aboard!
Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad – A steam powered narrow gauge train makes a 4-mile, 45-minute trip into the historic mining districts of Cripple Creek and Victor. This is an excellent choice for families with young children or those with limited time. Operates daily until October3, 2010, 10am-5pm, train runs every 40 minutes. Lots of aspens along the route make this a great fall foliage feature. Read more…
Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad – This popular excursion weaves along the Colorado/New Mexico border. Special fall events include the Moonlight Dinner Train on September 24 featuring a catered dinner and a classic murder mystery presented by Adams State College. On September 30th the Galloping Goose #5 makes its Fall Colors Classic run. The scenic railroad has scheduled trips through October 17, 2010.
Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad – Passengers step back more than a century when they board this historic train that has operated continuously since 1882. The route through Colorado’s San Juan Mountains offers unparalleled scenery. Autumn specials include the 21th Annual Fall Photo Special Sept. 25-26 & Oct. 2-3, Cowboy Poet Train/Durango Cowboy Gathering Oct. 1, Durango Heritage Train Oct. 9, and Peanuts The Great Pumpkin Patch Express Oct. 16 17, 23 & 24. Night Photo Sessions are set for September 24-25, & October 2-3. Check their website for full descriptions of the Fall Photo Specials, the Night Sessions and tips for riding the photographer special trains. Reservations a must! Read more…
Georgetown Loop Railroad – Georgetown and Silver Plume are only two miles apart via highway but the elevation gain of 600 feet required amazing railroad engineering. The steep climb includes many twists, turns and trestles. Trains operate daily through Oct. 11, weekends after that date. The last Moonlight in the Mountains Dinner Train of the season runs Saturday, September 18, 2010. September 25th a Wine Tasting and Hors d’Oeurvres evening special will feature wines from Pasa Robles, California. Pumpkin Festival events are planned for the first two weekends of October and Oktoberfest the last three weekends. Read more…
Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad – Leadville claims title to the highest incorporated town in North America (10,152’) and thrived on mining and the railroads. Rail buffs relive that golden age along the Leadville, Colorado and Southern tracks. Trains run daily through Oct. 3; weekdays at 1pm, weekends at 10am and 2pm. A Fall Photo Special – at the normal fare price - on Sept. 18 will include special photo stops. Read more…
Manitou and Pikes Peak Railway – Scale Pikes Peak on the world’s highest cog railroad. The three-hour round trip to the 14,110’ summit qualifies as the most relaxed climb up the well-known mountain. Swiss diesel locomotives ratchet bright red cars filled with tourists up slopes with grades as high as 25%. Morning and afternoon trips through Oct. 24, Thereafter check the website for scheduled departures; the cog railway is now open year round but not daily in the off-season.
Rio Grande Scenic Railway – Departing from Alamosa and LaVeta the Rio Grande Scenic Railway gives passengers multiple trip options (distance, time and price) including a visit to Great Sand Dunes National Park. The autumn schedule includes Rails and Ales Oktoberfest Oct. 2, 2010 complete with brats, ales and oompa band music and a Pumpkin Patch Ride Oct. 23, 2010. “Golden Ticket” senior discounts during September and October allow passengers 65+ to purchase one senior ticket and get one free. Does not apply to special event trains.
Royal Gorge Route – Travel along the banks of the Arkansas River and beneath the worlds highest suspension bridge, more than 1,000-ft. above the gorge. Passengers can select seating in coach or vista dome cars, both with access to an open air car for outstanding views and photos. The Royal Gorge Route offers Colorado’s only regularly scheduled rolling gourmet dinner service. Oktoberfest Lunch special trains run Fridays Saturdays and Sundays from September 17 to October 10, 2010. In addition to their regular menu items the Oktoberfest menu option includes veal brats, mustard spaetzle, braised red cabbage and apples, Black Forest torte; and of course, Oktoberfest beer on tap. Royal Gorge Route trains run daily until October 31 and weekends until December 31, 2010. Read more…
Amtrak – Passenger service between Chicago and the West Coast traverses the Colorado Rockies west of Denver. The route through the Moffat Tunnel, Grand County and along the Colorado River offers superb scenery. Trips from Denver to Glenwood Springs or Grand Junction offer getaways without driving busy I-70. Nancy’s Caveat – One shouldn’t have a tight schedule when traveling via Amtrak, delays can and do occur – especially the east bound trains.
Colorado Railroad Museum – Located west of downtown Denver in Golden, the museum houses a large collection of rolling stock and railroad memorabilia. Youngster love the yearly Day Out with Thomas (The Tank Engine scheduled for September 18, 19, 25 & 26, 2010 – reserved admission tickets required. The seasonal Trick or Treat Train will operate October 30 & 31.
Tiny Town - In the foothills just off US285, Tiny Town attracts the pre-school set to the oldest kid-sized village and railroad in the United States. The miniature railroad, powered by coal-fired locomotives, loops through the village of more than 100 buildings and along the hillsides of Turkey Creek Canyon. After riding the train, investigate the 1/6-scale structures handcrafted by volunteers; be sure to peek into windows and skylights. A playground and picnic area encourages families to linger. Open weekends, 10am-5pm, during September.
September 15, 2010
A Walk with the Spirits
A leisurely walk through an historic cemetery relates intriguing details of the region’s settlement and struggles. Styles of enclosures, markers and headstones reflect cultural, ethnic and societal influences. Inscriptions tell of epidemics, natural disasters, gunfights or the steadfastness of a man’s character. A chiseled boulder in the Cripple Creek Mt. Pisgah Cemetery states, “He died as he lived, honest, loyal and an upright man.”
Children’s graves were frequently enclosed with wooden or wrought iron fencing, or carefully laid stone borders. Headstones with carved lambs denote infant burials. Poetry abounds. Especially memorable is a monument in a Central City cemetery marking the graves for one family’s five children – all who died before reaching their first birthday.
Graveyards near ghost towns and mining camps remain worthy of investigation. Spend a crisp autumn afternoon strolling the distinctive cemeteries near Alma, Central City, Cripple Creek or Leadville for a Colorado history refresher coarse.
The Littleton Cemetery on South Prince Street is the permanent (?) resting place of Alfred Packer, the only man in United States history to be convicted of the crime of cannibalism.
An October tradition in Aspen is “Walking with the Dead” in the Ute Cemetery. Tales from the grave are told by young pioneers. Aspen Walking Tours offers the hour-long cemetery walks every Saturday of October, the last two Fridays and Halloween Sunday (Oct. 2, 9, 16, 22, 23, 29, 30, & 31, 2010) at 5:30pm. Cost is $20/person; call 970-948-4349 for reservations.
“Meet the Spirits of Boulder’s Columbia Cemetery (also known as Pioneer Cemetery) on October 17, 2010 from noon to 5pm. Victorian mourners, funeral music, vintage hearses, and a solemn Masonic burial service reenactment will enhance the stories told by costumed “spirits” risen from their graves for the afternoon. Ghost Hunters with ParaFPI will demonstrate equipment and techniques used in paranormal research. The elite TAPS Family team is currently investigating the Columbia Cemetery.
Tickets will be available at the cemetery gate at Ninth & Pleasant Streets, Boulder, on the day of the tour. Cost is $10/adult, $5/children and studens under 16. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Historic Boulder office, 1123 Spruce Street. A rain date of October 24, 2010 is schedule for “Meet the Spirits” if weather conditions cause cancellation on the 17th.
The tombstones in Cripple Creek’s Mt. Pisgah Cemetery tell numerous stories of the town’s famous and the infamous. On September 18, 2010 the Gold Camp Victorian Society plans a day of Mt. Pisgah tours with character reenactments throughout the cemetery. Tours start at the Cripple Creek District Museum located next to the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad Depot. The tour begins with a ride aboard the historic trolley. The first tour leaves the museum at 9:30am; the last departs at 2:00pm. Donations to benefit the society’s historic preservation efforts are $8/adult, $15/couple and $5/child under 12. I’m sure you’ll meet Pearl.
Tom “Dr. Colorado” Noel pays respect to Denver’s pioneer movers and shakers at Riverside Cemetery on Saturday afternoon, October 30, 2010. Meet Nathan A. Baker, whose daughter claimed he, “Loved horses more than his own blood kin.” Baker lies under a life-sized stone Arabian stallion – named Frank. Perhaps the daughter was right. Numerous other Colorado “characters” will make appearances including governors, miners and businesswomen.
The 2010 Riverside Halloween Tour is sponsored by History Colorado and Dr. Noel and hosted by the Fairmount Heritage Foundation. Reservations should be made at 303-866-4686; cost is $25 for History Colorado members, $30 for non-members.
In Glenwood Springs costumed historic characters recall their lively pasts as lantern led tours visit the “spirits” of Linwood (Glenwood Pioneer) Cemetery. Doc Holliday is reportedly buried here … or is he? Join the Annual Historic Ghost Walk to hear the story. The walks are planned for Oct. 15-17, Oct. 22-24 and Oct. 29-31, 2009. Tickets are $15/person and go on sale Oct. 1. These annual walks sell out quickly, purchase tickets as soon as they go on sale by calling the Frontier Historical Museum at 970-945-4448.
We’ve tramped around many of Colorado’s cemeteries through the years, especially those near early mining camps. Each has its own distinctive characteristics and slate of citizens with fascinating stories. Leadville’s Evergreen Cemetery contains graves from 1879 to the present, graves with ornate headstones and those with rotting crosses. One early section with sunken graves ranks as the spookiest I’ve ever visited. Judge Neil Reynolds introduces the spirits of Evergreen Cemetery during Halloween Tours Oct. 29-30 at 8:00pm each evening. This popular event usually sells out – call 719-486-3900 or 888-532-3845 for tickets, $10/person.
Mt. Pisgah Speaks
September 15, 2010
Fall Color for a Good Cause
2 Mile High Club Aspen Tours
Join members of the 2 Mile High Club for golden tours of changing aspen in the Cripple Creek mining district. The annual tours are scheduled for September 18, 19, 25 and 26, 2010. Beginning at 10am tours leave from the Cripple Creek Heritage Center, with the last tour departing at 4pm. Reservations are not accepted; the tours are offered on a first come, first served basis.
The 2 Mile High Club was formed in 1931 to care for the town’s free roaming donkey herd. No fees are charged for the annual Aspen Tours, however, donations are greatly appreciated. They are applied to feed costs and veterinarian services required for the donkeys. The donkeys are believed to be direct descendents of those used by miners during the region’s gold rush days. The club also sponsors Donkey Derby Days, Cripple Creek’s most popular yearly event, in late June.
The Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mining Co. provides buses, drivers and opens access to private land for the fundraising aspen tours. The 2 Mile High Club provides tour guides and lots of local history. The buses make several stops allowing participants photography opportunities not usually available to the public.
Grab the camera, head to Cripple Creek, revel in the autumn splendor and contribute to a good cause. Enjoy!
September 13, 2010
Mt. Pisgah Speaks
2010 Cemetery Tour – September 18th
The personas of Cripple Creek’s famous and infamous, millionaires and paupers, celebrities and commoners, come to life during the yearly Mt. Pisgah Cemetery Tour. Members of the Gold Camp Victorian Society assume the roles of former residents buried in the mountainside graveyard overlooking the historic mining district.
Tours begin in the parking lot in front of the Cripple Creek District Museum and the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad Depot. A historic trolley transports each tour group to the cemetery. As we travel through town a costumed guide sets the stage with historic background.
“Digger O’Dell Martenson” welcomes the tour to Mt. Pisgah and describes how graves were once “dug” by dynamite. Approximately 4,000 souls – including 2,000 paupers without headstones – and one horse lie in final repose.
From extensive research the reenactors are well versed in the lives of their “characters”. We meet Vitus Neilsen – Cripple Creek’s blind piano man, Civil War veteran David McClintok and George Smith leader of the Elks band. Each tells “their” story incorporating historic fact and interesting antidotes.
Following graduation from the University of Michigan in 1897 Susan Anderson practiced medicine in Grand County, Colorado until she was 86. “Doc Susie” inspired the 1990s television series Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. An unnamed nurse from St. Nicholas Hospital relates the high rate of children deaths, “In the first years up to one-third of the graves were of children under six. I hear there are some of my patients still walking the halls of St. Nicholas, now a hotel.”
Mabel Barbie Lee tells of teaching in Victor where Lowell Thomas was one of her history students. She later taught at Colorado College and served as administrator at numerous universities including Ratcliff, Bennington and the University of California. In retirement she wrote memoirs including Cripple Creek Days about the gold rush boom days and Back in Cripple Creek.
Sheriff Hiram Wilson recalls that, “The bad guys and prostitution were my problems. Proper ladies didn’t want to see those ladies of the night. They could only come to Bennett Avenue to shop on Monday mornings when the proper ladies were doing their laundry.” As we turn to leave his gravesite he closes with, “Thanks for coming today, gives me a chance to get out of my grave and stretch my legs. I died of a heartache, nobody shot me.”
Cripple Creek’s most renowned lady of the night was Pearl DeVere, madam of the Old Homestead House brothel. Always liking the finer things in life, legend has it that Pearl was buried in a $1000 designer dress from Paris paid for by an anonymous Denver donor. Pearl’s funeral procession was led by four mounted horsemen and a 20 piece band from the Elks Club. Carriages filled with businessmen, girls from “The Row” and miners followed the lavender casket up Cripple Creek’s main street, Bennett Avenue, to the slopes of Mt. Pisgah. More than a century later Pearl’s grave is one of the most decorated in the cemetery.
Working downhill through the cemetery we meet more than a dozen “residents.” The tour group enjoys lemonade, coffee and cookies as the they wait for the return trolley. We’re delighted we came to Mt. Pisgah Cemetery where history comes to life one day each fall.
When You Go: The 2010 Mt. Pisgah Cemetery Tour is scheduled for Saturday, September 18th. Tours leave from the Cripple Creek District Museum parking lot, 5th Street and Bennett Avenue, every half hour starting at 9:30am. The last tour will leave the museum at 2pm. It’s advisable to arrive early.
Donations benefit the Gold Camp Victorian Society’s historic preservation efforts – $8/adult, $15/couple, $5/child under 12.
With an elevation of over 10,000’, the uneven terrain and standing for over an hour the cemetery tour may be a challenge for people with health issues. Wear sensible shoes and dress in layers as weather can change quickly.
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