Sunday, June 28, 2009

Elephant Rock 1880-2009

As a follow-up to yesterday's posting of pictures of the Elephant Rock formation near Monument, CO, I returned to the site after securing permission from the owners. Please note: Elephant Rock sits on private property and is privately owned.

Be respectful of an owner's rights and ask permission before entering onto private land. Always.

Tim and Carol Branaman graciously allowed me to ride onto their property on Brigitta, my 1987 R80 Beemer. Tim even said if I wanted to, I could try and ride the dirt path all the way to the top and next to Elephant Rock itself!

I had my doubts based on my views of the terrain around the rock formation from the entrance to the property yesterday. These doubts were confirmed shortly after I arrived today. After introductions were made, Tim and I walked all the the way up to the base of Elephant Rock and there was no way I was going to try riding up with the motorcycle!

Steep angles, lots of loose gravel covering the dirt surface of the trail, and shall we say an interestingly inclined sharp right turn just before you get to a level spot beside the rock. No thank you!

Tim is a rider as well and he empathized with my decision to not ride up. I understand now, why the angles that were picked by William Henry Jackson back in 1880 and John Fielder in 2000 were chosen. There's not much room to back up from this massive rock formation to get a more widespread view of the whole rock!

I had to use the panorama setting to capture this view of Elephant Rock today

The first picture by William Henry Jackson was re-shot in 2000 by John Fielder under a commission for the Colorado Historical Society. It was featured in the book: Colorado 1870 - 2000 which was quite the hit. I became more familiar with the above through the follow-on book by Fielder: Colorado 1870-2000 Revisited where he details how he shot the pictures he did.

Click the image above to get more information or purchase this book

Here's one more panoramic shot I took in an effort to capture the up close magnificence of this rock formation. As my previous posting shows, you don't need to actually be on the property to get good views of this rock formation. It's well worth a ride to its vicinity to take a look!

A mouse's view of an oncoming leviathan

As you might have noticed, the light levels were changing fast as I shot the pictures above. Rain clouds were closing it on our location. I chatted some more with Tim and Carol and soon left them with my thanks.

As they drove out, Tim said "Stay Dry" to me since some rain drops were starting to fall. I followed them out and headed towards the nearest entrance to northbound I-25. From there, amidst a few rain drops, I rode to outrun the storm and hopefully stay dry.

Traffic was not bad at all on the slab and I was soon at Castle Rock and had successfully outrun the storm. I turned onto the Shell gas station on Founders Parkway and captured this long distance shot of Pikes Peak:

Pikes Peak from Castle Rock

Once fueled up, I continued on my way home, continually looking back over my shoulder at the storm front coming north behind me.

Here's a view of the storm front from Parker:

It looks bad but in the end it never made it all the way to the Denver Metro Area. I worried for nothing and got home safe and sound and dry!

My thanks again to the Branaman's for their time and permission to get up close to this great rock formation!


Steve Williams said...

I don't know why I thought this but I just had this idea that all the land out there was owned by the government and in parks and such. The idea that this formation was on someone's private property amazed me.

Very cool. I want one myself. I wonder if there is a Vespa rock anywhere?

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Rob said...

The only formation I have on my property is a rock garden!