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Hiking at Palmer Lakes in Monument Valley

Rampart Range near Monument, CO

July 20, 2019

 

The Rampart Range is a small mountain range (highest peak at 10,000 feet) that runs parallel to the Main Rocky Mountain Range (highest at 14,000 feet), located just east of the main Rockies. It is much closer to me (about 30-minute drive) while the Rockies are about 90-minute drive). Even though I said it is small (only compared to the Rockies), it is not really that small. Within this range, there are a lot of hiking course, lakes, and plenty of big rocks, peaks, and scenic spots. On a clear summer day of July 20, 2019 (The 50th-anniversary date for the first moon landing by humanity), we went there for hiking.

 

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At the Upper Palmer Lake, looking upstream. Red flowers in front are "Horsemint" Flowers (Monarda fistulosa, Wild bergamot). The leaf is edible and tastes like mint. They grow in my yard too.

 

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Looking downstream. White multi-story flowers are "Alpine Bistort"

 

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My hiking partner, Johnny Lee.

 

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We passed the upper lake and climbed further up into a narrow and deep valley. Here, we can hear the stream and sounds of a fall but the water is not visible as the creek flows under the huge rocks fallen from the high ridge above. By then the thin foot trail had disappeared. We turned around.

 

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I took a few more pictures of wildflowers along the lakeshore. The larger yellow flowers in the middle are "Aspen Sunflower". Small pink ones are "Red Clover".

 

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The small five-petal yellow ones are "Redstem Cinquefoil" The lakeshores near the water always have a lot of wildflowers. These flower beds change according to the season. What you see is the summer groups. In June, there are different kinds of spring flowers. At the end of summer, all the flowers are generally gone.

In the high altitude of Colorado, the life of wildflowers is very short.

 

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Aspen sunflowers and Pink clovers in the front. The larger tall white ones are "Alpine Yarrow".

Here, small yellow ones in the mid-field may be "Bahia Aster".

 

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A group of Alpine Yarrow in white color.

 

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Two young men are fly-fishing at the shore, reminding me of my older days.  I used to do that many years ago until my fly-fishing partner moved out of state. It may be more peaceful but I don't like to come alone.

 

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On the way down, we are passing the Lower Palmer Lake. A lot of worn-out-round shaped granite rocks.

 

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The Lower Palmer Lake with the dam at the far end. The water must be very deep by the color of the lake.

Two Palmer Lakes are the water source for the town of Palmer Lake. No swimming allowed here.

 

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A few groups of wildflowers decorate the bare lakeshore of broken down pink granite. Can you see the pink tint in the coarse sand? The yellowish flowers in the foreground are "Mountain Parsley".

The red ones are "Fairy Trumpet". Whites are "Yarrow".

 

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Two young girls are fishing from the shore far away. Again you can see pinkish tints in the granite rocks.

This area, including the Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs, is made up with pink granite. We are about 18 miles north of the Pikes Peak.

 

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A mother with an infant on her back is on the way down. You can see the flat plains way below. This plain is the west end of the Great Prairie that extends all the way to Mississippi River about 800 miles to the east.

 

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One last view of big boulders that crashed down into the valley a long time ago.

Again, you can see pink tint on them. The granite boulders originally had sharp edges when they were broken off the main bedrock. But as time goes by the sharp edges get worn out by the natures' erosive forces and they turn into round-edged boulders.

Here, the younger granite boulders have such rough surfaces that it is painful to touch but, again, time will make them smoother (like the ones in 인왕산 or 설악산) in many million years later.

 

Photo and Essay by SNUMA WM, July 20, 2019
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