Part 37: La Junta, CO to Iron City, CO


Navigation Links

The Trip

We completed some pre-travel actions and then headed west from La Junta to Colorado Springs.  Given that it was a Friday night, we were lucky enough to get a spot at the Cheyenne Mountain State Park just south of the city.  We were also lucky enough to get a seating at Walter's Bistro.  We had eaten at Walter's several times before and always enjoyed it.  Next morning, we broke camp headed into Colorado Springs for a sushi lunch and then into the mountains on US-24 toward Divide, CO.

While in La Junta, I took delivery of an Olympus OM-D camera.  This set of photos are part of my evaluation of the camera.

The photos below are what we saw.

The view from Cheyenne Mountain State Park was great.  We could see most of the valley to the east of Colorado Spring as well as Fort Carson.

West of Colorado Springs, US-24 headed into an area that was impacted by the Waldo Canyon fire.  The crest of the mountains were scorched by the  fire.  Many homes were lost to the fire.

In Woodland Park we spotted this elk on one of the roofs.  The spots are due to dirt on Thor's windshield.

There was a motorcycle rally whose path crossed ours.  We encountered a ton of bikes en-route to Colorado Springs from the mountains.

We stopped for a bio-break just outside of Divide and some of the bikers were there getting fuel and doing a rest stop.

From the fuel stop we had a clear view of Pike's Peak.  The switchbacks of the road were visible on the face of mountain in the photo above.

From Divide, we headed north a short distance to visit our mog friends Kent and Taydie at their ranch.  In retrospect, I cannot believe that I was so lazy that I shot the photo above through the windshield.

Taydie is a consummate horsewoman.  They have a large barn to help the stock weather the harsh winters. For this photo, I actually got out of the truck.

Kathleen, Kent, Taydie and Happy.

Happy the Australian Shepard was a great dog.

We continued heading west on US-24 and at one of the passes we got a great view of the valley to the west.  Some of the peaks on the far horizon are over 14,000.

We headed south from Buena Vista and then west toward Mount Princeton.  At a roadside stop we could see the dense growth near the irrigation canal.

The canal looks insignificant, but in the west where water is in chronically short supply, irrigation is critical to farming.  All of the fields serviced by this canal are critically dependent on the water it provides.

Mount Princeton, one of Colorado's "fourteeners" (over 14,000 feet in elevation) was visible from our roadside stop.

The north flanks of Mt. Princeton were large cliffs referred to by the locals as the "Silver Cliffs".  Kathleen took the photo above while we were rolling as a test of the camera's image stabilization.

Silver Cliffs had near-vertical walls rising perhaps 2,000 feet above the valley floor.  This photo was also shot while we were rolling.  Note the motion blur on the trees, but the image stabilization correctly handled the cliffs which were the focus point for the camera.

In the bottom of the canyon was a small creek that had a nice set of small cascades visible from the road.

The Silver Cliffs finally gave way to the main ridge on the south side of Mt. Princeton.  The upper reaches of the ridge were above timberline.

Further up the road we stopped for some photos and saw that we had passed a good sized lake in the valley.  The dense brush along the road prevented us from seeing the lake.  The ridges on both the north and south sides of the canyon were above timberline.  This photo was taken from far enough up the canyon that the Silver Cliffs were no longer visible.

Further up the canyon we hit the ruins of Iron City, CO.  These concrete foundations are all that are left of a once-thriving mining area.  We investigated the camp sites at Iron City and found them unacceptable.  So, we headed back down the canyon to Cascade camp.

Cascade camp was mostly empty so we got our choice of sites.  From our site, we had a clear view of the north cliff faces.

To the south of our site, the canyon walls were very steep and eroded by multiple avalanches.

Our site had an unobstructed view of the cliffs.

While I was shooting the cliffs, Kathleen stated that we had a visitor in the camper.  This small hummingbird found its way into the cabin and got stuck.  We had to help him get out; he was totally exhausted when we reached the door.  He was SO tired that he rode on my hat to the door, then flew away.

After the bird was removed, I got a photo of the camper looking south.

The area around Mt. Princeton is awesome.  The scenery is beautiful, almost without words.  Tomorrow, we continue up the dirt road toward Tincup Pass and the surrounding mining ghost towns.

Navigation Links
Previous Adventure
Top of this Page
  Next Adventure

Trip Home Page

Bill Caid's Home Page

Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2012, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.