Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New Mexico Journal Day 3 Of Houses and Mountains and Colors

Hello and welcome to this week's edition of midweek escape to... New Mexico! Last week we were on our way to Red Canyon from Salt Lake City, just past the city limits the camera was constantly snapping away at one spectacular scenery after another. There was such an endless array of picturesque landscapes it was difficult to decide which ones end up in the final post. The challenge continues in this post, apart from capturing the countryside views, there was a welcoming change of homes which we encountered each time we neared a town. Sightings of older buildings were of particular interest, such as the ones pictured below. A row of identical looking cottages, were these for residential or livestock purposes?
Just a couple of miles away another home stood alone, this one a much older generation than the ones above, interestingly enough it was furnished with not one but two chimneys. Its weathered roof spoke of country charm, the scalloped design around the front door frame was a pretty detail.
A business we came across, the alphabets from the former sign had left a shadowy trace, if it was not for the flashy yellow sign one might assume this was an abandoned property.
The freeway led the little car into the distant blue, we were accompanied by the the rich tones of the bordering land on both sides.
A closer look of the mountains on the left, more triple colored ridges... 
... followed by dunes, an overall deep ochre with hints of reddish earth peeking through. 
It was delightful to come across such intense shades but the cooler and subtler palette below was a refreshing and soothing presence. This was the first time I came across something like it, I had no idea such shades existed in this part of the country. 
As the road pressed on, we were reminded earlier that morning the radio forecasted a good chance of grey and wet weather, some gathering clouds were witnessed along the way but none were as dense as this.
The sky grew darker and heavier until it was almost impossible to see the white, but strangely enough the cloud cover began to split up into two distinguishable sections. Lightning flashed and thunder was heard, but there was no sign of rain as the highway zoomed by, the ride was traveling at such a high speed we were too fast to get caught in the storm. Soon the clouds began to dissipate and... 
... we returned back to brighter pastures. 
The fortunate escape from bad weather was shortly followed by the lookout for a washroom stop, a sign for Hoovers Rest Area beckoned us to get off the road. A few minutes was spent freshening up, refilling the water bottles and re-organizing the snacks before heading back to the road. It was one of the nicest stopovers, a quiet little parking lot just steps away from the main road pleasant enough to have a nap. There was even a short trail to explore the mountains and trees, birds of unknown species were spotted chirping about the bushes.
Back on the route a vista similar to what we saw beforehand, grey mountains with sage green shrubbery and tan colored grass that were ever so typical of this region.
Just as we thought the drive would proceed through identical fields the sun decided to break through, it shone on the existing green grass and created a lovely glow, the result was this brilliant lime color. What a difference the sunshine made!
Happy to see the sunlight, the camera began to pick out anything it illuminated including some unusual buildings like this one captured below. It appeared to be a residential home, the rear a standard Western structure but its front a modified wall that encompassed a Southwestern theme. 
Another unique construction, its sandy stucco exterior well suited to the sunburst design on the arch, the plastered windows and doors forever sealed, whatever happened to this business or its occupants?
Not far away an old wood cabin, the bricks on the front yard seemed recently delivered, how long had the cottage been there and what would be its future purpose?
The shabby hut above was the first to welcome us to the rest of the farmstead, which comprised of several more structures just like it.
The camera could not stop snapping away, there was something captivating about the way the building frames were left to decay over the decades.
Perhaps it was because of the warmth that glowed within the deteriorating lumber, maybe it was the sentimental notion of what it would be like to live off such a land.
Just as the houses were roughened by the harsh climate so were the bordering terrain, the menacing rugged ridges a sharp contrast to the gentle rolling grass.
The camera detected some water nearby, this must be the reason for the healthy looking turf, it's amazing how great of a difference such little moisture made...
... even the shrubs on the hillside looked prolific. 
After 7 hours of driving we were finally getting close to Red Canyon, the road that took us through peaceful landscapes were suddenly bombarded by a mishmash of signs, each screaming louder than the next to alert us of available accommodations. Our plan was to stay at the campground located in the park, as informed by the staff at Salt Lake City visitor centre... well, if all the sites were occupied there would be many second options.
We drove on and went by a meandering river, paired with this waterway the faded far-off mountains felt everlastingly peaceful.
A glimpse of red were noted on the hills despite the falling evening dusk, colors seemed more saturated at this time of day.
The rain cloud we had previously escaped finally caught up to us... sigh, one could be lucky for only a limited amount of time. The change in weather did not stop the camera from recording, some lovely shades pulled through on the fluid speckled window. What will we find at Red Canyon? Our New Mexico adventure will continue next week!