Biting the Dust, Literally

Denver spring weather has lately been Denver spring weather. For the weekend we kept reading warnings about severe thunderstorms, heavy rain, possibly large hail and isolated tornadoes. So instead of waiting to see what Colorado decides to throw on us this time, we checked the map and the weather map and picked a hiking trail from the good weather area. This time it happened to be south east Colorado and Picketwire Canyon for some dinosaur tracks, Spanish Mission Ruins and wind so strong that we had to wear bandanas in front of our mouths and noses to be able to breathe and to not bite the literal dust that was flying around.

The Picketwire trail starts by descending to the canyon.

The Picketwire trail starts by descending to the canyon.

Down in the canyon.

Down in the canyon.

Cemetery from the 1890's.

Cemetery from the 1890’s.




Spanish Dolores Mission ruins.

The bright midday light is the worst light for photography, but the harsh sun shining directly from above our heads made this place feel like it should be in a Sergio Leone movie. Even though I prefer the mountain Colorado, I’m starting to learn to love the grasslands and the prairie too. I’ve learned to love the history and the muted colours.

After a fun but a bit hard river crossing (I’m 5’10” tall and the water was to my mid thigh and strong current) we got to the main dinosaur track site, the largest in North America. I was surprised we were actually able to access the site and get close to the prints. I guess they don’t get that many visitors a year that erosion would be a huge risk. The river would’ve been easier to cross later in the summer, but 86 F is enough for me, I don’t think I would be able to hike if the temperature got up to 110 F…


The husband checking the dinosaur track site.

A dino print.

A dino print!


More dino prints!

At first I had thought that the hike would be relatively easy ten miles, not crazy up up up but relatively flat, but the wind blowing the dust and our winter doing nothing but easy two miles hikes and sitting on our butts did me in. I’m also sensitive to heat, so we typically try to be on the trailhead as early as possible to avoid the midday heat. The dinosaur tracks made the aching feet so worth it. And when we finally returned to Denver, we read news about tornado warnings and saw golfball sized hail sitting in the puddles. I preferred spending money on gas instead of spending the money to fix hail damage on the car. And I’m scared of tornadoes.

About Salla

Photography, travel. BIRDS.
This entry was posted in Colorado, Hiking, Photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Biting the Dust, Literally

  1. Love the old cemetery. If your ever near Dallas Texas, Dinosaur Valley State Park has some similar prints. Thanks for sharing.


  2. plaidcamper says:

    Dinosaur footprints and old ruins on a flat hike? I’m in! In your face dust and high winds, not so much…
    I remember seeing dinosaur prints on the Isle of Wight, South UK many years ago and being so excited! It would still be a thrill today!
    Hopefully, you’ll get some reliable weather soon…


    • Salla says:

      Yeah it was worth it! I need to get back in shape for the summer hiking season. Every autumn I promise I’ll get some exercise during the winter and every spring the same thing happens.

      Colorado is definitely cool for all things dinosaur, I’m always in. This summer I want to go back to Dinosaur National Monument in the north west corner of the state.


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