Certainly today has to be the most exotic of birthdays, even since my resolution to be always traveling on my birthday. I spent it with Qashqai nomads in the Zagros mountains.
We woke up in Shiraz, and first off went to the tour agency we booked our guide through to pay them … with the sanctions imposed on Iran it has become a cash-only society because they can’t utilize banks outside of Iran … you can only have credit cards issued by Iranian banks for use only in Iran. So we were very relieved to unburden ourselves of all that cash to keep track of. We were ushered into a conference room to sit at a large table with several people. Then a man came in with tea and candy for us. I was expecting something rather involved – maybe we had to sign some papers, talk about details or something. Several people came in to greet us. But in the end, all we did was hand over our envelope of money after drinking our tea.
Then Mr. Qajar, the owner of the tour agency who sat with us at the head of the table in the conference room in a crisp pin-stripe suit and argyle socks, said he was coming with us to see the nomads. For a minute I had a flashback to China when the hotel manager in Datong spontaneously jumped in our taxi with us and spent the whole day as our guide. But this, it turned out, wasn’t spontaneous. Mr. Qajar was in fact the one who had the 4x4 vehicle and all the camping gear we were told would be supplied for us to spend the night with these nomads.
So we went around the back of the building to find he had stripped off his coat and tie to load up this vehicle. We then drove to pick up Farshad, who Mr. Qajar said would be helping us. And THEN, guess what! I got to see the inside of an Iranian medical clinic! Yep, it’s my new traveling theme ... to see hospitals from the inside. ha ha. This time, however, it was not I who needed the medical services. Reza, our guide, is sick with a sore throat and aches and fever, so Mr. Qajar insisted we stop by this clinic for him to get an injection. So for once instead of sitting on a gurney with a doctor, I spent my time sitting in another conference room (administrative room) drinking tea and eating sweet biscuits. The directors insisted on entertaining us thus while we waited for Reza to be treated. We just sat and killed time with Mr. Qajar and the tea until Reza was fixed.
We stopped along the way to the nomad’s camp at Mr. Qajar’s favorite restaurant along the roadside. While there, being my birthday and all, we tried a hooka with peach flavoring. It seemed the previous smoker had had a mint-flavored bowl. So it was a peachy-minty flavor and quite tasty.
I confess this nomad experience was different than I expected, as it was billed as a night spent with nomads to witness their daily lives. I kind of thought it might be a little hokey with the “nomads” more like performing traditions for the sake of tourists to see. I thought it would be a large camp of nomads with probably some kind of posh tents set up for tourists to stay in. Maybe they weren’t even truly nomads anymore. Still, I felt it would be an interesting experience since I know absolutely nothing about traditional Iranian cultures.
But au contraire … it was a much more “authentic” experience than I imagined. Mr. Qajar had called ahead to make sure these nomads were where he expected them to be (for everyone on the planet has a cell phone, of course). We drove into their encampment, a couple hours’ drive from Shiraz, which was largely permanent structures they had recently built to inhabit during their yearly time in this location – they only travel back and forth between 2 locations. This was an extended family unit of about six separate but related families. Mr. Qajar picked out a grassy spot along the side of the little path into the camp and parked the vehicle, and proceeded to set up run-of-the-mill 2-season camping tents just like you would take backpacking or camping in America.
So we literally would just be hanging out one-on-one with these folks and full-on camping … even rougher conditions than usual because they didn’t have any sleeping pads for the sleeping bags. The hard ground was a bit of a bother on my body which turned a year older that day, but the uncomfortable sleepless night was completely worth the whole experience. Because of the sanctions it’s difficult to obtain and repair camping equipment. The tents had seen better days and had been repaired by Mr. Qajar himself with his own ingenuity.
After setting up our tent, Erik and I meandered around the forested landscape for awhile on our own. It's quite fetching, with beautiful cypress trees and steep mountain faces rising up all around us. Herds of sheep and goats were grazing near our camp.
When we strolled back into our camp, Mr. Qajar told us a family was waiting to meet us, and that we should walk up the hill to their house. So we did. But we really had no idea what we were supposed to do, how long we were supposed to stay, and we had no common language with the nomads. But it was cool. They had us try fresh sheep cheese and hard yogurt balls and weeds growing on the ground, plus lots of tea, of course, and pumpkin seeds and other seeds and unknown little balls of sweetness. Not being a fan of sheep dairy products, it was difficult for me to swallow down the cheese and yogurt but I managed. Fortunately, the one thing they would have taken offense at is if I had refused tea, but unlike coffee which I’ve had to refuse before (for example, in Brazil), I could happily drink plenty of tea.
Erik and I were greatly amused by the young sheep and goats hanging around us, so adorable jumping around, playing and climbing on top of everything, eating trash and weeds and spindles of wool … one of the daughters of the man was a spinster, literally, as she was unmarried due to some sickness (which seems to affect her mentality, perhaps) and she spent the whole time she was near us spinning wool.They keep newborn sheep and goats under a little basket during the day because they’re too little to keep up with the rest of herd as the man leads them across several miles of terrain from morning until evening. The tiny one below in the basket below had been born only the day before.
After Reza and our other 2 companions came up to hang out with us and the Qashqai family, one of the man’s sons came up and introduced himself. He shook all the men’s hands and walked right by me as if I didn’t exist. Reza said to me, “Don’t be offended.” I wasn’t because I’m aware that men and women who aren’t related don’t speak to each other in the traditional Muslim cultures. But it was strange to experience it firsthand after only reading about it … to be passed over as if I’m a ghost, a nonentity.
Farshad made a wonderful stew back at our camp while the lady of the house, who is one of the man’s daughters – his wife was run over by a vehicle while she was walking along the side of a road and was killed several years ago – made a large pot of rice. We ate the rice and stew together along with tea inside the “house” – the main structure which has carpets on the floor where the family sleeps and eats. The best part was “rice bread” – they fry bread in oil on the bottom of the rice pan and then make the rice on top of it, so the rice never gets burned, it’s perfect and the bread ends up kind of carmelized and crispy and delicious.
The Qashqai man told Erik he was drinking his tea wrong (and I was, too). You are to pour the cup of tea into the deep saucer the cup is served in and drink from the saucer! And if you want sugar in your tea, you don’t drop it into the cup, but hold a chunk of it between your teeth and drink the tea so you suck it through the sugar. Actually I’m very fond of this method -- the tea cools off immediately and you modulate the sugar intake with each sip. How brilliant.
The family was shy about having their photos taken, so I don’t really have any except a couple when they are working. The man is 69 though his birth certificate says 59 because his parents lived in a village and it took them 10 years to get to the city to get a certificate. He has never been to school, but his children have. He brought out his American shotgun to show us, he was clearly somewhat proud of it; it had a beautiful leather casing handmade by him (or family) on the butt.
Mr. Qajar told a story (a joke) that had everyone in stitches laughing … one guy bets another he can bite his own eyeball. It turns out he has a glass eye, so he takes it out and puts it in his mouth and wins the bet. Then he says he can now bite his other eye. The other man thinks there’s no way this guy can have two glass eyes, so it will be impossible. But the guy takes out one of his false teeth and sticks it in his eye.
That night there was a wedding taking place in the town across the valley, and we could hear the music blaring and firecrackers and celebratory gun shots. So under the stars inside our little tent I could hear sheep and goats baahing and bleating in the night, cow bells ringing on some of the goats, a donkey braying, crickets chirping, a pack of dogs barking and howling, Erik and Reza snoring, and modern dance music blasting through massive speakers. And meanwhile the nomad family and their chickens nestle into sleep while their campfire dies down.
In 1392 Erik and Shara flew across the ocean blue … oh, darn, we missed such a clever voyage by one year; in fact it is the year 1393 according to the Iranian calendar when we arrive in Iran. But as their new year begins at spring equinox, it has only just turned 1393. In addition to the utterly different calendar system, they have an unusual time offset from us as well, being past GMT by 3.5 hours … I hadn’t actually realized that any time zones went by half-hour increments off GMT.
We flew into Tehran through Moscow, and I can see how someone could actually live in the Moscow airport. We only walked from one terminal to another and hung out in terminal F, but this was an interesting and lengthy jaunt. I’ve never seen so many shops … you basically have to walk through a never-ending shopping arcade to get to the gates which are interspersed throughout the shops. Rows and rows and rows of sunglasses, a hundred times more duty-free liquor than you could shake a stick at, nesting dolls, Faberge eggs by the dozens opening up to reveal all manner of little things – castles, flowers, dancing couples, and pictures of the last Tzar, Nicholas II, and his family – high fashion clothing, perfumes, and the occasional small restaurant or bar. And it’s all virtually deserted. The walkway connecting terminals is like a 6-lane freeway on pedestrian scale, but virtually empty; the paths through the shops feel almost like alleyways, and the poor clerks and shop assistants must be bored beyond stiff … pretty women dressed all professionally with high-heeled shoes stand idly outside the store or busy themselves rearranging the lipsticks on a shelf. Feels a bit like the Hotel California. Compared to the dumpy and cramped little terminal we flew out of at JFK, this is The Ritz. Foreigners often have such high expectations of American facilities; surely any Russian flying out of Moscow to that JFK terminal (T1) must laugh a little derisively.
While sitting at a pub in the airport, I made note of some selections from the menu: “cheesecakes of cheese pancakes with sauce chocolate,” “pork skewers with potatoes on a rural,” and buckwheat porridge with onions.
We definitely got the red carpet treatment, well maybe not exactly red … as Americans entering Iran in the Tehran airport. Though we were one of the first people off the plane we were the very last people to leave the airport … after taking a long look at our passports, then extra paperwork needed to be filled out by immigration officers, then we were escorted in the “the little room” to have all of our fingerprints recorded. But everyone was very friendly about it … it’s just the requirements for us.
Reza is our awesome guide with excellent English and extensive knowledge, and easy-going. He will be with us the entire trip. I was quite nervous ahead of time how we might get along with someone for 16 days. But it’s going to be no problem at all as far I can foresee.
Tehran is not much to see as a city, very drab buildings shrouded in pollution. Some days the pollution is so bad that children are kept home from going to school. But the few old palaces and the mausoleum we did visit were beyond opulent. I’ve visited many palaces in Europe that I had always thought were opulent but really this was quite extraordinary. There are rooms with the ceilings and walls made of mirrors … cracked and placed into intricate designs. When you walk into these rooms and stairways it is though you are walking in a room of diamonds. Literally sparkling like diamonds – remarkable and even magical if you forget the country’s money was used for this ridiculous opulence rather than for feeding and caring for the people. Unfortunately you can’t take pictures inside these rooms. Though if you used a flash in one I think you’d be overwhelmed by the effects reflecting off the mirrors.
Here are some examples of outside spaces and peeking inside a door into one of these mirrored stairways at Golestan Palace.
Some other images from the Golestan Palace. The mother and daughter on the stairs had rented costumes to pose for photos; I asked them if they would mind if I also took their picture and they said OK. They looked so sweet in their period costumes.
Reza keeps saying Iran is a land of contrasts. One of these is the coexistence of incredibly ancient civilization history with very recent nobility history. So one of these palaces was that of the ruling dynasty until the revolution in 1979. Typically in Europe the palaces you tour of former nobility haven’t been inhabited by families actually living there for hundreds of years. Whereas this was abandoned only a few decades ago. One of the bedrooms of the last shah had daggers of mirrors hanging down in the shape of a star. The carpets were woven each completely unique and some as large as 140 square meters, the designs in the carpets reflecting/copying the design on the ceiling. One family business, all they did was make carpets for the royalty. Too much to write in the time constraints of a small post, but here are some pics from those palace grounds.
A couple things to note in these pics ... First is to notice how they used stained glass to color the mirrored pieces. The light coming through the colored windows reflects off the mirrored bits making them look like colored glass. So pretty. The second pic is just to document the first of I-don't-even-know-how-many photos I took of myself reflected in mirrors. I could make a whole gallery of pics of me with a camera to my face in a mirror ... for one thing, they're fun to take, and for another, you actually can't help it most of the time ... so many mirrors everywhere there's nowhere to hide yourself while taking the shot.
Having to wear a head scarf at all times, as every woman in Iran is required to do including foreigners, is, frankly, annoying. I like a cultural experience, but this is one I could do without. It’s hot and always falling off – clearly there is a technique the Iranian women employ but I don’t know what it is yet. I dread the hotter weather that is predicted. I am always conscious of whether it has fallen down.
We visited a mausoleum where Reza asked a random lady to escort me through, because women and men have to visit separate sides of the mausoleum, so Reza could not guide me. I had to wear a chador, which in this case was just a large piece of fabric the lady showed me how to properly drape over myself. She told me that as a first time visitor, if I made a wish inside, it would come true. But I was too preoccupied with trying to keep my chador together to remember to make a wish. My impromptu guide asked the shoe-check lady if I could take a photo … normally you can’t. First photo is mine, but second one Erik got inside the men’s side before he realized he wasn’t supposed to take photos. After we left the mausoleum and returned our chadors, the lady asked Reza where I was from. When he told her America, she said, "Oh, we are enemies!" At first I was horrified until I realized she was laughing and she was just kidding. She, like nearly everyone, recognizes the difference between individual American citizens and our government.
We walked through one of the traditional bazaars. The largest one in Tehran. We changed some of our US dollars with a money changer walking around the courtyard outside the bazaar. Reza said they give the best exchange rates, and that they are also like stock market traders. The crowd in the photo below is basically like a Wall Street where people are trading in gold and some other things. Very old school, eh!
Some obligatory photos from the bazaar.
Do you know what the green things are in the above photo? I certainly didn't ... they're almonds! I didn't know they started out green. Silly me.
Tehran traffic is hilarious in that it’s total chaos. Clearly, having only two lanes for each traffic direction in the city is a complete waste of pavement. The dotted lines might as well be the graffiti of hooligans for all the respect they receive. One way streets also mean nothing, particularly to motorcyclists, who not only lane split but drive between the bumpers of cars perpendicular to traffic while going the wrong way on the streets. And pedestrians are even wackier than any others I’ve seen. No rhyme or reason whatsoever to where and/or when they choose to cross.
This year’s activities from Ixtapa are a little spare; I'm just throwing everything into one post. I didn’t get to the wildlife sanctuary as much as I have in the past and I didn’t get off site of the resort (we stay the same place each year). The big unique excitement (ha) was getting to know the resort’s EMTs and hanging out in a wheelchair. We’ll get to that in a minute …..
If this is your first time reading a post from Ixtapa, you can find the posts from past years HERE. If you’ve vicariously joined me on this trip before, then you know my affinity for the small, dilapidated and utterly charming crocodile sanctuary just down the beach from our resort, where iguanas, turtles and a variety of birdlife also reside in a quiet lagoon of green water and densely-treed banks.
Among all the residents of this lush lagoon environment, I’m most smitten with the exotic, if slightly silly, spoonbill bird. They’re little devils to capture on film, though. (“film,” that is … rolls off the tongue so much smoother than “digitally.”) They live nestled deeply into the leafy branches of the trees. The first year I mostly just saw patches of pink and the occasional bill. I managed just a few pics. The next year, I dedicated a lot time to finding them and even got to witness them mating (see pics). THIS year I arrived my first day and found a nest with baby spoonbills!! I couldn’t believe it. The babies were feeding right out of the mother’s mouth. I was really quite beside myself at such a sweet score.
A short distance away was another nest with two juvenile spoonbills … it was interesting to see how they mature – that their feathers start out a very light pink and without the vibrant darker pink spots. Also their bills are just little stubby things, not yet elongated into the adult size.
I was so enthralled with the baby spoonbills I didn’t pay attention to much else that day. But I did finally sort-of-vaguely capture these little black and yellow birds that I’ve been trying to for 3 years now. They’re just little things and they flit quickly here and there and stay high, high up in the tree branches, disappearing into the leaves as soon as they land. I’ve learned to recognize one of their songs, though, so this year as soon as I heard it I would scan around and try to get a shot off before they scattered. If you look closely you can manage to pick them out, blurry among the leaves. Next year … these stinkers are on my hit list, for sure.
The next day I came, I paid more attention to the iguanas, which I have also come to love here. I’m not really a lizard/reptile kinda gal. So the fact that I’ve developed such affection for the iguanas and even, yes, the crocodiles, just goes to show that if you take the time to really study something, it might surprise you with an unexpected level of awesomeness. (Though I’m quite sure this will never be true for my estimation of most spiders, scorpions, and some other insects.) I really could sit and study the iguanas all day. Here are some for you to ponder.
Now I thought to myself, “OK, I’ve gotten photos of the spoonbills mating and of their babies, now it would be cool if I could capture them in flight.” Well, guess what. Those critters decided to oblige me and several of them flew back and forth across an open space in the lagoon. I was so excited. I really could hardly believe it. I became disappointed, though, when I discovered that I failed to capture any of the activity in focus. I had presumed my camera would do a better job than I would choosing a shutter speed in the auto sports mode, but I'm thinking I should have just set my own speed on shutter priority. One thing I will say about this photography hobby I’ve picked up … the more photos I take, the more I realize how little I actually know about photography.
But anyway … here are probably the best of what I managed to capture. First, the cheeky spoonbill taunting me – “Will I fly? Will I not? I just might! Or I might not.” -- until my arm gets tired of holding the camera up in anticipation and I lower it. Then, of course, he takes off. They look simultaneously elegant and awkward cutting through the air with their long necks and bills, their long legs dangling down kind of gangly, and their beautiful pink wings fanned out.
Finally, of course, I had to watch some crocodiles. In years past, I’ve found dozens of them crammed together against the fence or under the wooden viewing platform. This year they were scarce, for what reason I don’t know. Maybe I came at the wrong times of day. But here’s a couple smiling beasts for you. The first pic would have been awesome if it was in focus.. Maybe my camera was just on the fritz that day.
The other wildlife playground near our resort is a lovely cove on Ixtapa Island, just a short ride by boat taxi or a pleasant kayak paddle away. Fish come right up to the beach, you can see them just standing ankle deep in the water. (Notice bottom right hand corner of first photo you can see some little fishies in the water; the splashes are pelicans diving into the water.) There’s a surprisingly diverse collection of coral and some truly beautiful fish. We’ve snorkeled there several times now. It’s almost unfortunate that I’ve snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef, because nothing will ever compare. But I’ve learned to simply classify that as a wholly different experience. So compared to all the other snorkeling I’ve done, for such a po-dunk little place, I think it’s a great place to go, especially for beginners, being able to start directly from the shore. And ... always a bonus: super yummy tropical drinks! (peeps = father-in-law and family friend with the pineapple-head tropical drink (the punch is inside the real pineapple); me and Erik with rum punch and beer)
And now we come to the demise of the rest of my vacation. I took a spill down some stairs (don't bother asking; I was dead sober!) with very jagged, pointy edges at the pool and majorly sprained my ankle and pretty much scraped all the skin off the front of my leg from ankle to knee with some extra deep gouges and holes thrown in here and there. This is how I befriended the EMTs who fixed me up after the accident and then changed my bandages three times after that. The pain, I'll admit, was quite extraordinary. But I managed still to play games in the shade by the pool and the last night I rented (free) a wheelchair from the resort and had what I could genuinely refer to as fun as Erik wheeled me around ... for those who know him, you're probably already firing up the imagination. Yes -- monster wheelies, bouncing down steps, letting go of me altogether to roll downhill, pushing me as though I were on an amusement park ride on a set of tracks, etc. I even managed a game of ping pong in the wheelchair! And I was besting my opponent, I can't help but add. There was a kid's ping pong table ... it was regular regulation size but about half the height of a normal one, so perfect for me in my chair, but a little more awkward for my full-height opponent. (i.e. Erik)
Also had a wheelchair to meet me at DIA airport ... one silver lining is speeding through customs as there's a special line for wheelchair folks. A couple more birds from the sanctuary for you. (see more birds from last year here) Until next year .....
For my last installment on photos from Prague, let's visit some more contemporary sites and revel in some more random shots to give you the flavor of this predominantly classic European architectural wonderland. You will find those who say Prague is overrated, overcrowded, architecturally unimaginative ... I agree only with the middle sentiment, but encourage anyone to visit regardless. To be sure, if medieval architecture bores you, you may not have quite as splendid a time as I did, but there's always an awful lot of mighty fine beer. :)
The John Lennon Wall (mostly referred to as the Lennon Wall) has existed for a few decades now, a symbol of peace in a city who has gained freedom from the Cold War era's communist iron fist less than 30 years ago. Originally painted with a portrait of its namesake, now people write and paint perpetually; if you made a time-laps photo over a year it would look like a kaleidoscope changing color and shape. When I visited it the second time when Erik and I concluded our Central European journey, it was virtually unrecognizable from when I first saw it only three and half weeks earlier. It had transformed almost completely.
And here are some other random wall drawings. Something fun around every corner in Prague.
Prague is a city suffering from a profusion of statues ... in every courtyard; on every building whether on the walls, the roofs or in a corner niche; lampposts and cornerstones aren't just lampposts and cornerstone but statues holding up a lantern or building. Remarkable. I love it -- there is simply never a dull moment walking around the city.
Lots of good doors, too, and doorknockers and knobs ... from super ornate, to old and weathered, to a little bit whimsical. Here is a tiny selection ...
A now a wee taste of more modern Prague, with some interesting architecture in the first two photos below. After that are some shots from the Kampa Museum, a museum of modern art. Outside are several installations of mirror sculptures that really turn your view of the world upside down, sideways, and every direction in between. I of course am standing normally vertical to take the photos (too early in the day to have any kind of inebriation tilt ... ha ha) ... but it might take you a minute to figure them out!
Some other shots around town. Just everywhere you look, there is something picturesque. It's not really my intention to be a guidebook; I'm showing you the world as I see it. So I'll forgo an explanation of every shot. But just imagine yourself surrounded by interesting things wherever you go. Well, interesting in my estimation.
This is a poster with the icon for the Communist Museum. It was a very informative display and I'd recommend it to anyone. But I have to say, what I love most about it is the evil little nesting doll that represents it. I even bought a shirt with this picture on it.
A fun teensy weensy car and some friends and me at dinner.
And lo and behold, you have reached the end of Shara's 3-part romp through Prague! Hope you enjoyed the tour.
For my first 3-Hour Tour post, I’ll start with what I thought was one of the most fun routes we’ve discovered on account of all the mines and old buildings we ran across. Our most picturesque voyage in that area.
Let me explain briefly that the area around Nederland, Colorado, and especially between it and Central City, is criss-crossed every which way with old mining roads and old forest service roads. The area around Central City was once known as the “richest square-mile on earth” for the wealth of minerals in the ground, particularly gold and silver. I couldn’t even guess at the number of old abandoned mining cabins, mines and ore processing buildings that dot the forested landscape. Of course, by now, every year there are fewer as their age has finally reached a critical point where many are collapsing. So I value each one I run across, not knowing how much longer it will stand.
So on this particular adventure, it was our goal to locate a 4x4 route from Mammoth Gulch Road to Gamble Gulch Road. We had pretty amazing luck ending up where we wanted to, considering the maze of roads that exist in this area … truly dizzying and hard to know in the thick forest if you’re driving in circles or not. We usually go out late in the day when the sun is beyond helping us, and our 1988 4-Runner ain’t got no fancy compass thingy in it. In fact, it ain’t got no fancy anything. Which is partly what makes it a great vehicle for exploring … a few more dents and scratches aren’t even going to be noticed.
Putzing around online after we got home, I found a description of this route saying to be sure to bring your GPS for this very confusing route … Bah!! GPS-users are wimps. We even managed to find -- mapless and GPS-less -- the “shaft house” listed as an attraction of sorts on the website, and we didn’t even know it existed.
The description on the website also says parts of the route are "not for wide or shiny new SUVs." Ha … Trudy is perfect, as stated above! Trudy is the name I have given to our trusty 4-Runner. The site also states it’s a half day trip … but as you know, we did it in 3 hours. Pretty much any drive time stated in any source for any driving condition on any road with any vehicle can be practically halved with Erik at the wheel. Fortunately we get along well in this respect as I’m typically game for the faster pace. A lot of 4x4 route drivers go slowly in order to minimize the bumpiness of the ride for passengers, but I personally like a bumpy ride, it’s more like being on an amusement park ride or something.
At one point the road dead-ended, and fortunately we got out of the truck to have a look around, for we found this charming abandoned mining cabin. The mine entrance is right next to it, now collapsed and filled in as most mine entrances have been for safety reasons ... though I miss the old days when I first moved to the area and a lot of old mines had not been capped and you could walk into them. The mining cart tracks now just disappear into the weeds.
After this picturesque dead-end, we managed to turn around in very tight quarters and followed a different path which led us to what we'd been looking for ... Gamble Gulch Road ... a "regular" maintained dirt road. There was a gate at the end of the 4x4 path which fortunately somebody else had torn down, clearly for the purpose of allowing vehicles on the 4x4 route to pass through. Had the gate been standing, it would have been excruciatingly difficult and perhaps impossible to turn Trudy around on the narrow forested trail to find another route. Once on the Gamble Gulch Road, we ran across across more mines, shacks, processing buildings and artifacts from the mining days ...
The water leaves trippy colorful patterns on black plastic around this mine, which is pretty, but knowing normal water should not make those colors and should not be brown, takes a little from the beauty ... there are many contaminated mining areas.
A nice lookout, in a rare break from the narrow confines of the forest, to the backside of the Front Range mountains.