Saturday, June 27, 2009

Shooting Elephant Rock x Two!

It can so confusing to some of us when people elect to name two different stone formations with the same name and said formations exist within miles of each other!

I had blogged about trying to get close to Elephant Rock back in the end of January of 2009, I did not realize then that it's two different rock formations! Doh! 31JAN09 Ride

Today, I rode out knowing full well, after some more research and map scrutiny, that there were two Elephant Rocks. The more well known one, photographed since at least 1880, is located on what is now private property near Monument, CO.

I had called yesterday afternoon the current owners to request permission to pose Brigitta, my 1987 R80 Beemer in the same angle as John Fielder did while following in the footsteps of William Henry Jackson. I got a reply from the owner but didn't realize it till I returned home from taking the pictures below. No problem, after a very nice chat, he agreed to meet with me tomorrow afternoon and escort me to the same spot for pictures! Tune in tomorrow for that one.

In the meantime though, you can ride pretty close to this Elephant Rock without trespassing on private property. I am a big believer in respecting people's property rights, I hope you are as well if you chose to do this ride.

The current owner is justifiably insistent on his property rights. Please, contact me and I can relay to him your request for access if you've good reasons. However, since a map survey readily reveals the street next to Elephant Rock, I don't feel I am causing him any trouble. Check google maps and put in Elephant Rock and Monument as your search terms and you'll get this:

Courtesy: Google Maps

I rode down to Parker and used the Crowfoot Parkway to get me to Castle Rock as usual. From there it's across the I-25 Slab to Wolfenberger Road which junctions with CO 105. I took CO 105 southbound, throughly enjoying its gentle curves and rolling terrain with pastoral views of private ranches and homes on both sides.

Soon enough, I was at the outskirts of the town of Palmer Lake:

The view to the south, from just outside the Palmer Lake's city limits

You can glimpse the monument mesas to the NE of Palmer Lake

I first tried the roads leading to the housing subdivision located to the south of the SW portion of Ben Lomand Mountain. No go in terms of viewing Elephant Rock.

I got back on County Line Road and it took me to Indi Drive and I used this to get to Capella Drive which eventually leads you to Belatrix Drive. Note, Capella turns into a dirt road. Take Belatrix, which is also a dirt road, almost all the way down and you'll see this:

The driveway beyond Brigitta is private property, please respect the owner's rights!

Left side closeup view of the elephant's head

For a phto of Elephant Rock, circa 1880, go to DPL: Call# chs.j122

I think I was on Draco Circle when I got the above shot

Beware though, the sides of the dirt roads have negative camber! Brigitta fell over to her right side after I'd walked away from her to take the above picture. So now, I'll be repairing her fairing once again. Or perhaps, she'll once again ride without one. We shall see.

I believe this is the view from Hamal Drive

As you can see, the nearby roads to the east of Elephant Rock can give you opportunities to photograph the rock formation itself and your motorcycle.

Here's a shot of Monument's Elephant Rock's right flank, from the Mission Training Center's parking lot, just off of CO 105, between Monument and Palmer Lake.

Go to DPL, search images/photos: Call# p-1858

I continued on CO 105, this time heading north towards Sedalia. When I junctioned with CO 67, I turned west heading towards Deckers. Pretty soon after you enter the canyon, you'll see a road marked as private with many house number signs. They also take trespassing seriously here so be sure to stay on the road which is designated by Douglas County as a public road. Yep, I checked.

I followed this dirt road, which is a bit sandy in spots so be careful, all the way to the top where I finally found myself near the rocks which form the second Elephant Rock. Here's the closest I got to them back in January:

Sedalia's Elephant Rock January 2009

The above is the best I could with my regular camera, I'll try and get a better shot from CO 105 tomorrow when I return to the area.

Up close, it's hard where I was stopped initially to see the elephant shape. One of the owners, John, stopped by and we had a nice chat. He gave me directions back to his property, and told me it was OK to park on his land and take shots which might give the idea of why the rocks are called what they are.

I headed back following John's directions and got these shots. I had to dismount Brigitta to shoot these shots:

Views of Sedalia's Elephant rock's right flank

Please get permission from the owners before wandering off the public road to get shots like the ones above!

Here's a shot with Brigitta, through the trees which surround this Elephant Rock, which gives a better feel for why its named the way it is:

Done with the shots above, I slowly rode the dirt road back down towards CO 67. I turned back towards Sedalia and after transiting through this town, got on US 85 southbound back towards Castlerock.

The rest of the ride home was unremarkable. Plenty of other motorcycle riders out today since the weather was gorgeous for riding. Not too many folks wearing proper riding gear or even a helmet however. I hope they don't find out the hard way what happens when you go down without safety gear!

I was home by 3:00 PM I think, and I removed Brigitta's damaged fairing. Tomorrow's posting will show her in her original "naked" state. I have to reconsider whether to repair the fairing once again, she's just going to have another oopsie moment if I keep riding dirt roads!

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