Paint Mines

I am constantly reminded that the earth is an amazing place. For me, the awe usually has to do with some kind of living creature. This past weekend it was rocks. Paint Mines in El Paso County, Colorado is a treasure of colorful rocks, spires, and hoodoos (a column of weathered rock). The colored bands were caused by oxidized iron compounds. Erosion exposed the layers of geologic history, creating the gullies and hoodoos in the process. And long before white settlers moved west, native peoples used the clays tinged with yellow, red, orange, purple and gray to make pottery. Some evidence points to humans inhabiting the area as long as 9,000 years ago.

Today it is a county park. In addition to the beautiful rocks, it is full of cottontails, jackrabbits, and deer. There were probably coyote slinking through the grasses too. And as the sun set, casting long shadows and intensifying the colors, I couldn’t help but once again, be amazed.