My photo blog… visual thoughts around me.

” AGING YET AGELESS…. Ouray,CO “

“A Distant Time”

As a full-time teacher and, when I can find the time, a casual photographer, I constantly juggle family, job and outside interests. Travel and photography are my chance to unwind and be a little creative while experiencing a different place from my everyday routine. I do not always succeed with combining both but, I am more committed once I leave the comfort of my home. One trip that would best exemplify this was the one I took to Ouray, CO, the “swiss alps of the west”.

As usual I have to escape the east coast via the dreaded airport, and in my case that means Philadelphia International. As most people know, this first step can be a crap shoot with delays, weather and just an overall gloomy vibe that surrounds you. I often cross my fingers, and anything else I can find, to bring out the “nice travel gods”. By the time I make it to the Denver airport, which also includes a transfer to another plane, I find my gate and follow stairs that lead down, and by down I mean way ‘basement like’ down. I had never transferred this far to another plane until then. I found myself tracking what seemed like an unending maze of ropes and  passages until I found the exit door. I opened it and froze for the moment as I saw the tarmac. Half expecting sirens to explode and 10 TSA agents to tackle me… hey that would have probably been exciting except that my travel plans would have ended. To my utter surprise, a very cheerful attendant pointed to the plane… can we all say “now thats a small plane”. It turned out this was where my adventure began and hopefully did not end… on a twin prop plane that literally flew straight up and then down to yet another first…. one of the smallest airports I have ever been to.

The town of Ouray is wedged between mountains on all sides, one road in and one out, and let me tell you it is a really dynamic road which is called the “million dollar highway”. There are no guard rails just beautiful vistas on all sides and I was there to breathe it all in, if I could just keep my eyes on the road! My group would be taking large 4×4’s into the San Juan Mountains for the next five days. I traveled in awe thinking what kind of people it took to carve out these twisting roads just to reach their mines deep in the hills. What seemed isolating for early settlers, just beamed with beauty. The calm stillness in the air and the grandeur of the mountains still yet to climb, left one breathless… and in my case, it was compounded by the altitude. The out lying areas were of a time long past, with their decaying buildings and overgrown mines, but the wildflowers and snow-covered mountaintops just welcomed you with open arms, and encouraged the clicking of shutters.

All my travels seemed to end on a note of both joy and a little sadness. The happiness came from being immersed in a place which I saw with new eyes. A place, that on the surface seemed to be withering and almost swallowed up by the elements, I found beauty in the old wheels and homes that were left behind, chronicling life from another era. The sadness I felt was in knowing my adventure had ended. What was still left was the meeting and sharing with like-minded artists and viewers… rekindling memories of my experience with photographs that captured moments that were both aging yet ageless.

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27 responses

  1. Hey! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group?

    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Cheers

    Like

    June 10, 2013 at 10:23 am

    • Feel free Pat…. thanks for the visit.

      Like

      June 10, 2013 at 6:59 pm

  2. It is such a pleasure to visit a blog site and find beauty. Your photography is excellent, thank you for sharing. Penny

    Like

    October 16, 2012 at 2:57 am

    • MikeP

      Thanks Penny for the visit… getting ready to post again… thanks for the follow.

      Like

      October 16, 2012 at 7:08 am

  3. I have been away fro a long while now, but i am back and i see you have been busy.. your pictures are forever amazing as usual Mike.. 🙂

    Like

    September 18, 2012 at 6:54 am

  4. denisebushphoto

    What a great collection of images! I’ve been there (a couple of times) and you have certainly done it justice. I especially like the field of sunflowers and looking out the cabin.

    Like

    September 16, 2012 at 9:58 am

    • Thanks ‘D’… that field of sunflowers was a nice break from all the Mt. shots.

      Like

      September 16, 2012 at 12:44 pm

  5. I love this series and Colorado just happens to be one of my favorite places to visit! Your images take me there… Thank you for posting these amazing images!

    Like

    September 10, 2012 at 9:08 am

  6. What an incredible sense of scale and space. I really enjoyed your journey.

    Like

    September 4, 2012 at 7:31 am

  7. Larry Lyons

    Mike,

    What a wonderful way to take a trip plus I do not have any airfares or airport hassles. Just need to take a few minutes of my time. Thank you for the free trip. Once again I enjoyed your images.

    Larry

    Like

    August 23, 2012 at 9:34 am

    • Thanks Larry glad to be of service… I knew my trials would benefit someone. 🙂

      Like

      August 23, 2012 at 10:58 am

  8. Great story, Mike, and terriffic images. I can’t do the altitude thing anymore; I sympathized with the old guy with the canula. Also, mountain roads without guards are no longer on my bucket list. Glad you got to go.

    Like

    August 22, 2012 at 9:52 am

  9. Wonderful series. The color in those mountains are so beautiful. I especially enjoyed the mountain meadow, wheel and the house interior. Glad you were able to get away, capture and share this beautiful area.

    Like

    August 21, 2012 at 8:27 am

  10. Wow…your pictures are truly stunning! 🙂

    Like

    August 21, 2012 at 6:01 am

  11. Sharon

    Great photograghs!!! LOVE THE WHEEL…time for a show…

    Like

    August 20, 2012 at 10:58 pm

  12. Bonnie Rovere

    Beautiful shots Mike. You would have lost me at the twin engine plane! You are a brave man!

    Like

    August 20, 2012 at 10:45 pm

  13. An outstanding photo-essay, Mike. Once again, I feel that I was there with you, and that ability is a gift worth treasuring.

    Like

    August 20, 2012 at 10:10 pm

  14. Barbara Fallon

    First of all my dear friend, everyone of those photographs are outstanding. I am in awe of that you can actually catch the beauty and mystery in the landscape. It is something that takes a good eye and patience, and basically patience is not one of my strengths. Your photographs always show great passion for your craft. I am also noticing how much your blog has developed into a into an excellent piece of writing and story telling. Gratulations on both.

    Like

    August 20, 2012 at 9:18 pm

  15. I haven’t been there in years! As usual, you got some amazing shots! 🙂
    Come back again sometime soon!

    Like

    August 20, 2012 at 9:13 pm

  16. Ronda

    I was born in Durango, those mountains , the million dollar highway, & Lizardhead pass are a part of who I am. Your pictures are amazing…as usual…but they also take me there. I am headed to Cortez next month, you’ve definitely helped me decide which route to go. I hope you enjoyed your summer.

    Like

    August 20, 2012 at 12:52 pm

  17. Great photography Mike…We spent a short time in the San Juan Mountains a couple of years ago in early March when it was still very winter-like! I would have loved to see it in the summer….going on the the “list” for sure!

    Like

    August 20, 2012 at 11:24 am

  18. Kathleen

    Hi Mike,
    Well your images left me breathless and wanting to go to Colorado!!! Hard to choose a favorite image. You are a remarkable storyteller, so thanks for sharing your journey with us!!! See you in September.

    Kathleen

    Like

    August 20, 2012 at 10:29 am

  19. Looks like a great time Mike and very nice photos. You’ve got plenty of material for the “What I did this summer” essay.

    Like

    August 20, 2012 at 8:47 am

  20. Pat

    What an interesting place to visit! Your photos are stunning.

    Like

    August 20, 2012 at 8:34 am

  21. Mike: Your photos took me back to my trip up the “million dollar highway” three years ago. I remember the ride north from Durango hanging onto the edge of my seat. I couldn’t look down because there were no guard rails. It was magnificent scenery and views that I think few people get an opportunity to see. Breathtaking, out of this world like splendor….and your photos capture it for me.

    Like

    August 20, 2012 at 8:07 am

  22. Stunning shots… Absolutely breathtaking vistas and captures.

    Like

    August 20, 2012 at 7:40 am

  23. A breathtaking journey, a reliving of the distant past through the magic of your lens, of being lost in the beauty and wonder of this amazing place. I saw a piece of myself in your post. Juggling family, work and things you are passionate about. I couldn’t agree more with, ” The happiness came from being immersed in a place which I saw with new eyes. A place, that on the surface seemed to be withering and almost swallowed up by the elements, I found beauty in the old wheels and homes that were left behind, chronicling life from another era. The sadness I felt was in knowing my adventure had ended.” But it also fuels us to plan the next great adventure.

    Like

    August 20, 2012 at 5:29 am

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