While my parents were here, we went on several adventures. One of them was to The Paint Mines Interpretive Park out in Calhan, CO. It was an easy one hour drive from our house through the wide open ranch lands of Colorado. We saw several pockets of horses and farm animals along the way and when we got closer to the final destination, a different type of farm popped up: windmills! Yes. Windmills! Massive three-bladed windmills were scattered along the horizon. I thought for sure my GPS had taken me to the wrong place. But no, the GPS directed us exactly where we needed to be, which as it turns out, is basically the middle of nowhere.
Parking was very limited, so we had to create our own parking spot alongside others who were doing the same. Once we got out of the car and loaded the baby into the baby carrier, we began our journey.
The picture in my head of The Paint Mines was very different from the reality in front of me. Initially, I was disappointed. We had driven an hour and I had used up one of our precious mornings hoping to show my parents a new experience in Colorado; the path we were on was leading us through a field in the middle of nowhere. It was nothing special and looked like any other piece of farmland across the U.S. What had I done?!
After about 3/4 of a mile, we reached the crest of the path and that is where the wonder of the Paint Mines began to take place. Peeping through the farmland were rows and rows of eroded soil exposing bright white sandstone over a million years old. Thick layers of sandstone seemed to be ‘painted’ with bright purples and golds. It was quite an impressive sight.
Climbing on the delicate millions-of-years-old rock was highly discouraged (as noted by the multiple posted signs), so we settled for a nice stroll through the canyons and ventured up the hill for a higher vantage point.
Savannah enjoyed running around and checking out some of the smaller crevices. Orion semi-enjoyed riding in the backpack. Grandpa enjoyed comparing the beauty of the Paint Mines to something out of a Star Wars movie (Tatooine or Jakku perhaps?), Grandma enjoyed being with her grandkids, and I enjoyed taking photos. Overall, it was a great experience had by all.
Once the little ones began to get worn out, we trekked back to the car and unloaded the picnic lunch we had packed. That seemed to perk everyone up and it was quite peaceful sitting on a blanket in a field eating grapes and pimento cheese sandwiches.
It was such a wonderful day and a bit of a unique experience. I am continuously in awe of nature’s ability to create. These rock formations took millions and millions of years to form and only a tiny sliver of this impressive sight is actually showing through to the world above. I am sure the ‘boring farmland’ we were initially walking across will perhaps in another hundred years be another unique and stunning expansion to the formations already present.
I hope one day to go back and explore further!
September 9, 2020