continyood snow cold and timelessness in the high desert of western colorawdough


Another sojourn to the Olivivas Wilderness Area (OWA), the last excursion somewhat detailed in “Indiana Betunada and the ..” Winter is no longer flirting in the high country, be that country desert, tundra, mountain, on the rims of canyons. The frost-beast has settled in. The OWA is perched at the northern edge of Unaweep Canyon, much closer to Whitewater than to Gateway. Unaweep Canyawn is unique, in that you don’t have to be a geologist nor geomorphologist to wonder “how did this big wide deep granite-cliffed feature form, especially when there are only seasonal streams?”

Geologist friends told me that Gunnison River cut the canyawn, then was diverted many thousands of years ago. Huh … makes sense I suppose.

the 14 ers

On a previous trip a week earlier in the Bridgeport area, I zoomed in on the distant mountain range. Still about 80+ miles distant, those are some of the San Juan Mountains, featuring many of the state’s fabled “Fourteeners” (peaks over 4268-meters high). Usually conditions are more clear, and you can see them from the G J Airport, 25 miles further than we were here.

n oliv ridge

But today we are in a different locale, which I’ve named the OWA. The “W A” is appropriate, as it is a steep-edged mesa on US Government land, and there are no roads and, as far as I have explored, nothing “man-made” whatsoever. However, for you anthropologists out there, I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve walked past, and over, paleo-signs a-plenty.

We’re looking north, towards Pinyon Mesa above Glade Park. There are stands of statuesque Ponderosas, ladies and lords of the forest, doubling as lightning rods.

sm cave tree

Many of the marvels require a change of focus from the macro to the micro. This little tree, not much more than 6-inches tall, has decided (or fate helped it ‘decide’) to grow in a small cave.


Looking south, over part of Cactus Park and the transition zone along Highway 141 where the red-sandstone walls will soon give way to towering (1000′ high) granite cliffs. (RockSea is at the bottom of the pixure).

inukthng looks at C P

The Inuk-thing of OWA looks out over the scene presented above.

inuk of olivivas

I suppose as long as it stands, and even when it doesn’t (high wind, stray cow rubbing against it, alpha-male elk heedlessly battling each other for territory, or tectonic plate shifts), the view will be the parade of the seasons and micro-seasons over north Cactus Park.


Sleven walks by. Yeah, I have three companions on these sojourns. Not a lot of in-depth give-and-take conversation. And, amazingly, it’s been a lo o oo ong time since any of them have gotten lost.

closer mong pCock

Back home, in the mouth of the garage where the sun warms the concrete, “Mongo” and his companion share a quiet moment.

oliv west blue sky cloud

It snowed, lightly, pretty much the whole time, but I looked to the west and noted the clouds opening up, the infinite azureness beyond.

Wish me luck? Recovery? The hand of the Almighty guiding me? Ah, what’s the use … right after I post this I’m off to the Sunday Night 9 p.m. local (ice) hockey league. You’d think they’d cut me some slack, being the oldest (and worst) player out there … but once the uniform is on — all bets are off.

Continued success (or, if there is no “continuance”, then START!) and good cheer (and beer, or wine, or, okay, capuccino) for the new year!

4 thoughts on “continyood snow cold and timelessness in the high desert of western colorawdough

  1. well, thanks — not as pretty as “your” B C coastal scenery! but (shh! don’t tell too many people) — yes, i “make” the inuk-thingies. there was only one this outing (prob’ly looks different front and back).
    hockey was played at less than 10-deg (f) but we all survived. i couldn’t believe it: FIRST TIME EVER a majority of other players were as bad as me! tonight should even be more … uh … fun. i agreed to play goalie?! and temps aren’t apt to be any different (it’s an outdoor rink)


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