Tuesday, November 15, 2005

So this is how they did it!

I think I've figured out the explorer mentality - it requires determination and a lot of imagination.
On Monday, I covered 400 miles in southeastern Colorado, searching for the exact point at which Zebulon Pike first focused his spy glass on the mountain that would be named after him. I knew that historians had determined the location near the John Martin Reservoir so I started there. And an hour later, I was standing on the exact spot. Pike had camped with his men on the bank of the Arkansas River and as he scanned the horizon, he spotted what looked like a "small blue cloud" to the northwest. The weather on Monday was nearly perfect for mountain-finding, but a storm was moving in, so the sky was pretty much a collection of shades of blues and cirrus and cumulus clouds. Nevertheless, I trained my zoom camera lens (no spy glass for me, although I have to admit I wished I had one) on the horizon and squinted. Was that the small blue cloud? (See photo above) Or was it over there? Hard to say. But even if I didn't really duplicate Pike's experience, for a moment I felt like an explorer. The shortgrass prairie obliged. You really can see for miles here and what you see is unobstructed by cell towers, telephone poles or structures. The wind blows, the sky dominates. Maybe I'll go back with a spy glass. - Deb

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