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The Crystal River

Colorado Springs Covered in Snow

The first stop on my grand adventure was at Georgetown Lake, CO. I couldn't resist the beauty and had to stop and take pictures. After all life is to short to miss taking the opportunities to enjoy every minute this life has to offer and so I did! It was a nice break from driving too. 

The Garden of the Gods is made up of a bunch of different rock formations and is the home of many different kinds of wildlife. One of the most notable formations is called, "the kissing camels." The park is free. It is a great place to have a picnic or just to hike around. It can be slippery in the snow though, just be mindful. 

The Garden of the Gods

​The Cave of the Winds

Many different animals live within the canyon, be cautious and do not attempt to interact with them and be aware that they can pop out on the road too. In the pictures to the left are some elk grazing. The one elk looked at me and wondered why I was trying to take pictures. Little did it know, that I just wanted to share with you!

Colorado Springs is home to five military bases! It is apart of the Rocky Mountains. It is a winter wonderland, a hail storm capital, and 300 days of sunshine. Always something to do, if you are outdoorsy type and weather isn't a big deal. 

Colorado Springs

Alright! Are we ever going to get to our destination? The short answer is yes and no.  Are you frustrated yet?? Welcome to my world...the thing is, after stopping so much I arrived in the canyon just before dusk. I was using google maps to get there which turned out to be my first mistake. The second was attempting go up a road that required 4wd and I definitely didn't have that. Google maps told me to take a road that was up a steep, rocky, one laned, and unpaved road. Now keep in mind that in Colorado during the early spring time, the higher elevations still have snow or ice, here and there. Being determined to see this mill after driving about 4 and a half hours from Colorado Springs, I started up this scary road thinking it would be close by. Ha! Boy was I wrong! 

It is dusk now, my windows are tinted which makes seeing even more difficult. Off to the side of me is a very steep incline. The road in front of me was getting more and more treacherous, and I was climbing even higher in altitude. The road was starting to get more snowy and icy. I just couldn't go much further. My quest had to get to the Crystal Mill had to end. So the challenge was to go back down but there was NO where to turn around. I had already struggled to get to this point and had no clue how to get myself out of this situation. 

The challenge was to back up about a mile without going off the side of the mountain with very limited visual and a very rocky and icy descent. Also, did I tell you that I am on this trip alone? Well I was and there was nobody around to help me. 

I started to back up, but some how, I backed up on to the side of the mountain. A couple times, this happened. Also, a couple times my car was literally driving on two wheels. At one point I freaked out and tried to get out but my car door wouldn't unlock at that particular angle. I took a couple deep breathes and pulled forward until all my wheels were safely on the ground.

As soon as, I got all the wheels on the ground, I got out and yelled. I yelled God ( I am not really a religious person) and I yelled, "I can't die in this ravine! My family would never forgive me, dying like this." I took a couple more deep breathes, and changed my strategy. After that everything got easier, I got out of the car every few feet to make sure my car was still on this treacherous road and that it was no where near the edge of the ravine. The road was that narrow! Anyway, I succeeded. I made it safe and sound off the scary road and I learned that there are just some chances you don't take. Being a risk taker is great, but it can also come with a high consequences. 

That evening, I drove back into Carbondale. I caught a room for the night and I was seriously rethinking this road trip. The next day though, I was thankful to be alive and I went back to the area but not to look for the mill. It was to just to enjoy the beautiful drive that I didn't get to enjoy before because I was trying to take a picture of a mill that has already been done a lot. The lesson learned. Here are a few pictures from Redstone, CO.

Absolutely magical!

Redstone, CO

On to my next destination...

The landscape of the Grand Canyon has been inhabited by humans for around 12000 years. The landscape was created by the Colorado River.  The day that I visited was a very foggy day which led to amazing highlights and contrasts. However, here is a small tidbit, if for some reason you are driving with a gps and it says next to road directions NF. That could mean trouble if you have a car and no 4wd. I discovered that it takes you into the National Forest, which wouldn't be so bad, except at this time year...early spring. It can royally suck because it is a dirt road covered in snow and mud. The road I was on, looked like nobody had driven on it for a while, and I was driving a malibu sedan. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time with my wheels spinning. However, I somehow survived the trip. Yay me! In the end, I just backtracked my way out, sadly I had driven six miles into the forest. Anyway, lesson learned!

The town of Redstone was created to man the coke ovens and was made up of their families too. Coke ovens were used to carbonize coal from the nearby coal mines. 

The Grand Canyon, Arizona 

The Cave of the Winds is located between Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs. It has a couple different tours, such as the discovery tour which is represented in the pictures above and the lantern tour. For more info go here. The tour you like depends on your tastes, I have done both and in my personal and completely subjective opinion.. well, I will just leave it up to you ;)

Coke Ovens

Onward to Crystal Mill!! So, I am driving along and I drive into this most Beautiful canyon that the Colorado river flows through. The urge to capture another beautiful view, I just gotta, right? I am a photographer and that is what photography least in my mind.  

Colorado River

I barely started driving again, when I saw this incredible view! So, of course, I have to stop, right? How else, are you really going to catch a glimpse into this epic road trip? 

2017 Road Trip

In April 2017, I sold my house in Colorado and, I had two options, the first was to move in with my very unique mother. The pros, she lives in a beautiful mountain area with nobody around. The con is nobody is around.

Anyway, the second option was to explore and go on a nice road trip. As a child, I have wondered all over the southwest but never had been given the chance to see up north. Mostly in my mind was Washington and Oregon, were the places I hadn't seen yet. Once I set my mind to go somewhere, it is almost like an invisible hand pushing me to get it done. So I started to my first destination which was "the crystal mill." 

The crystal mill is supposed to be one of the most photographed places in Colorado. So I said to myself, let's check it out. So here I am excited to see this mill that has been around since 1892! 

Christina Lean Photography, LLC
naNa, CO80816US
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