Saturday, September 19, 2009

High Country Ramblings

30 years ago, my friend Michael lived in a small town called Buena Vista. He's talked about a magical place he called Buffalo Meadow for years, and promised to take me there some day. Friday, he did.

We set out down a road called "Four Mile" and turned on a dirt road, and another dirt road, and off onto a trail that made my little Blazer struggle. This high country space is located between the group of 14ers called "the Collegiates"...named for Ivy League colleges, and the 'back side' of Pikes Peak and its neighbors. Rolling hills, studded with boulders. The meadow is lowgrowing, golden and grey.
This is just some of what I saw:

The countryside is studded with rock formations that put The Garden of the Gods to shame.
The air is dry, and clear, and filled with the winey tang of Pinon Pine Resin. I wanted to bottle it, and am starting a quest for someone who distills this wonderful pine. I *need* this essential oil for my collection.The Pinons are lowgrowing, rounded, with short needles. Very different from the taller Scotch Pines that sometimes grow near them. Had I not wanted to capture the mountains in this picture below, and used the zoom, you could have seen more clearly the pinions, Scotch pine, and desert brush in this shot. But we needed the mountains.

What I thought was sagebrush, but later was told is "rabbitbrush" grows in clumps, adding varied shades of gold to the subtle coloring. The soft shades of this meadowland make the lush greenness of my Tennessee hills seem overblown and too ostentatious. This beauty is subtle, and patient.
An occasional cottonwood, near a streambed, shows its gnarled bark and delicate leaves.

If you follow the stream bed, if you are truly blessed, you may find a beaver's dam. We did, and sat on a rock in the sunlight for almost an hour, listening to the song of the water.
I have probably uploaded too many pictures (I shot over 120 that magical day) but I wanted to give you a feeling of the beauty and majesty and peace of that hidden sacred place. And if any of you know of a distiller who distills the needles or cones of the Pinon Pine, please put me in touch with him or her.

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