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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Temple Canyon

Grape Creek Canyon is between the first ridge and the rock formations in the rear.

Our daughter-in-law, Jennie, is back down here to study at the DOC Academy this week. After her classes, yesterday evening, we picked up chicken dinners at KFC and went to Canon City's Temple Canyon Park for a picnic.

Very old native Juniper (sometimes called cedar by the locals) with a small Pinon Pine and Pegmatite rocks.

Temple Canyon is in the foothills pinon/juniper forest a few miles southwest of the city, up a narrow winding gravel road that is in bad shape in places due to all the heavy rains we've had recently; but it is worth the bumping to get there. The Temple is a natural cave formation in the rock cliff of Grape Creek Canyon just before the creek joins the Arkansas River. In the old days a railroad ran up Grape Creek to Silvercliffe when the silver mines were active. Like most of the early railroads through mountain canyons here, it washed out in a flash flood and with the silver collapse there was no reason to rebuild it. When we were younger, Joe and I used to climb down the near side of the Canyon, wade across the creek, and climb back up the other side to get to the Temple. We did this several times with youngest son, Chris, when he was a kid. I can't even conceive of doing it 20 years later.

Local pegmatite rock with native flora, including a variety of blue/gray fringed sage (Artemisia Frigida).

The scenery here is gorgeous, with interesting native plants and flowers surrounded by mountains and canyons with wonderful rock formations. We originally discovered the Park, before we moved here, from a Colorado birding book. The evening sun and sunset made it even more beautiful, but we couldn't see much of the scenery driving, in the dark, out the back way, which connects to the back road to the Royal Gorge, which is another City owned park further west.

1 comment:

Barbara C said...

Thanks for the lovely tour Fran. Your environment is so beautiful and unique, and you're a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide.