Pawnee Buttes, CO, May 7th 2005

After returning to Fort Collins from a day of snowboarding at A-Basin, Wendy and I took advantage of the 3+ hours of remaining sunlight to visit the Pawnee Buttes, ~65 miles east of Fort Collins.

The Pawnee Buttes are sandstone formations caused by an inland sea 100 million years ago.

We set out on the 4.5 mile hike with some sun.

After hiking through some dusty, dried up basins, we saw the first of the, what I call, "towers".

In fact, there are two towers.

Pretty odd to have these 300 foot formations pop up in the middle of the plains.

I described the second "tower" as "if the liberty bell was turned into a cymbal."

Looking back at "tower" #1, I was reminded of the world of Stephen King's Dark Tower, an apocalyptic cowboyish land with magic doors to other worlds. The dirt road leading to a tower, as well as a "man in black" who was far ahead of us (you can see the dark speck at the end of the road in the previous pic). BTW he disappeared around the other side of the Tower...

The trail wound up and around Tower #2.

Finally the sun dipped below the clouds on it's way towards the horizen, and we were treated to some cool colored scenery.

I rushed around the bend to catch the full beauty of the colored sandstone

The dried up river delta looked stunning in the golden light

Amazing golden colors...

A look back at Tower #1.

We finished the loop around Tower #2. The golden glow was surrealish. (Look for the "woman in red pants" in the left corner)

We ran down the road back to the west side of Tower #1, in hopes of catching a pic of it before the sun completely set. Just made it.

We hiked back to the car (jogged some of it), and started to drive back to Fort Collins. Things got a little exciting when we couldn't find signs back to the main road, and took a bunch of gravel roads through barren land aiming towards the feintly lit skies (west). Also didn't help that our gas was low, and we didn't pass any gas stations on the way here. It was an adventure finding our way back, but we made it back just before the low gas light turned on. :-)

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