DBoucher Photography: Blog https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog en-us Copyright DBoucher Photography - All Rights Reserved dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:33:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:33:00 GMT https://www.dboucher-photography.com/img/s/v-12/u458831169-o896950360-50.jpg DBoucher Photography: Blog https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog 120 104 If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 # 45-48 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2020/3/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-45-48 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past.

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Scraped together all he had. Headed west. Rich, fertile land his for the taking they said. By time he could see the truth of it, the man’s pride was all he had left. 

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #45

Leans against the porch rail looking out over the prairie. View lifted from the ground by mountains to the north and east. Twists her apron about the fingers of her left hand. Had a bad feeling when he left. Should have been back before now.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol2 #46

Runs her gnarled hand over the fabric of the quilt. Like her, worn now with age. Each square a story. Lives and loves gained and lost.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #47

His work. How he treats women, children, animals. That’s the worth of a man. Rest of it doesn’t much matter.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #48 DBOUCHER-PHOTOGRAPHY.COM COPYRIGHT

To be continued...

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2020/3/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-45-48 Fri, 13 Mar 2020 15:23:23 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #41-44 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2020/3/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-41-44 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

Always sat in the front pew. Would have crawled through the cactus studded desert  on her hands and knees to get there rather than miss the Sunday sermon.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 # 41

She was beautiful once. Before the wind and sun scoured her face. Before sorrow broke her heart. Before the prairie broke her spirit.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 # 42

Graveyard full of stories never told. Folks that were never asked. 

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 # 43

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Wind whistles through the gaps in the roof. He pays it no mind. Wood enough for the fire, half full jug next to the chair. It’s enough.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 # 44

To be continued...

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk old west ruins western https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2020/3/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-41-44 Tue, 10 Mar 2020 19:51:40 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #37 - 40 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2020/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-37---40 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

Coldest winter in any living person’s memory. Too cold to snow. Chickens freeze to death in the coop. Coyotes circle the barn. Look for anything to bring back to their pups. Old timers still telling the story.
If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #37

 

Sneaked in during the night and stuck the head out the window. Couldn’t wait to see teachers face in the morning. If not for the look on their own faces, they may have gotten away with it.
If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 # 38


 

Cabin leaned some. Much like the old woman that lived in it.
If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 # 39

 

Made the curtains herself. Children’s clothes, too. Nearly grown before they had anything store bought.
If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 # 40 

To be continued...

 

 

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk old west ruins western https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2020/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-37---40 Sat, 11 Jan 2020 15:37:11 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #33-36 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/12/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-33-36 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

 

His old barn gives over to age and neglect. Chicken coop laid flat behind it. Animals gone as long as anyone can remember.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #33

 

Her father gave his blessing. Still, the young man’s heart was pounding.  He asked her in the spring time, in a field of wildflowers behind the barn.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol2 #34

Farmhouse always in need of some kind of fixin. No sooner patch the roof the wind kicks up something fierce and it needs fixin again.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #35

She died giving birth to the girl. Father keeps a picture on the heavy oak mantle. Says she has her mother's eyes.

If the Walls Could talk series Vol 2 #36

To be continued...

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk old west ruins western https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/12/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-33-36 Sun, 29 Dec 2019 03:30:19 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #29-32 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/12/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-29-32 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

They were all of em there by eight in the morning. Leaning against the cracked stucco, lighting Lucky Strikes and drinking weak coffee. Complaining of the poor harvest. Worried eyes darting back and forth to a cloudless sky.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #29

   

The wedding, a grand affair by all accounts, and the home they moved into afterward, was paid for by the bride’s father, prominent banker, Mr. Maxwell Barton. The couple honeymoon abroad, and are expected to return in the fall, at which time the young groom will return to banking under the tutelage of his father-in-law. 

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2  #30

 

Had no use for it when word came the old woman passed on.  Wanted to sell the place, but the town died years before she did.

 If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #31 

Couldn’t shake his need for the bottle. Four or five of em hid in the barn. She pretends not to know. Better that way.  

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 # 32 

To be continued...

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk old west ruins western https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/12/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-29-32 Wed, 11 Dec 2019 19:59:23 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #25-28 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/11/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-25-28 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

The only trees, planted no doubt for shade and windbreak, are those surrounding the old homestead. A house, a barn, a few small buildings meant to house chickens and other animals. Wood grayed and splintered.  If I quiet myself, I can hear the cock crowing in the early morning, and the snorting of pigs in the pen awaiting breakfast slops.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2  # 25 

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Neighbors would’ve helped had they known the old man was sick. Did his best to keep it from ‘em. Couldn’t abide charity.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #26

 

Reins his horse in on the low rise above Pa’s ranch. Place hasn’t changed much since he left. Now it’s his. Wishes he’d come back a little sooner.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #27 

 

Whole town’s in the barn. Fiddle and harmonica music carries off into the night. He steals glances at the girl. She peers through her lashes across the dance floor at him. He wants to know her name. Imagines a few minutes alone with her outside in the moonlight.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #28 

To be continued...  

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk old west ruins western https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/11/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-25-28 Sun, 24 Nov 2019 02:50:52 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #21-24 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/11/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-21-24
I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

He knew the drink was gonna kill him. Just couldn’t find anything about the notion that made any difference.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #21

 

Twelve years old when he said he aimed to marry her. Nineteen when he kept his promise.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 # 22   

 

Don’t matter the change in his pocket. A man ain’t worth no more’n his word.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 # 23

 

Russian thistle the only thing that grows. Collect it to make hay for starving cattle. Pickle it to eat ourselves. Banks of drifting soil pile up against anything solid, filters into any place air can reach. Our home. Our lungs. They call it the dust bowl. We call it misery.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 # 24  

To be continued...

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk old west ruins western https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/11/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-21-24 Sat, 16 Nov 2019 22:51:43 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #17 - 20 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/11/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-17---20 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

Only the girl ever paid the old man any mind. Boys off raisin’ hell somewhere.  Made her way to Granddads’ store every day after chores.   

If the Walls could Talk series Vol 2 #17

 

Fire crackles in the woodstove in the corner. Candles cast warm light and dancing shadows across the walls. He watches as she removes the pins and hair the color of a raven’s feather falls down her back.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 # 18

 

Tossed two grayed undershirts and a pair of coveralls over the line. Wasn’t so much that she left him that got him all riled up. Was more that she left him to fend for himself.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #19 

Didn’t exactly come by it fair and square. Paid folks to look the other way. Plenty to be had by a man that plays his cards right.

If The Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #20 

To be continued....

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk old west ruins western https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/11/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-17---20 Fri, 08 Nov 2019 20:17:38 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #13-16 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/10/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-13-16 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

 

Winter dried sage, prairie grass crunches underfoot.  Wind kicks up little dust devils. Silence disturbed by occasional bird call, the creaking of a wooden gate on rusty hinges.  

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #13

 

Carefully sets two porcelain cups, rimmed in gold and patterned in pink roses, on the scarred pine table. Boils water for the last of the tea in the tin. Rarely gets visitors these days.  

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 # 14 

 

Rained like the Good Lord was wringin’ out the clouds. Stopped five times on the way to town to scrape mud off the old mule’s hooves.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #15   

 

Three years since he come upon it. Run the critters out and took it for himself. Lived alone. Couldn't tolerate the noise of others. Was as harsh and unforgiving as the land he stood on.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 # 16   

To be continued...

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk old west ruins western https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/10/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-13-16 Fri, 25 Oct 2019 21:21:26 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #9-12 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/10/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-9-12 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

 

Go to school when they can. Stay home when they have to. Harvest. Winter storms. Teacher understands. She’s not much older than the oldest among them. 

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #9

Likes early morning chores best. Before nonsense has a chance to set in. Sound of horses grinding oats. Window light throwing rays over the stalls and dust like frost crystals in the air. Barn cats waiting their share of the milk. Everything as it should be. 

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #10

Took the tin pot from the stove. Filled his cup with muddy coffee and moved to the window. Fog finally lifting.  

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #11

Winter soot darkens the whitewashed walls. The pine floors.  She’ll scrub it all down with vinegar soon as it’s warm enough to open the windows.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #12

To be continued...

 

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk old west ruins western https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/10/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-9-12 Fri, 11 Oct 2019 15:04:17 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #1-8 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/7/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-1-8 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

Neighbors came from miles around for the wedding. Knees of their pants green as the boys play in the grass under picnic tables set with pies and cobblers. Old men seek shade under the cottonwoods.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol. 2 #1

 

No one else for miles in any direction. Suits him just fine. Cows’re all the company he requires. 

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #2

 

House was a wedding gift from Pa. Set down a half mile from the big house. Gave it to his son and moved back to the big house when Pa started ailing.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #3

 

Took in a boarder after he passed. Young teacher from Iowa paid 2.50 a week. Bought  her a room and 2 meals a day. Arrangement suited them both.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #4

 

30 years before. Less than a half mile away. Even now, on the still of an early morning, the wails of the lost carry across the prairie. (Sand Creek Massacre - Kiowa County, Colorado Nov. 1864)

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #5 

 

Lived alone at the edge of town. None but a couple old plow horses, a half blind dog, and a bottle for company.

If the Wall Could Talk series Vol 2 #6

Work down the mine all night.  Talk is the silver’s played out. Got a notion to try my luck elsewheres. Do a little prospectin of my own.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #7

 

Sits his horse in the shade the barn throws over the sage. Ponders the cattle in the pasture.  Horses at the river bank. None of it come easy. Harder yet to hold it.

If the Walls Could Talk series Vol 2 #8

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/7/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-vol-2-1-8 Wed, 31 Jul 2019 13:12:44 GMT
Coors - A little known bit of beer company history https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/5/coors---a-little-known-bit-of-beer-company-history Coors - A little known bit of beer company history

The Volstead Act, passed in 1914, put most of the nation’s breweries out of business.  Coors, based in Golden, Colorado was forced to dump 17,000 barrels of beer into nearby Clear Creek. 

One wonders how that affected the fish.  

Prohibition hit Colorado in 1916, 3 years before the other states in the Union. The law banned the sale of beer, but the ingredients for making it remained legal. One way the Coors family found to remain in business was the production of malted milk, made the same way malted barley is made for beer.  Coors sold their malted milk to candy companies such as Mars, to soda fountains, and advertised it as a healthful food for babies, mothers, and invalids.

Another attempt at survival was not nearly as successful. The manufacture of near beer failed miserably due the public’s willingness to break the law and make and sell beer themselves rather than go without.

Malted syrup was still for sale as a baking ingredient, and sales were, needless to say, high.

By the end of Prohibition, only 100 of the original 1300 American breweries survived. Coors was one of them.

During a recent exploration of Colorado back roads, a friend and I chanced upon this rusted out Coors malted milk can amid other interesting artifacts left behind by an enterprising long ago resident.  It was the first I learned of the Coors foray into the malted milk business. Considering the size of the can, (10 pounds), I have a good guess as to its ultimate use.

As always, I take nothing but pictures, the can remains where it has sat for who knows how long for some other explorer to discover.

A recent search reveals a can this size in good condition goes for as high as $164 on EBay.

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) coors coors beer coors malted milk can malted milk prohibition malted milk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/5/coors---a-little-known-bit-of-beer-company-history Tue, 21 May 2019 18:15:03 GMT
Crystal Mill – One of Colorado’s most photographed sites https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/4/crystal-mill-one-of-colorado-s-most-photographed-sites Crystal Mill - One of Colorado's most photographed sites

It’s interesting that a location reported to be one of Colorado’s most photographed sites is so darn hard to get to.  I suppose it speaks to its fundamental beauty, resting precariously as it does on a rock outcropping above the Crystal River and surrounded by aspen in all its green or golden glory, (depending on whether you go in summer or fall).  The little waterfall doesn’t hurt either. To say this is a picturesque location is an understatement. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people make their way up this rough and rocky road each year with camera in hand.

Crystal Mill - Autumn

Crystal Mill - AutumnCrystal Mill - AutumnCrystal Mill was placed on the National Historic Register in 1985, the Crystal Mill near Marble, Colorado was actually a powerhouse, not a mill, and is one of the most photographed buildings in Colorado, despite being very difficult to get to.

Crystal Mill - Summer

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The mill was built in 1893 by the Sheep Mountain Mining and Tunnel Company, and was called the Sheep Mountain Power House at the Lost Horse Millsite. Located just below the small 1880’s silver mining camp of Crystal City, it wouldn’t become known as the Crystal Mill until many years later.

The powerhouse used water from the Crystal River to operate the air compressor housed inside. There has never been electricity to the area mines or to the town of Crystal. A dam had been built across the river to funnel water down the penstock, (the ladder), to a wheel at the bottom that powered the air compressor, that in turn delivered power to the drills in the mines.

Crystal Mill in the 1890's - note the roof tops of Crystal City in the background, now reclaimed by aspen and pine.

Crystal City was a hoppin’ little place in its heyday, but it’s difficult to reach location made bringing in supplies virtually impossible in the winter.  The town slowly declined in population and was reduced to only a handful of residents by the time the mines closed in 1917. Some old buildings remain, and a few folks still spend their summers here. Make sure to visit the little book store.

The Crystal Mill was added to the National Register of Historic Places in July, 1985, and its likeness has made it's way to many a postcard and calendar cover over the years.

A high clearance, 4x4 vehicle is required to reach the mill, which is approximately 6 miles east of Marble. The road is narrow, rocky, and difficult to maneuver, especially when encountering a vehicle coming from the opposite direction.  In the summer months, the road is clogged with atv’s and jeeps moving in both directions, which makes hiking to the mill a dusty adventure.  Beginning your route from Marble is recommended. Approaching from Crested Butte takes you over Schofield Pass and the Devil’s Punchbowl, one of the most dangerous, and deadliest, shelf roads in Colorado. Think long and hard about that one unless you’re a seasoned and very skilled 4 wheeler.

Crystal Mill shut down when the mines closed, but thanks to the efforts of local residents and the Gunnison and Aspen Historical Societies, it remains atop its perch for the rest of us to enjoy.

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) . 4x4 jeep road Colorado Crystal City Crystal Mill Crystal Mill autumn Crystal Mill fall Crystal Mill summer Crystal river Marble Colorado silver mines https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/4/crystal-mill-one-of-colorado-s-most-photographed-sites Mon, 22 Apr 2019 02:30:00 GMT
A small piece of Colorado history - Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/4/a-small-piece-of-colorado-history---our-lady-of-mount-carmel-catholic-church Our Lady of Mount Carmel ChurchOur Lady of Mount Carmel ChurchBuilt in 1898, Southern Colorado near Trinidad on Hwy 12

 

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, Southern Colorado

On a recent day trip along Southern Colorado’s Highway 12 my friend Nancy and I happened upon this little church outside one of the historical towns on the route.  Whenever I come upon a building or place I know nothing about, I try to learn as much as possible of its history.  It took a bit of digging, but I was able to learn something about this long abandoned little church.

The community of Plaza De Los Cordobas (Cordova) was named for the family that settled there after moving from New Mexico to the new state of Colorado in 1877.

The Hispanic communities, or plazas, were built with buildings on all sides to form protection from marauders, and most always included a family church. The Cordova family built their church, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, named for their patron saint, in 1878. The church was in use until 1940.

This information was taken from Cordova family heritage records:

"The Cordova Family was deeply religious. As a testament to their faith, Jesus Maria Cordova & Maria Maneulita Martinez Cordova built a chapel in honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in 1878. The flat-roofed chapel was renovated in the early 1900s with the addition of a pitched roof and wooden floor. On January 17, 1915, when Arturo was 8 years old, he witnessed the burial of his Uncle Jose Rafael beneath the floorboards, the last interment beneath the floor of the chapel. By this time the underground space was filled solidly with corpses side by side in their semi-decayed coffins… Jose del Carmel, its builder, was the first to be buried there. About 50 immediate members of the family are buried there."

Buried there? Under the floorboards?

This was the first time I’d ever heard of such a thing, but as I was about to learn, this was not such an uncommon practice.

From The A-Z of Death and Dying: Social, Medical, and Cultural Aspects, edited by Michael Brennan:

“In Europe in the Middle Ages, and up until the mid-19th century, bodies might also be buried under the floorboards of Christian churches and in crypts designed for the purpose.  It was believed at the time that the closer to the altar a person was buried, the closer they were to God, and thus, to a place in heaven.”

I have no idea if they are still there, or were later interred elsewhere.

NOTE: The church is on PRIVATE property near the town of Weston.  Photos must be taken from the public roadway.

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned Catholic Church church Colorado Cordova Family church historic Our Lady of Mount Carmel southern Colorado Weston Colorado https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/4/a-small-piece-of-colorado-history---our-lady-of-mount-carmel-catholic-church Tue, 02 Apr 2019 21:24:56 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series #97-100 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/3/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-97-100 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past. Continuation of series, images 97-100.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

1936. She’d heard of mothers selling children they could no longer afford to feed. Briefly, just for a moment, in her pain she considers it. Desperately she prays for forgiveness.

If the Walls Could Talk series # 97

Church LightChurch LightSt Agnes Catholic Church, Matheson, Colorado Built in 1921

 

A hard life for her. Words don’t come easy for him. A bolt of cloth. A new thimble. The meaning behind his gift is clear.

If the Walls Could Talk series # 98

  

Was a time a cowboy could run cattle from Texas to Colorado an’ never see a fence.  Those days are long gone. Some’d say different. To my mind it comes down to the devil barbwire and greed.  

If the Walls Could Talk series # 99  

 

 

 

All his dreams tied up in this land. In this barn. Dream never stretched any further than that. 

If the Walls Could Talk series # 100

Big Red BarnBig Red BarnRed barn, near Calhan, Colorado

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/3/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-97-100 Tue, 12 Mar 2019 19:56:08 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series #93-96 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/3/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-93-96 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past. Continuation of series, images 93-96.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

Bitter pain. A broken heart. He is a healer. How could he not save his own son?

If the Walls Could Talk series # 93

 

Told her he’d be back in a day or two. Storm blew in a few hours later. Been three years now. Neighbors help where they can.

If the Walls Could Talk series # 94

Winter BeginsWinter BeginsMormon Row barn in first snowstorm of the season, Grand Tetons National Park. For me, this image invokes the sound of sleigh bells. I expect to see a sleigh with a blanket wrapped family ride into the scene at any moment. TA Moulton Barn.  

Always underfoot. Couldn’t wait to get big and help Pa like her brothers did. Never dreamed it would be hers one day. Worked the place like her life depended on it.

If the Walls Could Talk series # 95 

Red BarnsRed BarnsRed Barns, south eastern Colorado plains.

 

It was cruel, the lies that brought them here. The only thing fertile about the land was the people trying to farm it.

If the Walls Could Talk series # 96

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/3/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-93-96 Tue, 12 Mar 2019 19:38:25 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series# 89-92 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/2/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-89-92 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past. Continuation of series, images 89-92.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

Hides in the hayloft after chores. Book in his hands. Only place to read in peace. Brothers won’t think to look here.

If the Walls Could Talk series # 89 If the Walls Could Talk series #89If the Walls Could Talk series #89Hides in the hayloft after chores. Book in his hands. Only place to read in peace. Brothers won't think to look here.
Old barn, near Canyon City, Colorado

Places a pitcher of milk on the table. Runs her hands down the front of her apron, turns back to the stove. Born twelve children. Seven survived. The babe she carries now will come soon. Perhaps another mouth to feed. Perhaps not.

If the Walls Could Talk series #90

An old man now. Remembering that day. Choice he made echoed through every minute of his life. Like ripples on the water when a stone is thrown in.

If the walls Could Talk series #91

Didn’t have much. Could pack it all in one wagon load.  But the Lord’s blessed them with all they need. Enough to eat. Each other.

If the Walls Could Talk series #92

To be continued...

 

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/2/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-89-92 Fri, 22 Feb 2019 00:00:13 GMT
Iconic locations of the American West in movies and commercials https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/2/iconic-locations-of-the-american-west-in-movies-and-commercials It occurred to me that several of the places I’ve visited and photographed over the years have been featured on film. I thought it would be fun to do a little research and learn something about that. This is a little of what I dug up, (mostly in Utah), and is by no means a comprehensive list.

I’ll start with the oldest on record.

 

Lower Falls, Yellowstone

Thomas Moran painted it in 1872, Albert Bierstadt in 1881. Their work brought awareness of the need to protect public lands and supported the push for the first National Park in the US. Since then, countless gazillions of paintings and photographs have been made of the Lower Falls in Yellowstone National Park.  In 1899, a short film, (very short, only 26 seconds) was made of the water going over the falls. It is thought to be part of the Northern Pacific Railway Series copyrighted by Thomas Edison, January 4, 1899. Another silent film, about 5 minutes long, was made by William Horsley, photographed by Henry G. Peabody, in the 1920’s. Both were intended as tourism documentaries. Too bad the place never caught on.

Lower Falls, Yellowstone National ParkLower Falls, Yellowstone National ParkThomas Moran painted it in 1872, Albert Bierstadt in 1881. Their work brought awareness of the need to protect public lands and supporting the push for the first National Park in the US. Since then, countless gazillions of paintings and photographs have been made of the Lower Falls in Yellowstone National Park. This is mine, made from Artist Point.

John Ford Point

This location was featured in film director John Ford’s Stagecoach in 1939 starring John Wayne,  She wore a Yellow Ribbon, in 1949, and in The Searchers, also starring John Wayne, in 1956. Easy Rider took advantage of this iconic view in 1969, and more recently, The Lone Ranger in 2013. Located on the Navajo Nation of Arizona and Utah, it is one of the most photographed locations in Monument Valley. Second only perhaps to the Mittens.

John Ford Point, Monument Valley, UtahJohn Ford Point, Monument Valley, UtahIconic location featured in director John Ford films, The searchers and Stagecoach, starring John Wayne, among others.

The Three Gossips

This 350 foot tall formation in the Courthouse area of Arches National Park, Utah, was named for its resemblance to three 'Nefertiti' looking people presumably ‘gossiping’.  A scene in Thelma and Louise, 1991, was filmed here. So were parts of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, 1989, and Hulk in 2003. The image was made during a beautiful sunrise.

The Three Gossips, Arches National ParkThe Three Gossips, Arches National ParkThis 350 foot tall formation in Arches National Park, Utah, was named for its resemblance to three people presumably ‘gossiping’.

Mesa Arch

Mesa Arch is arguably the most photographed location in Canyonlands National Park.  I’ve heard stories of photographers 100 deep vying for the best spot when the sun comes up and lights the bottom of the arch with a vivid orange glow. I was lucky this day in October. There were two other people there. And they weren’t carrying cameras. Mesa Arch has not been featured in any movies that I know of, but it was offered as one of the standard desktop backgrounds in Windows 7.  So it qualifies IMHO.

Mesa Arch, Canyonlands National ParkMesa Arch, Canyonlands National ParkMesa Arch is arguably the most photographed location in Canyonlands National Park. I’ve heard stories of photographers 100 deep vying for the best spot when the sun comes up and lights the bottom of the arch with a vivid orange glow. I was lucky this day in October. There were two other people there. And they weren’t carrying cameras.

The Mittens

It’s not unusual to see a great number of photographers forming a line along the wall of the visitor center in the early morning hours to await what everyone hopes will be a stunning sunrise. West and East Mitten Buttes form a triangle with Merrick Butte in Monument Valley on the Navajo Nation.  A scene in John Ford’s Stagecoach starring John Wayne was filmed here in 1939, and was used as the backdrop for the Marlboro Man marketing materials in the 1950’s. 2001: A Space Odyssey, was also filmed here.

Monument Valley VllMonument Valley VllMonument Valley, Arizona

Dead Horse Point

The story surrounding the name is a sad one. Dead Horse Point was used as a corral for wild mustangs. Someone left a herd of horses and didn’t return to move them. The horses died of thirst within sight of the river below. The final (airborne) scene of Thelma and Louise was filmed here in 1991, and was also featured in The Lone Ranger, 2013. This is very popular film location. A boatload of movies have been made here.

Dead Horse PointDead Horse PointDead Horse State Park, Utah
The story surrounding the name is this: Dead Horse Point was used as a corral for wild mustangs. Someone left a herd of horses and didn’t return to move them. The horses died of thirst within sight of the river below.

Hwy 163, Mexican Hat

This scene driving into Monument Valley from Mexican Hat is where Forest Gump, filmed in 1994, ended his cross country adventure on Hwy 163. It’s also where tourists stand on the center line to take pictures of the highway leading to the monuments. This image was not made from the middle of the road. Do be careful driving this stretch. Oddly, some of them don't see the need to get out of the way of vehicles traveling at 60+ MPH.

Hwy 163, Mexican Hat, UtahHwy 163, Mexican Hat, UtahHwy 163, Mexican Hat, Utah - Gateway to Monument Valley on the Navajo Nation.

The Totem Pole

In the 1975 film, The Eiger Sanction, Clint Eastwood and George Kennedy were featured climbing, and then resting, at the top of the Totem Pole in Monument Valley. Xerox plunked a secretary and her desk on top of the spire for a commercial, and our Navajo guide told us a car was once hoisted to the top for a commercial, as well.

Totem PoleTotem PoleTotem Pole. Monument Valley, Utah

 

Grand Teton National Park – Mormon Row

Because the film set in California didn’t provide the necessary snow for the scene, the cast and crew of Tarantino’s Django Unchained, filmed in 2012, were packed off to the frozen confines of Grand Tetons National Park. No trouble finding snow there in February. The Grand Tetons doubled for Russia in the 1985 Stallone film, Rocky lV, and Rocky is seen jogging past the historical old structures on Mormon Row. Anyone know how the Grand Tetons were named?  Never mind.  Google it.

 

First SnowFirst SnowMoulton Barn, Mormon Row, Grand Tetons National Park - first snow of the season on Mt Moran

Great Sand Dunes National Park

To the best of my knowledge, no movies were ever filmed here.  But in 1960 or thereabouts, before the area was protected from this kind of shenanigans, a Chevrolet Corvair commercial featured three of  their cars kicking up the sand in a really big way.  One wonders how many times they got stuck…

See it here: Corvair commercial

Great Sand Dunes-Shadows and LightGreat Sand Dunes-Shadows and LightSand blows from the feet of a visitor to the Great Sand Dunes National Park as the sun sets, creating deep shadows.

Bryce Canyon National Park

The Deadwood Coach, starring Tom Nix in 1924, was the first movie to be filmed in Utah.  They had to build stairs down the sides of the canyon to get in there to photograph it. It was also the scene for Sergent’s 3, starring Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra in 1962, and Bonneville, with Jessica Lange and Kathy Bates in 2006.

Bryce Canyon Mule Train, UtahBryce Canyon Mule Train, UtahBryce Canyon Mule Train, Utah

 

 

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) arches national park canyonlands colorado commercials dead horse point films grand teton national park great sand dunes national park hwy 163 john ford point lower falls mesa arch mexican hat moab monument valley mormon row movies the mittens the three gossips the totem pole utah yellowstone https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/2/iconic-locations-of-the-american-west-in-movies-and-commercials Sat, 02 Feb 2019 14:25:15 GMT
Dead, gone, and long forgotten https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/dead-gone-and-long-forgotten

Dead, gone, and long forgotten

There are hundreds of them. Long forgotten, nameless prisoners laid to rest on Woodpecker Hill.

The Colorado Territorial Prison opened for business in 1871. The first prisoner would be buried in what was later known as Woodpecker Hill that same year.

Some found their way here by natural causes. Others after finding themselves at the business end of a noose, or a seat in the gas chamber, as in the case of William Cody Kelley, the first person to be executed in Colorado in this manner.

The gas chamber replaced hanging as the preferred method of execution after Edward Ives, convicted of murdering a police officer in Denver in 1930, had to be hung twice. The first effort failed due to a broken rope. The second effort took a gruesome 23 minutes to send Edward to his maker.

Woodpecker Hill is located in the Greenwood Cemetery in Canon City, Colorado, not far from the prison. Original grave markers were made of wood slabs. Over time, the wooden markers began to decay, and insects took up residence, thus attracting woodpeckers. The prisoners themselves gave this section of the cemetery its name.

As the wooden markers decayed, the names written on them deteriorated as well. Due to poor record keeping, the identities of many of those laying under the markers were forgotten.

In the 1960’s, the rotted wooden markers were replaced with small metal signs made in the prison license plate plant. For those that could no longer be identified, the plates read only “CSP Inmate”, (Colorado State Penitentiary). Where the names were known, the name and date of birth/death is noted.

There are only a handful of stone markers in this section, placed there if the family had a mind to and could afford it.  In the case of Edward Ives, feeling bad about the way poor Edward met his end, fellow inmates took up a collection for a headstone.

Another stone marker, this for Joseph Arridy, a mentally disabled individual falsely imprisoned for rape and murder in 1939, and later determined to have been coerced into confessing, was placed after he was posthumously acquitted and granted a full pardon 72 years later.

The last prisoner to be buried at Woodpecker Hill was in 1971. There are those that believe not all the unfortunate souls resting under the high desert ground of Woodpecker Hill are resting easy. Cold spots, sightings of colored orbs and shadowy figures moving among the markers have been reported.

Perhaps a night visit is in order…

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) Colorado "Greenwood Cemetery" Canon city" cemetery prisoners woodpecker hill https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/dead-gone-and-long-forgotten Wed, 23 Jan 2019 23:01:55 GMT
If The Walls Could Talk - Photo Series 1-4 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk---photo-series-1-3 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old, abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

She wished for gingham for the windows. He hitched up the wagon. He'll see that she has it.  (If the Walls Could Talk series #1)

Somewhere Near Pawnee ButtesSomewhere Near Pawnee ButtesShe wished for gingham for the windows. He hitched up the wagon. He'll see that she has it.
If the Walls Could Talk series #1

Sometimes he would hear a window open, or catch a fleeting glimpse of a white skirt hem. He was buried years ago, but she had promised she would never leave. (If the Walls Could Talk series #2)

Old HomesteadOld HomesteadSometimes he would hear a window open, or catch a fleeting glimpse of a white skirt hem. He was buried years ago, but she had promised she would never leave.
If the Walls Could Talk series #2

She made the best strawberry pie in the county. Everybody said so. If she could just keep that rascal Billy from snatching the berries off it till after supper.
(If the Walls Could Talk series #3) 

It was cold in the winter, and hot as blazes in the summer. Folks worried about him. Grandpa said till it fell down around his ears, it'd be good enough for him.
(If the Walls Could Talk series #4)

Coal Miner's CabinCoal Miner's CabinIt was cold in the winter, and hot as blazes in the summer. Folks worried about him. Grandpa said till it fell down around his ears, it'd be good enough for him.
If the Walls Could Talk series #4
Ohio Pass, near Gunnison, Colorado

To be continued....

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk---photo-series-1-3 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:27:44 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk Photo Series 5-8 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-photo-series-5-8 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past. Continuation of series, images 5-8.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

Hard work, this farmin'. But the kids grew into helpin' and we did it together. Wasn't always easy. Fact it never was. Mostly it was worth it.
If the walls could talk #5

Southeastern Colorado FarmSoutheastern Colorado FarmHard work, this farmin'. But the kids grew into helpin' and we did it together. Wasn't always easy. Fact it never was. Mostly it was worth it.
If the walls could talk #5

Eight years old when I started workin' down the mine, that be four years now. Dark when Ma sends me and Pa off. Dark when we see Ma's candle in the cabin window. Ear cocked the whole time for the singin' canary.                                                                                                                         If the walls could talk series #6

Baldwin TownsiteBaldwin TownsiteEight years old when I started workin' down the mine, that be four years now. Dark when Ma sends me and Pa off. Dark when we see Ma's candle in the cabin window. Ear cocked the whole time for the singin' canary.
Baldwin, Colorado - company coal town
If the walls could talk series #6

Water for drinking, cooking, laundry, bathing. Seems we spent the whole day hauling buckets. Didn't appreciate it much till the well ran dry.
If the walls could talk series #7

The Well PumpThe Well PumpWater for drinking, cooking, laundry, bathing. Seems we spent the whole day hauling buckets. Didn't appreciate it much till the well ran dry.
If the walls could talk series #7

He walked away several years ago and simply never returned. So when the tree fell on the cabin in the woods it didn’t make a sound because no one was there to hear it. (sorry, couldn't help myself, lol)
If the walls could talk series #8

If a Tree Falls in the WoodsIf a Tree Falls in the WoodsHe walked away several years ago and simply never returned. So when the tree fell on the cabin in the woods it didn’t make a sound because no one was there to hear it. (sorry, couldn't help myself, lol)
If the walls could talk series #8

To be continued....

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-photo-series-5-8 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:27:29 GMT
If The Walls Could Talk series 9-12 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-9-12 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past. Continuation of series, images 9-12.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

She was 12 years old when the pipe was passed and she was traded for a horse. 14 when she had her first child. Her work at the fort was not so different from that she left behind. Sewing moccasins, netting snowshoes, stretching hides. She worked hard. A lazy native woman would find herself quickly abandoned for another.
If the Walls Could Talk series #9

Window to the PastWindow to the PastShe was 12 years old when the pipe was passed and she was traded for a horse. 14 when she had her first child. Her work at the fort was not so different from that she left behind. Sewing moccasins, netting snowshoes, stretching hides. She worked hard. A lazy native woman would find herself quickly abandoned for another.
If the Walls Could Talk series #9

It was packed to the rafters on Sundays. Preacher was fire and brimstone. Then the mine closed. Them that could moved away. All's left now is a handful of us old timers. Preacher's got a whole lotta less fire these days, too.
If the Walls Could Talk series #10 

The Church on the RiverThe Church on the RiverIt was packed to the rafters on Sundays. Preacher was fire and brimstone. Then the mine closed. Them that could moved away. All's left now is a handful of us old timers. Preacher's got a whole lotta less fire these days, too.
If the Walls Could Talk series #10

Road muddy as a pig wallow after all this rain, slowing us down. Midwife in the wagon beside me. Worried we won't get there in time. Worried for Sarah and the babe.
If the Walls Could Talk series #11

They called us Broomcorn Johnnies. Mostly Hispanics and Native Americans coming from Oklahoma and Texas to work the broomcorn harvest, grown for its bristles to make brooms. I made my first trip to Colorado with my father in 1942. I was 14 years old. It was dusty, itchy, dirty work, but by 1960 we were making a good wage, nine dollars a day and we didn’t have to sleep in the fields anymore, the ranch provided housing.

Housing at the abandoned Stonington Broomcorn Ranch, Baca County, Colorado

If the Walls Could Talk series #12

To be continued...

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-9-12 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:27:12 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk Photo Series 13-16 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-photo-series-13-16 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past. Continuation of series, images 13-16.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

He can see his breath while still under the covers. Gets up, dresses quickly. Plods to the kitchen, lays a fire, makes porridge, coffee. Goes out to break the ice in the trough for the animals. Hard to manage now he's alone. Harder to want to.
If the Walls Could Talk series #13 

Winter RanchWinter RanchSnow falls on an abandoned ranch in Eastern Colorado

Me and my boys built the first cabin on the place back in nineteen and seventeen. Six years later tornado took it clean away. Tornado won't take this one. No sir.
If the Walls Could Talk series #14

Tornado Won't Take This OneTornado Won't Take This OneMe and my boys built the first cabin on the place back in nineteen and seventeen. Six years later tornado took it clean away. Tornado won't take this one. No sir.
If the Walls Could Talk series

A meadowlark sings from its perch on a fence post. The air is heavy with the smell of fresh cut hay. Heat like a blanket over the fields. But winter will come as it always does. There will still be animals to feed. Cows to milk, chickens to tend.  Only the seasons change.  If the Walls Could Talk series #15

FenceFenceA meadowlark sings from its perch on a fence post. The air is heavy with the smell of fresh cut hay. Heat like a blanket over the fields. But winter will come as it always does. There will still be animals to feed. Cows to milk, chickens to tend. Only the seasons change. If the Walls Could Talk series #15

She sits as close to the fire as she dares. Her eyes roam the cabin walls, rest on a tin can lid covering a knot hole. Dreams of a real home one day, built to keep the wind out. Windows with glass. Maybe one of those cook stoves folks talk about. That would be real nice.  If the walls Could Talk series #16

Homestead, Elbert, ColoradoHomestead, Elbert, ColoradoShe sits as close to the fire as she dares. Her eyes roam the cabin walls, rest on a tin can lid covering a knot hole. Dreams of a real home one day, built to keep the wind out. Windows with glass. Maybe one of those cook stoves folks talk about. That would be real nice.
If the walls Could Talk series #16

To be continued...

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-photo-series-13-16 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:26:53 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk photo series 17-20 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-photo-series-17-20 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past. Continuation of series, images 17-20.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

Biggest fear in the summer besides rattlesnakes and the well runnin’ dry is prairie fire. Many a lightnin’ strike the cause of a farmer’s ruin.

If the Walls Could Talk series # 17

StormStormBiggest fear in the summer besides rattlesnakes and the well runnin’ dry is prairie fire. Many a lightnin’ strike the cause of a farmer’s ruin.
If the Walls Could Talk series # 17

Brother sleeps in the barn most nights when the weather’s agreeable. It’s the night sounds, he says. Swishing of tails, snorts and sighs of the animals. Gives him peace.
If the Walls Could Talk series # 18
Kansas BarnKansas BarnBrother sleeps in the barn most nights when the weather’s agreeable. It’s the night sounds, he says. Swishing of tails, snorts and sighs of the animals. Gives him peace.
If the Walls Could Talk series # 18
Our family church was built by my great-grandparents as a testament to their faith. I was eight years of age in 1915 when my Uncle Jose Raphael died and was buried beneath the floor boards of our little chapel. Fifty of our immediate family have been buried here since the church was built in 1878. He is the last. There is room for no more. 
Note: This is the true story of the Cordova family, Southern Colorado
If the Walls Could Talk series #19  
 
Our Lady of Mount Carmel ChurchOur Lady of Mount Carmel ChurchBuilt in 1898, Southern Colorado near Trinidad on Hwy 12
 

He traveled to Colorado to stake a claim on a homestead.  Went back to Iowa to claim her as Wife.  She is made of sturdy stock, he thinks. She will do.

If The Walls Could Talk series #20

Homestead SunsetHomestead SunsetHe traveled to Colorado to stake a claim on a homestead. Went back to Iowa to claim her as Wife. She is made of sturdy stock, he thinks. She will do.
If The Walls Could Talk series #20

To Be Continued...

 
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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-photo-series-17-20 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:26:25 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series #21 - 24 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-21---24 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past. Continuation of series, images #21-24

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

He said she must have run off. Perhaps.  Folks swear they see her at the dormer windows, hear the muffled sound of a woman’s tears.

Ivy HouseIvy HouseHe said she must have run off. Perhaps. Folks swear they see her at the dormer windows, hear the muffled sound of a woman’s tears. If the Walls Could Talk series #21

Beautiful in its way. Naught but a sea of grass to witness in any direction. Nothing to make a shadow. Only the relentless howling of the wind  breaks the silence. She fears she’ll go mad. 

Prairie CabinPrairie CabinBeautiful in its way. Naught but a sea of grass to witness in any direction. Nothing to make a shadow. Only the relentless howling of the wind breaks the silence. She fears she’ll go mad. If the Walls Could Talk series #22

He writes often. Asks about her and the children. Saves the letters till he gets to the fort, wraps them up to send east. Tells her about the beaver he trapped, the pelts he brought in to trade for supplies.  About the bear he killed and what a fine coat it made. Says he’ll be home soon.  Knows he’ll be gone again when the snow melts off the mountains.

 

The sheets billow on the line like the sails of a pirate ship. I dream of stowing away and seeking adventure on the high seas. Billy spoils everything. Says there’s no such thing as a girl pirate.

The ClotheslineThe ClotheslineThe sheets billow on the line like the sails of a pirate ship. I dream of stowing away and seeking adventure on the high seas. Billy spoils everything. Says there’s no such thing as a girl pirate. If the Walls Could Talk series # 24

To Be Continued...

 

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-21---24 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:26:03 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series #25-28 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-21-24 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past. Continuation of series, images 25-28.

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The sky darkened, took on a strange cast. Wind kicked up the dirt, tumbleweeds high in the air. He feared the cabin would lift clean away, taking him with it. Grateful only the barn was lost.

If the Walls Could Talk series #25

The Final InsultThe Final InsultI've been shooting this barn for 4 years. I knew one day I'd go back and find it had finally lost it's battle with the elements. But I didn't expect to be so saddened. It's sort of like losing an old friend. Soon, it will be completely collapsed.

Wind blowing down from the mountain. Nothin’ between here and there to stop it. Ice like buckshot against the window glass. He stokes the fire, sets the coffee to heatin’. Waits for the warmth it’ll bring.

If the Walls Could Talk series # 26

Eyesight is failing now. She doesn’t see the tattered edges of the curtains, cobwebs in the corners, dust on the floor. Neighbors look in on her from to time. Mostly she sits alone. Remembering.
If the Walls Could talk series #27

If The Walls Could Talk series # 26If The Walls Could Talk series # 26Eyesight is failing now. She doesn’t see the tattered edges of the curtains, cobwebs in the corners, dust on the floor. Neighbors look in on her from to time. Mostly she sits alone. Remembering.

Didn’t have two nickels to rub together. Never did. But they had each other. It was all either of them ever needed.

If the Walls Could talk series # 28

To Be Continued...

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-21-24 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:25:44 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk Series 29-32 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-29-32 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

She sits, hands folded over the letters in her lap. Tears in her eyes.  Came all at once, wrapped in paper and twine. Read and re-read. He writes of beaver and bear, says he’ll be home soon. Says he misses her.
If The Walls Could Talk series # 29
 
Pa’s newspaper sat across from the only church in 30 miles. Made collectin’ gossip real easy. Whose goats wound up in whose garden. Who slept it off in Sheriff Tilley’s jail house. Never did get more excitin’ than that. Not so’s I remember anyways.
If the Walls Could Talk #30
 
 
 
Her daddy was none too pleased  learnin she’d fell in love with that young ranch hand. He run him clean off the property. Next mornin she was gone. Letter come three weeks later say’n they’d got hitched over’n Kansas City.
If the Walls Could Talk series # 31
 
The sheet music flutters a bit in the breeze from the open window. Her fingers lay lightly on the keys. It’s been a long time since she played. First one note, then another. A melody emerges. The notes deep and rich. Sorrowful.
If the Walls Could Talk series # 32
To Be Continued...

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-29-32 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:25:11 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series #33-36 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-33-36 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past. Continuation of series, images 33-36.

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He was a drinker, that one. And a srcapper, too. Spent near as much time in jail as he did in the mine.

If the Walls Could Talk series #33

Could see it coming from miles away. Suffocating darkness. Folks going hungry. Cows and horses with nothing to eat but fence posts. Land and everything on it laid to waste.
If the Walls Could Talk series # 34
 
 
His daddy worked hard, like his daddy before him. Built the place up from nothin. Weren’t the same for him.  Lit out east just after the old man died. Chicago, some say.
If the Walls Could Talk series # 35
 
La Jara BarnLa Jara BarnLa Jara, Colorado
 
Was our job to see to the prairie coal. Me ‘n Jimmy pullin the wagon out in the pasture, fillin it up and haulin it back to Ma for the fire. Cow patties all we had to burn. No trees to speak of hereabouts.
If the Walls Could Talk series #36
 
To be continued....
 

 

 

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-33-36 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:24:51 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk Series 37-40 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-37-40 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past. Continuation of series, images 37-40.

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Beaten down by bad luck and dreams that didn’t pan
out. Not enough water to keep a body alive. Leastways
not on his land. Neighbors ain’t faring much better.
 
If the Walls Could Talk series #37
 
 

Raised up in a house where the paint’d been wore off so long nobody remembered the color. But the floors were swept clean, quilts pulled up on the beds, dishes stacked nice and neat on the shelf. 

If the Walls Could Talk series #38

Last Dollar Road Ranch HouseLast Dollar Road Ranch HouseRidgway, Colorado

 

No one knows where he came from or why. He wasn’t a man open to questions. Best not to pry. Some things’re better left unsaid.

If the WallsCould Talk series #39

He was always doin someone a kindness. If a thing needed done, he was there to help do it. Never asked for
nothin in return. Whole county turned out to pay respects when he passed.
 
If the Walls could Talk series #40
Calhan BarnCalhan BarnCalhan, Colorado
To be continued...

 

 

 

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-37-40 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:24:24 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series #41-44 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-41-44 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past. Continuation of series, images 41-44.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

Born in these mountains. Never desired to be anywhere else. Mostly keeps to himself. A high lonesome in town now and again is all the company he has a need for.
If the Walls Could Talk series # 41
 
His only companions the two horses and Old Bess. Been a widower for years. Boys left off long ago. He doesn’t mind the solitude. Some peace in it.
If the Walls Could Talk series #42
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Bottle of whiskey waits on the shelf. Waits for the days when the doubt and fear creeps in. When the rain doesn’t come and the bank wants its money. When the burden becomes too much.
If the Walls Could Talk series #43
 
DBOUCHER-PHOTOGRAPHY.COM COPYRIGHT
 
Started with nothin. Cowboyed for a local rancher. Paid attention. Saved his money. Got his own brand now.
If the Walls Could Talk series #44
 
To be continued...
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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-41-44 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:23:53 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series #45-48 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-45-48 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these cru

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

Even the air is filled with sadness. Her leaving this world and him with six younguns to bring up. Preacher says the Good Lord’ll provide. He struggles to believe it.
If the Walls could Talk series # 45
 
 
Stubborn’s what most folks called her. She preferred determined. Not a one could talk her out of it. Used the little bit her daddy left her, bought a cabin sight unseen from an ad in the Platte County Dispatch. Packed a mule, sat her horse and headed west. Didn’t expect much, and she didn’t get much. Five acres and a fallin down cabin no bigger’n a chicken coop. 
If the Walls Could Talk series #46
 
 
Weren’t me, but somebody left the door open. Pair a squirrels helpin ‘emselves to the pie on the table and Ma chasin ‘em out with a broom.  Madder’n a wet hen, she was. We knew best not to laugh.
If the Walls Could Talk series # 47
 
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Was near grown by time I reckoned it weren’t syrup Gramps had in them jugs. 

If the Walls Could Talk series # 48 Bootleg

To be continued...

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-45-48 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:23:31 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series #49-52 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-49-52 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past. Continuation of series, images 49-52.

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He cuts quite a figure, tall and lean as he is. Some success as a rancher, too. She can scarce believe her good fortune. They’ll marry in the spring.
If the Walls Could Talk series # 49

Log Cabin, Black Mountain ColoradoLog Cabin, Black Mountain Colorado

He’s been gone a few months now. When she hears the floorboards creaking at night she knows it’s him looking in on her. And she waits and bides her time. She’ll join him soon enough.
If the Walls Could Talk series #50
Homestead Near TellurideHomestead Near Telluride
 
Set on a foundation of stone to preserve her walls, she holds the secret of marriage marks, the scent of hay bales lingering in the wood. The memories of horses and cows. If we’re still enough, if we’re quiet enough, we hear milk hitting the pail in the coolness of the morning.  The jangle of a harness. The scraping of a rake. 
 If the Walls Could Talk series #51 
 
Started provin up the homestead in 1912. No runnin water till ’27.  Power when we put up a windmill in ‘46.  Sons took up runnin the place after that.
If The Walls Could Talk series #52
 
Chambers RanchChambers RanchChambers Ranch. Gros Ventre, Wyoming, Mormon Row, Grand Tetons National Park
 
To be continued...
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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-49-52 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:23:07 GMT
If the Walls Could talk series # 53-56 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-53-56 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past. Continuation of series, images 41-44.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

Up before the sun breaks the horizon. Go to bed when it’s too dark to see. Spend the hours in between plowing and sowing seed. Watching the sky. Praying for rain.

If the Walls Could Talk series #53

Fiddles and banjos enough to shake the barn. Everyone in their Sunday best.  Only the oldest among them sitting out the dance.
If the Walls Could Talk series #54
Last Dollar RoadLast Dollar Road
She listens for the children. Moves slowly from room to silent room. In a moment she’ll remember the stones under the old cottonwood beside the creek. Her heart will break again.
If the Walls Could Talk series # 55
 
Grown so old they can barely see each other.  Side by side, he still takes her hand in his.
If the Walls Could Talk series # 56
 
If the Walls Could Talk series # 56If the Walls Could Talk series # 56Grown so old they can barely see each other. Side by side, he still takes her hand in his.
To be continued...

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-53-56 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:22:33 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series 61-64 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-61-64  

I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past. Continuation of series, images 41-44.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

Sky the color of a worn saddle. Dust rolls in so thick you could wear it.  

If the Walls Could Talk series # 61

Old Barn, Mora, New MexicoOld Barn, Mora, New MexicoOld Barn, Mora, New Mexico

 

Thirty by time she finally married. Settled for the first man to ask. Couldn’t risk there being no other offers.
 
If the Walls Could Talk series # 62
 
If the Walls Could Talk series # 62If the Walls Could Talk series # 62Thirty by time she finally married. Settled for the first man to ask. Couldn't risk there being no other offers.
 
Rattlers make their way in sometimes.  Best to kick at the door and make lots of noise before going in.
 
If the Walls Could Talk series # 63
 
If the Walls Could Talk series # 63If the Walls Could Talk series # 63Rattlers make their way in sometimes. Best to kick at the door and make lots of noise before going in.
 
Farmed the land right up to the day his heart gave out. Walls held up now by nothing but memories.
 
If the Walls could Talk series # 64
 
Clarkson RanchClarkson RanchClarkson Ranch, Wetmore, Colorado
 
To be continued....
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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-61-64 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:22:02 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk Series # 57-60 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-58-61 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past. Continuation of series, images 41-44.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

Sunsets near as violent as the storms. Were it not so beautiful, she would fear it.

If the Walls Could Talk series #57

Last Light of DayLast Light of Day

Just 17 years old. Calms the baby at her breast while she salts the beans at the fire. Freezes at the sound of the clanging bell. An accident at the mine.  Please Lord. Let him be safe.  

If the walls could Talk series # 58

Land flat as the griddle on my stove. Not a tree in sight. Asked him to haul a cottonwood up from the creek. One day it’ll be grown enough to give shade.

If the Walls Could Talk series #59

My Tree and MeMy Tree and MeAbandoned home, Model, Colorado

No fences in them days. Cattle filled the plains. Then came the blizzard of ‘87. Watched our cattle starve to death where they stood. 

If the Walls Could Talk series #60

To be continued...

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-58-61 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:21:11 GMT
Into the Mist https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/into-the-mist I like my trees naked. Even better in fog. These images were made on Grand Mesa, (near Grand Junction, Colorado), the largest flat top mesa in the world, in late autumn. In that time, we experienced rain, sleet, hail, fog, and snow. It was a fabulous experience! My images are not the typical fall color shots with a blaze of gold on every tree. Instead, they represent the season as it wanes into winter. This is a series of 10 images titled "Into the Mist".  
 
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Into the Mist series 1Into the Mist series 1Grand Mesa, Colorado in late autumn
 
 
Into the Mist series 2Into the Mist series 2Island Lake, Grand Mesa, Colorado
 
 
Into the Mist series 3Into the Mist series 3Grand Mesa, Colorado
 
 
Into the Mist series 4Into the Mist series 4Late autumn, Grand Mesa, Colorado
 
 
Into the Mist series 5Into the Mist series 5Grand Mesa, Colorado in late autumn
 
 
Into the Mist series 6Into the Mist series 6Grand Mesa, Colorado in late autumn
 
 
 
Into the Mist series 7Into the Mist series 7Grand Mesa, Colorado late autumn
 
 
Into the Mist series 8Into the Mist series 8Grand Mesa, Colorado late autumn
 
 
Into the Mist series 9Into the Mist series 9Late autumn, Grand Mesa, Colorado
 
 
Into the Mist series 10Into the Mist series 10Cloudy sunrise, Island Lake, Grand Mesa, Colorado
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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) aspen Colorado fine art flat top mesa fog Grand Mesa images lake storm sunrise sunset trees https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/into-the-mist Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:20:37 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series #69-72 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-69-72 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past.

Continuation of series, images 69-72.

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Ages a woman in hurry, this life. Hard work, hot sun. Brutal winters. Wind that’ll lay the grass flat.
If the Walls could Talk series #69
 
 
Started over out west. Changed her name. Found respectable work, a husband. Invented a history she began to believe herself.
If the Walls could Talk series #70
 
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Gave up quilting two years ago. Hands worn with age and hard work, too crippled now to take a stitch.
If the Walls Could Talk series # 71
 
 
Walked him from the courthouse back to the jail next door. He said not a word when they hung him at sunup. 
If the Walls could talk series # 72
 
To be continued...
 
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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-69-72 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:19:20 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series #77 - 80 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-77---80 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past. Continuation of series, images 77-80.

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She’s made peace with the sounds of the night. The howl of coyotes, wind in the trees. It’s the silence before the storm that wakes her.

If the Walls Could Talk series # 77

Built the grand house he promised. Planted trees for shade. Still, she never thought of this desolate, endless prairie as home.

If the Walls Could talk series # 78

Wasn’t much of a farmer. Little he had never amounted to much. Calloused hands and debt the sum of it. 

If the Walls Could Talk series #79

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Layers of dirt built up on the floor. Makes its way through holes in the roof. Carried by wind through windows long relieved of glass.  Only the mice disturb it. 

If the Walls Could Talk series #80

To be continued...

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-77---80 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:18:25 GMT
Less complicated, but not simpler https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/less-complicated-but-not-simpler Less complicated, but not simpler - If the Walls Could Talk series

In If the Walls Could Talk, I have endeavored to give a glimpse of what life might have really been like on the farms, homesteads and ranches of the west before autos, grocery stores and washers and dryers. We romanticize the times, refer to them as simpler. I’ll allow that it might have been less complicated, but I wouldn’t characterize those days as simpler.

You brought your family here, to this vast, open and unforgiving place, because land is king. If you’re to get ahead in this world, you must own your land. The government has given that to you. It’s up to you to make the most of it.

You don't turn the key in the ignition and drive a couple blocks for your groceries. You tend, with great care, the garden that will produce all the vegetables your family eats for the rest of the year. You raise, and then butcher, your own chickens, hogs, and cattle for meat.  You know better than to waste any of it. You keep a milk cow, and someone has to milk her every day. When circumstances require you to go to town, you hitch the mules to the wagon, or saddle your horse, if you have one.

But of course, if you settled on the plains, all that comes after you build your soddy. The whole family pitches in, anxious to move from the tents or wagons that give minimum relief from the elements in the summer months, to cut blocks of sod from prairie grass to construct your new home. Grateful for the warmth in the winter, you learn to live with the dirt, the insects, and the snakes that share your shelter. Perhaps you have prospered, and a few years later you bring in lumber or logs and build a cabin.

If you were fortunate, you settled near a river that wouldn’t go dry in the summer, far enough away to avoid flooding in the spring but close enough to carry your pails full of water back to the home and garden.  Maybe you got lucky and after days or weeks of digging you had a well that produced enough sweet water for your needs and installed a hand pump. What a blessing, water just a few yards from your home. Drought is your biggest fear. Without water, your crops fail. Your family goes hungry and your animals may not survive. Every day ends with a prayer for rain.

You send the children out with a wagon to collect cow patties and buffalo chips. It will keep the home warm in the winter and provide fuel for cooking. They help with other chores, too. The youngest collect eggs and weed the garden, the older girls help with the laundry and cooking. The boys help with the animals and tending the fields. When your 10 year old daughter asks about school, you tell her she’s needed at home. Maybe next year.

The nearest town might be many miles away, and the nearest neighbor not that much closer. If your child fell ill, one of you would have to ride for help. Weather be damned. Your family burial plot would start with the first loss of a child, or the loss of your wife in childbirth.

She is still beautiful to you, so you notice but dare not mention the gray in her hair, the effects of the brutal summer sun on her skin, the way she struggles to stand straight when rising in the morning. And perhaps you ask yourself, “At what price this land?”

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

Kennicott HomesteadKennicott HomesteadNear Westcliff, Colorado

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/less-complicated-but-not-simpler Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:17:31 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series #73 - 76 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-73---76 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past. Continuation of series, images 73-76.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

He was a fair man.  Just the same, a cowboy caught drinking on his ranch was given his wages and sent on his way.

If the Walls Could Talk series #73

Westcliff RanchWestcliff RanchHe was a fair man. Just the same, a cowboy caught drinking on his ranch was given his wages and sent on his way. If the Walls Could Talk series #73

As commanding a woman as there ever was. If a ranch hand wanted to eat, he washed his hands in the pail outside the door, took off his hat, and refrained from cussing.

If the Walls could Talk series #74

Keeps to himself. If he cared what you thought, he’d tell you being alone isn’t the same as being lonely.

If the Walls Could Talk series #75

Moonlight RideMoonlight RideKeeps to himself. If he cared what you thought, he’d tell you being alone isn’t the same as being lonely. If the Walls Could Talk series #75

Sold butter and eggs to pay for feed for the cattle. Couldn’t have made it through the winter otherwise.

If the Walls Could Talk series #76

Rock HouseRock HouseSold butter and eggs to pay for feed for the cattle. Couldn’t have made it through the winter otherwise. If the Walls Could Talk series #76

To be continued...

 

 

 

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-73---76 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:16:57 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series # 81-84 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-81-84 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past. Continuation of series, images 81-84.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

Some damn fool cowboy made off with one of my boots. Not a one would admit to it.

If the Walls Could Talk series #81

Too old now to sit a horse.  Runnin outta reasons to get up in the morning. Considered marriage once, but she wouldn’t have him.

If the Walls Could Talk series # 82

DBOUCHER-PHOTOGRAPHY.COM COPYRIGHT

Eyesight all but failed. Lost his job in the mine. Spends his days on the porch drinking coffee strong enough to melt the rust off nails.

If the Walls Could Talk series #83

DBOUCHER-PHOTOGRAPHY.COM COPYRIGHT

No kinda work for a cowboy. Diggin’ post holes and runnin’ wire. Cowboy’s work should be done from the saddle. 

If the Walls Could Talk series # 84

To be continued...

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-81-84 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:16:39 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series# 85-88 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-85-88 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past. Continuation of series, images 85-88.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com  All rights to images and text reserved.

 

No work in them days. No money neither. Made do with what we had and what we could find.

If the Walls Could Talk series # 85

 

Wasn’t an easy man to know. Never said where he came from. Who his people were. Took that with him when they laid him in the ground.

If the Walls Could Talk series #86

DBOUCHER-PHOTOGRAPHY.COM COPYRIGHT

 

Picks wildflowers everyday when they’re blooming.  Walks up the hill in back of the house.  Lays them gently at the foot of her stone.

If the Walls could talk series # 87

Abandoned homestead, Elbert, ColoradoAbandoned homestead, Elbert, ColoradoPicks wildflowers everyday in the spring. Carries them up the hill back of the house. Lays them at the foot of her stone. If the Walls could talk series # 87

 

Word came the gold was played out. Men left like the valley was on fire. He stayed on. Worked his own claim. Scratched out enough to get by.

If the Walls Could Talk series # 88

Victor, ColoradoVictor, ColoradoWord came the gold was played out. Men left like the valley was on fire. He stayed on. Worked his own claim. Scratched out enough to get by. If the Walls Could Talk series # 88

To be continued...

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2019/1/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-85-88 Tue, 22 Jan 2019 15:13:46 GMT
If the Walls Could Talk series 65-68 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2018/11/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-65-68 I've made hundreds of images over the years of old abandoned homesteads, houses and barns. I am intrigued, not just by the buildings, but by the lives of the people who may have lived and worked in them.  I often imagine a story, a scenario of what might have been inside these crumbling walls, giving breath once again to the people who called it home. These are my stories, brief glimpses into the past. Continuation of series, images 65-68.

Copyright DBoucher-Photography.com All rights to images and text reserved.

 

No place she’d rather be than in the barn with Pa. He never said much. Didn’t have to. His way with the animals was all the example she ever needed. 

If the Walls Could Talk series #65

DBOUCHER-PHOTOGRAPHY.COM COPYRIGHT

 

Ma insisted on her own cabin. Said Gramp’s cabin was too small for the lot of us. Could be they just didn’t get on.

If the Walls Could talk series #66 

 

Came from one of the old states. Brought a wife with him. Figured it'd be harder to find a bride once he got there.

If the Walls Could Talk series #67

DBOUCHER-PHOTOGRAPHY.COM COPYRIGHT

Never had anything that didn’t come the hard way. The amber bottle his only friend. 
If the Walls Could Talk series #68

To be continued...

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) abandoned barns cabins deserted homesteads houses if the walls could talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2018/11/if-the-walls-could-talk-series-65-68 Sat, 10 Nov 2018 17:26:05 GMT
Saguaro Cactus 101 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2018/1/saguaro-cactus-101 Saguaro cactus, Kofa Wildlife Refuge, ArizonaSaguaro cactus, Kofa Wildlife Refuge, ArizonaCastle Dome Ghost Town, Arizona

Saguaro Cactus 101

A saguaro cactus, which grows only in the Sonora Desert of Arizona and Mexico, and in the Imperial Valley of California, takes approximately 10 years to grow to 1 inch tall. It will produce its first flowers at around 70 years old, and won’t begin to produce arms until it’s nearly 100 years old. Compare that to the growth of a giant sequoia which can gain 12 to 24 inches in a single growing season.  Granted, the saguaro’s lifespan averages between 150 – 200+ years, and the redwood can live to be more than 2,000 years old, but still.

To put it in perspective, this 30 or so foot tall saguaro seeded itself in this spot before Arizona became a state in 1912. I’m impressed. (Image made at the Castle Dome Ghost Town, Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, Arizona)

Saguaro flowers bloom at the top of the trunk and arms from late April to June. The flowers open at night and last for just one day, replaced the following evening by a new crop of blooms. The fruit produced by the flowers are a bright red and hold as many as 2,000 tiny black seeds distributed by birds and other animals across the desert floor.

As they have for centuries, the Tohono O’odham, “Desert Peoples”, of southern Arizona harvest the fruit of the saguaro for drying and making jams.

In 2003, a giant saguaro was spotted by deer hunters near the Verde River in Arizona. The Grand One was 46 feet high and nearly 8 feet in diameter at its base with 15 arms, and was estimated to be about 180 years old. Sadly it succumbed to the elements in 2007 and toppled to the ground.

Saguaros are not a protected species, however cutting one down in Arizona without a permit and a darn good reason is a class four felony and a possible prison sentence of up to 3.75 years. Don’t even think about stealing one.  For comparison, other class four felonies in the state include; negligent homicide, kidnapping, arson, credit card forgery and prostituting a minor. Ouch.

Maricopa women gathering saguaro fruits, photo by Edward S. Curtis, 1907

 

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) arizona cactus castle dome desert ghost town kofa wildlife refuge saguaro sonora desert https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2018/1/saguaro-cactus-101 Mon, 01 Jan 2018 22:55:49 GMT
Panthera Leo https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2017/8/panthera-leo---last-call And then there were noneAnd then there were noneAnd then there were none - the plight of the African lion

Panthera Leo - last call

For African lions, the call of the wild is rapidly approaching ‘last call’.

For most of us, the only opportunity to see a lion is in a zoo. It’s entirely possible that our grandchildren and their children will get their only glimpse of this majestic animal in photos.

It’s an epic struggle for survival.  National Geographic  reports there were over a million lions in Africa in the 1800’s. By the 1940’s their population had declined to 450,000, and today the estimated lion population is fewer than 20,000, a decrease of about 50% since 1993. And their numbers continue to decline, even in protected areas.

While trophy hunting is regulated, the rules are consistently abused. Lions are lured out of protected areas, and pride males and young males are illegally taken out of the reproductive pool.  On the average, an estimated 665 lions are killed in this way each year.

While corruption and illegal hunting plays a large part, it is not the only reason for the declining lion population in Africa. Human habitation and farming is pushing the lion out of its habitat. Their prey is being depleted, making domestic livestock the target of the hunt. In spite of laws in place to prohibit it, lions are poisoned or shot by local cattle ranchers for raiding livestock. Few are ever prosecuted. 

Pesticides and disease are also factors. As their habitat is converted to agriculture and proximity to humans increases, their susceptibility to disease increases.

Already extinct in several African nations, and with declining numbers accelerating, scientists warn the African lion could be fully extinct by 2050.

There has been more publicity surrounding the issue since July of 2015, when Cecil, a 13 year old lion in the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe was killed by an American trophy hunter. He was lured outside of the park boundary with food, was wounded when shot with a crossbow, then tracked and finished off with a gun 40 hours later. He was skinned, and his head was cut off as a trophy. Two years later, on July 7, 2017, Cecil’s oldest cub, Xanda, met the same fate.

But there’s another side to this story. The story of rural villagers who are forced to move about only in groups when a lion is prowling their village, where collecting water from the river, or firewood for cooking requires a well armed contingent for protection, where children must be warned to walk to school, or to play outside only in large groups and to stay together for safety.  Where a 14 year old boy is maimed and killed while protecting his family’s crops from marauding elephants.

According to Live Science, lions have killed more than 560 Tanzanians since 1990. The victims include children playing outside huts and people dragged from their beds.

Some Africans wonder why we in America care more about the African animals than the African people.

  I started this blog with a firm opinion, but my research into this issue has left me feeling conflicted.  While I don’t have the answers, I hope someone out there is working to prevent these animals, who have roamed this earth for many thousands of years, from becoming extinct, and at the same time, protect the people who must live with them.

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) africa animal disease extinct extinction hunt illegal lion panthera leo pesticides prey tanzanians trophy hunting wild animals zimbabwe https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2017/8/panthera-leo---last-call Tue, 08 Aug 2017 23:35:56 GMT
If Only the Walls Could Talk https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2017/4/the-old-house If Only The Walls Could Talk

Anyone visiting my website or viewing my Facebook page, knows I love photographing old houses and barns. Even before ever owning a camera I've been fascinated by long abandoned houses, wishing I knew something about the woman that chose the yellow flowered wallpaper for the kitchen, and the children who played in the yard where the fence now lay among the weeds, the man who cut the hay and cared for the animals in the barn out back, the pride they must all have felt when they moved into this house freshly built.

And why they left. Did the parents continue on here into old age after the children grew up and left to make lives of their own? Did the man, weakened by age, sell the animals and lose interest in caring for the house after his wife passed away? Did the woman, now alone, do her best to keep the home after the kids and grandkids moved away and with their busy lives rarely came to visit? When I see these houses, some still partially furnished, some with dishes in the cabinets and old calendars on the walls, I wish with all my heart that the house could talk to me. I want to hear these stories.

My Mom and I have often talked about this, about the old places I photograph, and lament together "if only the walls could talk". Mom's dear and talented friend from their school days in Massachusetts, Alice Selfridge, wonders too. The following poem was written by Alice in 1989. She recently sent it to us, and I was so moved I asked her permission to print it here.

THE OLD HOUSE                                                              

 

I was so preoccupied with my everyday tasks, that I was no longer aware

Of the past all around me, the beauty of old, and fantasies awaiting me there.

I had gone on with blinders for such a long while, I was no longer able to seize

The fanciful things…I’d become so mundane…I was caught up in priorities.

 

So what opened my eyes and what made me see on that day as I headed to town?

All else looked the same, but I never had seen the old house with its roof sagging down.

I just had to stop, snap a picture or two, for this house that stood back from the bend

Stirred something in me, and I felt quite afraid that I might never see it again.

 

I wondered, “Who owns this wonderful house that sits here in such disrepair?”

The porch had been boarded, the shingles were gone, but the lawn was still tended with care.

The chimney had lost a few dozen bricks, the paint had discolored and peeled

But the weather-worn steps to the boarded up door had been braced up with stones from the field.

 

And next to the window that faced to the south stood a bush filled with roses galore.

It had lately been pruned and it sheltered one glove that somebody’s pruning hand wore.

An ancient oak tree that stood on the lawn held a rope swing, put up for a child.

And under the tree, just beginning to sprout, were young oaks that were left to grow wild.

 

I couldn’t resist a walk ‘round to the back (I’d dismissed now my trip into town)

I saw an old clothesline still tied to the house, but the tree at the end had come down.

An abandoned square form lay in back on the lawn, right next to an old washing stand,

And there in the grass that had grown in that square, a small bucket with shovel and sand.

 

Should I peek in the window?  I couldn’t resist.  Curiosity must be fulfilled.

I gave little thought and even less mind, to the cat curiosity killed.

I stood on my toes and breathed on the glass, for the windows were dirty and streaked.

I wiped off a spot with the sleeve of my shirt, and in through the clean spot I peeked.

 

An old soapstone sink I could see on one side, the rest of the kitchen was bare

Except in one corner, right next to a stove, was a wonderful old rocking chair.

Around to the side, I peeked in again.  This room had a bed and a stand.

And there on the mattress, I couldn’t believe, was a spread that was quilted by hand.

 

An old robe was hung on the post of the bed; a lone slipper lay next to the door.

 I saw no signs that someone lived there, just signs someone loved it before.

I couldn’t see in for the boards on the front were tight, and obscuring the view,

As I backed away from that wonderful house, I knew then what I had to do.

 

 I knew I would buy it and then I’d come back and restore its original state.

I’d clean it and paint it and screen in the porch.  To get started, I just couldn’t wait.

I was standing there planning at the edge of the lawn, when an old beat up truck happened by,

And out of the truck stepped a longhaired young man, with a toe-headed boy about five.

 

The man’s jeans were faded with holes here and there; his boots were ripped out at the seam,

But the tot he had with him was quite nicely dressed, and both seemed to be scrubbed very clean.

“This was my grandma’s house and it’s not up for sale”, to my question he quickly replied.

“I can just pay the taxes and keep up the lawn.  See, she left it to me when she died.”

 

“And I know people think that I ain’t got no brains, and some think that I’m tetched in the head.

But my grandma tells me what I need to do on the nights I sleep here in her bed.”

“She says me and Tommy should make it our place when I find me a job that’ll pay.

And when Tom’s mother left us, Gram told me ‘hang on, cause you two will make it okay’.”

 

“Grandma says we’ll put heat in the rest of the house, ‘stead of just in the kitchen like now.

She says Tommy’ll need good food and fresh milk, so we’ll plant and we’ll get us a cow.”

“This house used to be green (I’d have painted it white) so we’ll paint it just like grandma had”

“When Tommy and me get some money for paint,” he said as he picked up the lad.

 

“Things’re gonna get better”, she tells Tom and me when we lay in her big poster bed

My grandma raised me up never to lie and I believe every word that she said.

She raised me up good, to be honest and strong and never to quit when it’s bad

And my grandma and Tom, and now this old house, are the only good things that I’ve had.

 

“So I ain’t giving up and when things are real hard, we come out here and visit a while,

And Tom plays on the swing where I used to play.  It ain’t much but it brings us a smile.”

As I got in my car and pulled ‘round that old truck, in my mirror, the last I could see

Was a very proud man laughing with a young boy, as he soared on the swing on the tree, 

 

As I drove off, I thought “they’ll fix up that house, perhaps not the way I’d have done.

But it will be filled, one day I am sure, with ghost grandma, a father and son”.

So grandma will wait in that wonderful house for the return of Tom and his dad.

Yes it will be restored, once again painted green, just the way that his old grandma had.

 

And they will get a cow and plant on the lot

 And the house will never be sold.

They’ll keep hope alive and make it their home

‘Cause they treasure the things that are old.

 

Alice Selfridge

 

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) The Old House abandoned deserted house neglected poem https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2017/4/the-old-house Wed, 05 Apr 2017 02:38:50 GMT
Ghost Towns of Colorado's Hwy 350 https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2017/1/ghost-towns-of-colorados-hwy-350 Ghost Towns of Colorado’s Hwy 350

The Santa Fe Trail followed much of what is now Highway 350 between the towns of La Junta and Trinidad, Colorado.  Deep ruts from struggling wagons can still be seen in some places as you pass through the Comanche National Grasslands south to Trinidad.

Stage stops sprang up along the trail, servicing traders along the route. Then in the late 1870’s, the Santa Fe Railroad laid tracks in its race for the coveted honor of being the first railroad to reach Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the stage stops became railroad stops. Mail was delivered and goods and cattle were transported by the railroad. The tracks running parallel to the highway are still in use today. According to  ColoradoPreservation.org , “The Homestead Acts of 1909 and 1916 inspired a settlement boom and the communities became social and economic centers for the new arrivals. The communities were often no more than a store, gas station, school and a handful of residences to serve large agricultural communities.”

Some of these towns leave little or no trace at all, while others leave behind ghostly evidence of hopes and dreams long forgotten.

On a 20-ish degree, sometimes snowy, mostly gray day in January, I set out with a friend to explore the ghost towns along Highway 350. In no time at all, wrapped head to toe in cold weather gear, we were doing the happy dance.

Heading south out of La Junta on Highway 350, we began the 70+ mile stretch of highway toward Trinidad. First stop – Timpas, Colorado.

Named after nearby Timpas Creek, the first post office in Timpas opened in 1891 and remained in operation until 1970. The 1940 census claimed 80 people who called Timpas home. A brick schoolhouse, which now appears to be at least a part-time residence, was built in 1916.  The only signs of life we saw amid the few buildings in varying degrees of decay, were two very large and friendly hogs held at bay by an electric fence.  Population now might number no more than a handful, if that.

Shadows play on the wall of an abandoned house in Timpas, Colorado

The ruins of Timpas

Delhi has been long abandoned. Population, 0.  Most recent claim to fame, Delhi was the location of one scene in the 1973 film "Badlands" with Martin Sheen.  There’s a road sign announcing your arrival in Delhi, and a wonderfully photogenic, maybe 1920’s era, version of a modern convenience store, the One Stop.

The One Stop, for all your shopping needs in Delhi

Abandoned house and outbuildings in Delhi

Thatcher, Colorado isn’t completely abandoned. At this time we saw evidence of two modern homes, and folks living in the old Thatcher School House, recently purchased and with hopes of turning it into an artist's retreat, the same goal envisioned by the previous owners.

There were other interesting properties to photograph in Thatcher, built alongside the railroad in 1877. A mysterious and imposing rock structure tucked into the hillside, a black water tower (the tallest structure for miles), and an abandoned house complete with furnishings.

Imposing 2 story stone structure in Thatcher

Thatcher's water tower

Adobe brick house in ruins, Thatcher

Open floor plan, Thatcher

Tyrone has little left to recommend it but a roadside business that appears to have been a mechanic business on one side, (now filling up with tumbleweeds), and something someone saw fit to paint shocking pink on the other, the mattress on the ground suggesting it’s most recent use may have been a bedroom. The tin ceiling, (also shocking pink), is losing its fight with gravity. I thought it was interesting that many of the buildings along the way were built with adobe brick. The walls here were covered by lathe and plaster. On the other side of the railroad tracks, the exterior of a Spanish style school house is in relatively good shape. The inside, not so much.

Pretty in pink, Tyrone, Colorado

Tumbleweeds take over a workshop in Tyrone

Unusual schoolhouse, Tyrone

The icing on the cake was Model 1913, now known simply as Model, Colorado. Quoting Colorado Preservation, In 1912, the area was full of optimism and the Model Land Irrigation Company planned the ideal irrigated community, Model. However, the 1920s and 30s were full of tumultuous weather and economic depression, causing a sharp decline in population and the abandonment of many towns.”

Model was the largest, most complete almost-ghost town we visited.  I say almost because we saw evidence of two, maybe three buildings being occupied. One of which is the Model Mercantile. We spent hours here, photographing the old neighborhood where so many of the houses still stand, many still furnished and others filled with junk. It was heaven for this photographer with an itchy shutter finger.

Model 1913, Mercantile

Highway frontage business property, Model

Welcome to the neighborhood, Model, Colorado

Barnyard in Model, remains of a John Deere tractor

This area was hit hard by the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, properties reverting to the banks and sold for pennies on the dollar to large cattle operations. In some locations we had to be careful where we stepped…the cattle are still very much a part of the landscape. And that’s OK with me. They don’t paint the walls with graffiti, and they don’t walk off with ‘souvenirs’.

 Debi

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) Colorado Colorado Ghost Towns Delhi Highway 350 La Junta Model Model 1913 Santa Fe Railroad Santa Fe Trail Thatcher Timpas Trinidad Tyrone abandoned decayed deserted ghost town helium mercantile railroad schoolhouse https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2017/1/ghost-towns-of-colorados-hwy-350 Thu, 26 Jan 2017 13:24:43 GMT
Altered Reality? What's that? https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2016/11/altered-reality-whats-that OMG!OMG!They're not coming in here, are they?
This image is a digital composition.

Altered Reality? What’s that?

Altered - change or cause to change in character or composition, to make different in some particular, to modify.

When it comes to photography, creative alteration of an image, or combining more than one image into a single element, is referred to as “Altered Reality”.

From their website: The PSA (Photographic Society of America) definition of Creative is “Altered Reality.” The image must obviously display a change in natural color, form, shape, or any combination of these three. Creative images are often montages (a blending or composite of multiple images).

In other words, an image that fits the creative or altered reality guidelines as set by PSA might appear realistic in a very unrealistic way, or not look realistic at all. The original images used are taken, the final image is created.

To compete in the Creative Division of PSA, the maker of the image must have adhered to these principles.

The image of the elephants and cows (above), OMG!, are a good example of what I’m talking about. Is it a likely scenario? Not so much.  The image is a composite of elements taken from three different photos; the barn, (in eastern Colorado), the cows, (on a ranch), and the elephants, (at the zoo), are combined to tell a story. An unlikely story, but then, that’s the point.

From conceptualizing the idea, to putting the pieces together, the process allows me to set my imagination free to create. I have no talent for painting, but I’m sure my artist friends feel much the same way when they approach a canvas. You can do whatever you want here! I’m limited only by my own imagination. I love this stuff!

The second example (below), Music of the Night, combines a Milky Way shot from the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, giraffes from the zoo, and a vulture from a trip to Mesa Verde.

Some of the altered reality images on my website feature planets, a recurring theme, that I create in Photoshop. While it’s not apparent to everyone, many hours can be spent creating a single, credible image. For me, the hours are well spent.

Visit the Altered Reality page on my website here.

Debi Boucher

DBoucher-Photography.com

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) PSA Photographic Society of America altered reality composite composite image composition creative creative image digital composition https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2016/11/altered-reality-whats-that Wed, 23 Nov 2016 02:19:38 GMT
Wapiti - The Ghost King https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2016/11/wapiti---the-ghost-king

Wapiti - The Ghost King

This image was inspired by Native American beliefs surrounding wapiti, or elk.  Elk are one of the largest land mammals in North America, and Colorado has the largest elk population in the world at an estimated 280,000.

Before European settlement in North America, some 10 million elk roamed freely across the United States and into Canada. As settlement pushed westward, the elk were eventually forced to the Rocky Mountain states and to the Pacific Northwest. Over hunting reduced their total to around 50,000.Today, thanks to the conservatorship of Teddy Roosevelt and the establishment of National Parks, the count is nearer to 1 million.

Wapiti, which means “white rump”, are known to Native Americans as “the ghost kings”. They are cautious and wary, with a keen ability to sense and evade humans. Elk were a crucial part of the Indian’s daily lives, providing food, jewelry from their antlers, and clothing and shelter fashioned from their hides.

Pictograms and petroglyphs, can be found on cliffs and in caves throughout the southwestern states that date back thousands of years.  One especially impressive petroglyph is a 2 foot wide depiction of an elk in Red Tank Draw, Verde Valley, Arizona.

The above is a composite image, with the 6 point bull superimposed on the bark of an ancient bristlecone pine, itself over 1,000 years old. The elk was photographed in Rocky Mountain National Park, and the bristlecone was photographed on Windy Ridge, near Alma Colorado.

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) Alma Colorado Colorado Ghost King Native American bark bristlecone pine elk nature wapiti wild animals wildlife windy Ridge https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2016/11/wapiti---the-ghost-king Mon, 14 Nov 2016 04:03:09 GMT
House on Fire Ruins https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2016/6/house-on-fire-ruins

House on Fire Ruins

It's not really a house. And it's not really on fire. But it sure looks like it.

It's an 800+ year old Ancestral Puebloan ruin that makes a photographer's mouth water. It's actually a granary that was built into the base of a weathered sandstone overhang and was in continuous use for hundreds of years in Utah's Mule Canyon. The ruins have not been restored, and it's a testament to the respect that hikers and photographers have shown for this precious historical site, that it remains in such pristine condition.

We were exploring our options online after dinner in our rented Moab condo on a recent trip to Utah when we came across a similar image. Surprisingly, I had never heard of these ruins.  As a group we made an immediate decision to change our plans and put the House on Fire Ruins at the top of the 'must do' list.

The next day eight of us piled into our respective vehicles and headed for the visitor center in Blanding, Utah. There we learned that the location is not marked on the highway. There's a BLM dirt road on the right between mile markers 101 and 102 on Highway 95 out of Blanding. Take that road to the bridge, park, and follow the trail head on the left for about 1 1/2 miles. The trail is an easy one that follows the ravine where a rock cairn on the right side of the ravine marks the location of the ruins. Afterwards, get back on the trail and look for more ruins farther up.

The "flames" are a trick of the light, and you have to be in the right spot to capture the effect; shoot it from the opposite direction and you get, well, sandstone. But from here, the effect of sunlight reflecting on the stone creates this remarkable effect. Because of this, most images you see will be very similar.

I read several references that say you have to be there at a certain time of day - in the morning between 10 and 11 AM, for example. But I made this image at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, so I'm here to tell ya it doesn't much matter what time it is, as long as the sun is shining.

Make your images, then put the camera down and sit in the shade of the flaming overhang and ponder the people who sat where you're sitting now, 800 years ago.

Debi

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) Ancestral Puebloans Mule Canyon Utah fire granary house on fire ruins sandstone https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2016/6/house-on-fire-ruins Thu, 30 Jun 2016 04:13:25 GMT
Paint Mines of Colorado https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2016/4/paint-mines-of-colorado Paint MinesPaint MinesHoodoos, formed by erosion of selenite clay in the Paint Mines of eastern Colorado.

Paint Mines

Located in the eastern plains of Colorado, one mile south of the small town of Calhan, the 750 acre Paint Mines Interpretive Park beckons visitors to take a step back in time.

Four miles of trails wind around spectacular white, ochre and maroon colored hoodoos, chasms, and spires formed by erosion of selenite clay. The clay provided  paint for the pottery and ceremonies of American Indians of the area, and in the late 1800's was mined by a local homesteader who hauled the clay to Colorado Springs and Pueblo for making bricks. Several buildings in Colorado Springs are said to have been made from Paint Mines clay.

Evidence of human habitation in the Paint Mines dates back 9,000 years to the ancestors of the first humans to cross the Bering Strait land bridge. Archaeological finds include arrowheads and stone dart tips made from petrified wood and used to hunt wooly mammoth and giant bison.

But over the years, a different kind of human evidence, trash and beer cans, was left behind.

In 1997 El Paso County began buying the land and conducting archaeological surveys. With the help of volunteers, the area was cleaned up and trails were built. The park opened to the public in 2005 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

It had been a few years since I'd been here, and as always, I came away with the feeling I've just been walking among ghosts.

My only wish is that "whoever is in charge" would have consulted with photographers before putting up power lines, and more recently, massive wind turbines! Surely they could have been put somewhere else?

Debi

 

 

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) Calhan, Colorado Colorado Colorado History National Register of Historic Places Paint Mines colorado eastern plains https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2016/4/paint-mines-of-colorado Tue, 12 Apr 2016 22:10:21 GMT
"Glamping" at Cloud Camp https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2016/3/-glamping-at-cloud-camp

"Glamping" at Cloud Camp

I live for the get-away. No, not the bank robbery kind, but the ‘call a girlfriend and go somewhere' kind.  In 2009, my BFF of 40+ years and I booked a week at the Lake Hotel in Yellowstone. We went early in the season to avoid the crowds, and it was the best vacation of my life. For me it was the realization that traveling with girlfriends is a way to truly relax, let my hair down, take a mental health break, and simply have fun.

Since then, I’ve watched the sunset from atop the largest flat top mountain in the world, laughed at the interaction of baby mountain goats and their mothers at 14,000 feet, been kissed by wolves, and sat in the dirt under pinions in the high desert while curious wild horses came too close to photograph.  I’ve seen moose in their natural habitat , enjoyed high tea in beautiful and historical hotels, and had superb meals amid eccentric and interesting people, even in places with names like ‘Grumpy’s’.  Every memory filled trip was with girlfriends, and on the way home from each one we were planning the next adventure, whether it be somewhere scenic/warm/cold/rustic or exclusive.

One of the most iconic locations in Colorado is the historical AAA 5 Diamond rated Broadmoor Hotel. The Broadmoor was purchased by Phillip Anshutz in 2011. With his hand on the pulse of the desires of his guests, his vision for change has brought new meaning to the term ‘luxury hotel’.  Having decided we’d earned some time sitting in the lap of luxury, my friend Karen and I made plans for our next get away.  Destination: Cloud Camp.

Not a man to sit on his laurels, when Spencer Penrose imagined a lodge and restaurant high atop Cheyenne  Mountain overlooking the city of Colorado Springs below, it didn’t take him long to bring his vision to fruition.  In 1925, at a cost of $1 million dollars, he built what he called the Cheyenne Mountain Highway, after which he began construction on the Cheyenne Mountain Lodge. The lodge was also known as the Honeymoon Lodge and quickly became a public favorite. Abandoned many years later, the lodge was demolished in the 1970’s.

Phillip Anschutz, current owner of the Broadmoor, has brought Penrose’s vision back to life on the same foundation with Cloud Camp, the Broadmoor’s newest Wilderness Experience. The 8,000 square foot timber lodge and accompanying cabins at Cloud Camp sit atop Cheyenne Mountain, poised to encompass expansive views of Colorado Springs, the eastern plains, Pikes Peak and the Rocky Mountain Range.

We settled in to one of 11 super comfy and beautifully appointed cabins on the property, and went to explore the lodge.

This is summer camp on steroids. Decorated with museum quality artifacts and artwork obtained from private collections and auction, the log and beam interior of the lodge is so warm and welcoming I didn’t know whether to be outside on the deck taking in the view, or inside admiring the feather and bead shirt Kevin Costner wore in Dances With Wolves. The decision would have been easier had he still been wearing it.

Chef Alex’s choice of Roast Long Island Duckling or Lobster Thermidor was served at the 40 foot communal dining table in front of a blazing fire with guests from states such as Indiana and New York taking the opportunity to share stories about their favorite travel locations. We chose to enjoy breakfast and lunch outside on the patio, soaking in the view and looking for Colorado Springs landmarks such as the Broadmoor and Garden of the Gods far below.

As a photographer, I felt like a kid in a candy store.  On a rock precipice above the camp, a former 2 story fire lookout tower was revamped into Cloud Camp’s most unique suite.  I wanted to photograph the view from up there. “No problem,” said Skylar, one of the camp rangers, “let’s go!” Scrambling up a steep grade and over and around boulders, (at the time of my visit, the Fire Tower revamp wasn’t completed, and it was the only way up), he led us to the Fire Tower.  Wow.  The old phrase, “a bird’s eye view” suddenly had new meaning. 

There’s a reason they call this Cloud Camp. Camp Ranger Kelly told us that sunrise often brought a layer of soft clouds over the city and the best place from which to view and photograph the scene is from the flag platform below the lodge that still exists from Spencer Penrose’s day.

Rising before the sun, we followed the path and climbed the rock stairway to the flag pole, set up the tripod, and waited for the show to begin.  In the quiet of the morning and as the sun began to rise and color the promised clouds in gold and pink, we heard reveille floating up from Fort Carson Army Base below us to the south. Suddenly, this was more than just a stunning view.  I realized that while it may be possible to capture the image, it would not be possible to capture the combined feeling of humbleness and pride the moment invoked.

Cloud Camp, the epitome of glamour camping, or ‘glamping’ as the camp rangers refer to it, is a magical, peaceful place to rejuvenate, unwind, and reconnect.

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) Broadmoor Cloud Camp Spencer Penrose glamping historical hotel hotel luxury camping resort https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2016/3/-glamping-at-cloud-camp Wed, 23 Mar 2016 20:58:33 GMT
Colorado's Eastern Plains - not plain at all https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2016/2/colorados-eastern-plains---not-plain-at-all Farm WagonFarm WagonA wooden wagon and other farm equipment sit exposed to the elements on an abandoned homestead at sunset

The Well PumpThe Well PumpWater for drinking, cooking, laundry, bathing. Seems we spent the whole day hauling buckets. Didn't appreciate it much till the well ran dry.
If the walls could talk series #7

Colorado’s Eastern Plains – not plain at all

The eastern plains of Colorado are sometimes referred to as West Kansas, open, empty, flat and with not much to recommend it. But the plains aren't flat, they’re not empty, and the sunsets looking back toward Pikes Peak can rival even the most stunning coastal sunset. Stormy skies are a treat for photographers on the plains, too.

The undulating rolling hills of the plains are home to the ranchers whose families homesteaded here from the east and from Europe looking for land ownership and a better way of life. It wasn't easy, but they persevered. Descendants of those families, their churches and cemeteries, are still here.

Lumber was scarce, so early settlers used the materials available to them and built sod houses, or ‘soddies’, layers of prairie grass stacked like bricks with timber supports, and sometimes built dug-outs into the sides of low hills, using the natural lay of the land for shelter. As time went on and they prospered, some were able to afford lumber and build cabins and barns from wood.

A rancher I once spoke to told me his ancestors from Czechoslovakia built soddies or dugouts for their families, then the men traveled to Pueblo to work in the steel mill to earn enough to get a start on their farms or ranches back home. The soddies and dug-outs became root cellars or storm shelters for those lucky enough to get ahead.

It was a hard life. I asked about the small family cemeteries dotted here and there on private property.

“Winters were more severe in those days,” he said. “It wasn’t always possible to travel to town (Calhan) for burials, so folks were buried on a plot on the property. A neighboring family might bury their own here as well.”

A friend once challenged me to explore the eastern plains. I had lived in the mountains for years and had not given the plains much thought. After moving to Colorado Springs, I took up her challenge, and discovered a wealth of photo opportunities. Old homesteads and barns, and decaying farm equipment quickly became one of my favorite things to shoot. I’ve spent countless hours exploring from northeastern Colorado to the southern-most area of Baca County.

The flu epidemic of 1918, and later the dust bowl, decimated the population and many left, abandoning their homesteads in search of easier living. Many of those old homesteads remain, dotting the landscape here and there, and beckon to me in some visceral way. “If walls could talk” is not just a rote phrase, but a plea. How I’d love to hear their stories.

Go to the Rural Landscapes link under 'portfolio' on my website for more images of the plains of Colorado.

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) Colorado barns cabin dug-outs eastern plains homestead prairies settlers soddies sunset https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2016/2/colorados-eastern-plains---not-plain-at-all Tue, 02 Feb 2016 00:30:00 GMT
Grand Mesa, Colorado https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2016/1/grand-mesa-colorado

Grand Mesa , Colorado

In the summer of 2011 a friend and I took the exit off of I70 to Grand Mesa to see what it was. I hadn’t heard anything about it, and preferring to leave no stone unturned, we decided to check it out.  What we encountered was the largest flat top mesa in the world, 11,000 feet in elevation at its highest point, and 40 miles long. Literally covered in bright green aspen, I wondered how it could be that Grand Mesa had escaped my attention for so long.

Knowing that the mesa would be a bonanza of fall color, we made a vow to return the soonest September possible. Everything came together in the fall of 2013, and seven of us booked rustic cabins at the historical Grand Mesa Lodge. The lodge sits above Island Lake, the largest of 300 lakes on the mesa. I’m not a fisher-person, but I imagine for those that are, Grand Mesa would be like being in a candy store.  An old newspaper article tacked to the wall showed a fisherman holding a record 18 lb. bass.

I was more interested in moose. I had read that moose were reintroduced into the area in 2005, and hoped to photograph them, or at least one, while there. We learned a very large bull had been frequenting the area near the lodge, but had been shot (legally) by a hunter just the day before. I was very disappointed. Pretty sure the hunter wasn’t disappointed, but I was wishing I had the chance to photograph him before he became a trophy on someone’s wall.

Photographic opportunities are endless here; early morning fog rising on Island Lake and the full moon reflecting in the water at night, crystal clear reflections of aspen in any number of lakes and ponds, and sweeping vistas seen from 6,000 feet above the Grand Valley floor at sunset. Nature provided a bonus and we woke up early our second morning on the mesa thrilled to see 5 inches of snow had settled overnight.

Grand Mesa is a Scenic Byway accessed from the town of Mesa on the north, or Cedaredge on the south, and covers 500 square miles. The mesa can be seen stretched out in the distance from as far away as lookout points at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

If you go, don’t just drive through, stay awhile. There’s a lot to see and do any time of year including cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter, hiking and fishing, boating and camping in the warmer months, and the fall color is spectacular!

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) Grand Mesa",Colorado,"flat top mesa", byway" scenic https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2016/1/grand-mesa-colorado Sat, 16 Jan 2016 20:36:02 GMT
Walden - Moose capitol of Colorado https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2015/11/walden---moose-capitol-of-colorado DBOUCHER-PHOTOGRAPHY.COM COPYRIGHT

Walden – the Moose Capital of Colorado

With their over-sized bodies somehow supported by tall skinny legs, bulbous noses at the end of really large heads, and funny looking dewlaps hanging from under their chins, the hump backed moose is not the prettiest animal on the planet. In spite of that, ever since he became the leading man in the early 90’s television hit Northern Exposure, I have yearned to see the elusive moose of Colorado in their natural habitat.

The opportunity arose when I learned of a herd of some 600 head of Shira’s moose in the vast area of North Park that surrounds Walden, Colorado.  Moose are often seen wandering through the town? Suddenly, the words ‘road trip’ were ringing in my ears!

 North Park, a high mountain basin in the north central part of the state is bordered by the Never Summer Mountains and Rabbit Ears Pass to the south, the Medicine Bow Mountains to the east, and the Park Range to the west, with the Wyoming border just a stones throw to the north.  This vast wetland valley is sparsely populated, with cattle ranching the primary economic mainstay.  

Moose rarely travel in groups, preferring to wander in pairs and the adult males don’t spend much time with the girls unless it’s mating season.  We were advised that there are two large males often seen at the top of Cameron Pass among the willows, (their favorite food), in the draws on either side of the highway, but we were disappointed to find they were not in attendance. I guess I should have sent word we were on our way.

In any case, we continued on toward the 71,000 acre State Forest State Park, stopping at the Moose Visitor Center located about one mile east of the hamlet of Gould.  Outside the building is a fascinating life size moose fashioned by three generations of the Gueswel family from a steel frame and barbed wire.  Inside the spacious center we found wildlife exhibits, books, educational materials, gifts and very informative Forest Service folks.  Just inside the front door is an easel where visitors share their moose sightings with location and time seen. We saw that 2 had been spotted 4 miles back earlier in the day. Hmmm.  Is that a tinge of jealousy I’m feeling?

The drive along Hwy 14 is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace. There is a lot to take in – from the wide open vistas across North Park’s valley floor, to the distant snow capped mountains and the lush green pastures of the cattle ranches.  Here and there we saw evidence of North Park’s pioneer past, old log cabins, barns and corrals standing as testament to a rugged lifestyle of hard work and perseverance. We drove in awe of our surroundings, and stopped often for photo opportunities.

Not long after climbing back up to tree line, a collective yell of “Moose!” came from each of us as a yearling male crossed the highway not 50 feet in front of the car!  Stunned by his sudden appearance, I pulled over and we watched as he ran alongside the road, and out of sight.  His mother was off to our right, partially hidden by the pines, so we waited to see if he would return. Sure enough, a short time later, he sauntered back to rejoin his mother and together they moved away into the woods. Our luck held, and a few miles up the road we saw another. A few cars had stopped, everyone with cameras clicking furiously.  As we watched, a young male descended from the trees and casually crossed the road directly in front of a “Game Crossing” sign. Clearly the area’s moose are mindful of the traffic signs.

Moose are docile animals unless provoked, and these two were not in the least perturbed by our presence. We bystanders moved slowly and spoke softly in deference to these amazing, funny looking creatures and were treated to about 30 minutes worth of picture taking and ooh-ing and ahh-ing.  In all, we had the intense pleasure of sighting six moose that day.

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) Colorado North Park State Forest State Park Walden Colorado moose https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2015/11/walden---moose-capitol-of-colorado Sat, 21 Nov 2015 22:06:30 GMT
Lions and tigers and bears - Oh my! https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2015/10/lions-and-tigers-and-bears---oh-my

 

Lions, and tigers and bears – Oh my!

Northeastern Colorado’s arid high desert is home to the world’s largest carnivore sanctuary. The 720 acre facility houses, feeds and otherwise cares for more than 400 animals; lions, tigers, and bears among others.

According to their website:

“A shocking statistic about America’s Captive Wildlife Crisis…the illicit exotic animal trade is the third largest source of illegal profits in the world today, just after illegal drugs and weapons! In the U.S. alone, there are an estimated 30,000 captive large carnivores living outside the zoo system. There are 4,000 Tigers living as “pets” in private homes in just the state of Texas – more Tigers than exist in the wild throughout the world. Countless other Great Cats, Bears, Wolves and other large carnivores live in abusive conditions in roadside stands, circuses, magic acts, traveling shows, and other substandard situations. Untold numbers of animals suffer and die each year due to neglect, abuse or because they are abandoned and left to die, starving and alone.”

Founded in 1980, the Wild Animal Sanctuary, a non-profit 30 miles northeast of Denver, is operated by Pat Craig and his family, and an army of volunteers. I am here today to photograph the facility for AAA Colorado Encompass Magazine.  Pat’s son, Casey, graciously provides a private tour for me and two friends.

We bump along in a large ATV below the mile long raised walkway built entirely by donation as Casey explains that wild animals do not consider the air above them as part of their territory, and therefore are less threatened by the many thousands of visitors; tourists, school children and other groups, that come here each year. Donations that built the walkway were earmarked specifically for that purpose. Donations intended for the animals’ care and well being go directly to the animals.

A fleet of trucks, specially outfitted to transport large animals safely, are stored at the facility. Rescues have taken place all over the world. Taking calls from government agencies, private parties and animal rights activists, TWAS will travel wherever is necessary, even transport by air, to bring these animals to a safe place to live out their lives.

We learn that is costs about 40,000 dollars per week to feed the animals, and fortunately, much of that is donated by local Walmart stores. Two trucks visit 37 of these stores every day, bringing back the meat that you and I reject as we flip through looking for longer ‘use by’ dates. The meat is processed on site, adding nutrients specifically required by each species.

We stop at an enclosure housing Max, a huge grizzly bear rescued after his back was severely injured in an accident at a roadside circus. Barely able to move when he was brought to the sanctuary, Max has recovered enough to get around, although he will always be slow and move awkwardly. We stand outside the enclosure and watch as Max ambles toward us and lifts his massive bulk into a large galvanized tub of water for a cooling dunk. Casey brings our attention to Max’s eyes. Noticing how very small his eyes are in relation to his overall size, we learn that a bear’s eyes do not grow bigger as the bear grows into adulthood.

Two other grizzlies, rescued from a Russian circus, lived in a truck for 17 years.  The bears were purposely addicted by being given nicotine infused taffy so they would perform tricks on demand. Now addiction-free, they play freely in a wide open space.  For this reason, smoking is strictly prohibited anywhere on the property.

Gigi, a rare white African lion, was rescued from Mexico when the man keeping her as a pet finally realized it wasn’t such a good idea and turned her over to a zoo. The zoo, luckily one that works closely with TWAS, contacted the sanctuary. She’ll live out her life here, on a large acreage habitat with others of her kind.

Gigi was fortunate. We hear about animals bought illegally and kept in tiny cages, animals chained in backyards, those infested with parasites and left to starve, and those beaten and abused in unthinkable ways, all rescued by TWAS.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary is doing really good work. Visit their website to learn how you can help:

The Wild Animal Sanctuary

 

Debi

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) Colorado Keenesburg Colorado The Wild Animal Sanctuary animal rescue animal sanctuary bear grizzly bear sanctuary wild animals https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2015/10/lions-and-tigers-and-bears---oh-my Sat, 10 Oct 2015 14:21:59 GMT
Hanging Lake https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2015/8/hanging-lake

 

Hanging Lake

One of the most popular hikes in the state of Colorado is along the trail to Hanging Lake.  In renowned Glenwood Canyon, the lake is a small basin perched high at the edge of a cliff. Carbonate minerals dissolving in the water create the vivid turquoise color.

I had been hoping to make it to Hanging Lake for years, and just never got around to it, always sailing by on I70 to somewhere else. So I was excited when AAA Colorado Encompass Magazine asked me to shoot Hanging Lake for a Colorado Getaways article scheduled for publication in 2016.

Designated a US National Landmark in 2011, Hanging Lake is in a precarious state. The fragile ecosystem of the travertine shoreline is increasingly threatened by the lake’s popularity. An estimated 131,000 people hike the difficult and rocky 1.2 mile trail (with a 1,020 foot elevation gain) to the lake each year. The lake, and the trail, are suffering the consequences of visitors who disregard the rules; most notably, no wading, no swimming. The situation is so dire that the Forest Service is considering a reservation only, fee-guided hike that may go into effect as early as next year.

I was there in mid August and spoke with a Forest Service Ranger who told me that more than 80,000 visitors had made their way to the lake already this year.  I swear at least half of them were there on the same day I was. I’ve never seen a trail so crowded.

Knowing that parking is a major issue, and that if you don’t get there early you might as well turn around and go home, we pulled into the parking lot about 6 AM. I expected we’d be the first there, but no, there were already 5 or 6 cars, their owners well on their way to the trail.

We strapped on our backpacks, and with tripod in one hand and walking stick in the other, set off along the paved walkway that skirts a very still lake created by a diversion dam on the Colorado River for the Shoshone Power Plant.  We stopped for images of dawn breaking over the lake with mirror-like reflections of the canyon walls and rock formations lying perfectly still in the water.

We were the only ones at the trailhead when we got there a few minutes later, but that didn’t last long.  In no time at all it seemed we were being passed by a steady stream of hikers, super fit hikers, at that.  Young parents were carrying toddlers (not babies) on their backs and blowing by us like a rogue wind.

And I thought I was ‘all-that-and-a-bag-of-chips’ carrying 25 lbs. of camera gear!

The trail is very rocky, big rocks - not gravel, and follows Dead Horse Creek on a zigzag path climbing a beautifully wooded trail with numerous small waterfalls and foot bridges.  There are plenty of places to stop and rest a bit, and most people do, remembering to enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

Coming around the corner at the top and getting my first look at the lake was like opening a heavily wrapped gift – worth every bit of effort to get to it.

I was struck first by the cool turquoise color, and by how very clear the water is. The lake is shallow. I could see fish swimming around the algae coated rocks below. Then my attention was captured by the gentle falls across the lake and taking it all in, I thought to myself, “Nice. Really, really nice.”

We spent about 2 hours at the lake, making images and chatting with other visitors, before heading back down.  Surprisingly I saw a few people wearing flip flops, so it’s worth noting that if you make the hike, do it with sturdy hiking boots, a good walking stick (it will save your knees), and carry plenty of water.

Debi

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) Colorado Glenwood Canyon Hanging Lake Hike Lake canyon https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2015/8/hanging-lake Fri, 28 Aug 2015 12:54:24 GMT
Mission: Wolf - The language of the wild https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2015/8/MissionWolfThelanguageofthewild

Mission: Wolf - The language of the wild

Want a pet? Rescue a dog! That’s the message Kent Weber, founder of Mission: Wolf, an educational non-profit since 1984, wants you to take away from a visit to the 200 acre self sustaining complex tucked away in the Wet Mountains of Colorado.

An excerpt from the Mission: Wolf mission statement reads as follows: “We figure that if you have a wolf in a cage, it’s good for one thing: to teach people not to put wolves in cages. Every year we travel the country with our ambassador wolves to teach people about the value of wild wolves and the drawbacks of trying to keep a wild animal as a pet. Our goal is to put ourselves out of business. When we educate enough people that there are no longer captive wolves in need of rescue, we can tear down our fences, turn the wolf sanctuary into a nature center, and listen to the wolves howling in the wild.”

I visited Mission: Wolf on assignment to photograph for a AAA Colorado Encompass Magazine article about Colorado animal sanctuaries written by Denver based freelance writer Pat Woodard and scheduled for 2016 publication.

Getting there wasn’t easy.

There are no advertising signs pointing the way to Mission: Wolf.  Google Maps is not especially helpful. Trust me on this.

My friend Nancy and I blew in ignorant bliss right by the turn off, traveling 10 miles or so beyond before suspecting there might be something wrong and stopping to call. We had to move slowly in two directions before successfully finding a cell signal. Thankfully, after describing our location, “Near a large ranch with a big pond…” sanctuary volunteer, Pele, got us turned around and pointed in the right direction.

Turning off the highway onto a dirt road, we traveled 13.5 miles to the sanctuary where we found teepees, tents, a variety of solar powered buildings, and a whole bunch of middle school kids working hard moving dirt from one location to another. We were greeted by Paige Funkhouser, a 7 year long volunteer who explained the kids come to help, and learn through interaction with the wolves, something about themselves as well as the plight of these magnificent animals.

I was impressed. This is no kitschy tourist operation. If you find yourself at Mission: Wolf, it’s because you made a special effort to be there.

80 of the 200 acres are fenced and currently home to 35 wolves. The remaining 120 acres is in conservation and serve as a buffer zone. The wolves were born in captivity. Some were sold as pets, others used in movies or roadside zoos, and none would survive if released in the wild.

“They were born in cages, and they will die in cages,” says Kent. “Sadly, I have turned away thousands of requests to take in wolves. I just don’t have room for them all. There are more wolves in captivity than there are in the wild.”

Quoting from the Mission: Wolf website: "Wolves reach maturity at 2 to 3 years of age. Up until this point their minds are very much like that of a dog. When wolves do finally reach maturity, they become very independent, and possessive of anything that happens to find its way into their mouth. It is usually at this point that people who own a wolf or a hybrid find that they have an animal they can no longer control."

The animal ends up in a rescue to live out its life, or worse, abandoned, caught and destroyed.

Mission: Wolf’s philosophy is that we humans care more about something we can touch than an abstract idea. “Meeting a wolf face to face continues to motivate people long after the experience,” says Kent.

In preparation for our “face-to-face” with ambassador wolves, Magpie, Abraham, and Zeab, we listen carefully to Kent, a wolf-human behavior expert, who shares with us what to do when we enter the pen, and the language of the wolves.

Good thing too, because knowing what it means when that big ole head comes at you to lick your mouth, will prevent sure and sudden heart failure. In accepting the “kiss” it signals to the wolf that you acknowledge their respect and offer of friendship.

“Turning your head or pushing the animal away is the same as rejecting a hug from a 2 year old child,” say Kent. “It hurts their feelings, and causes them to continue to try to gain your affection.”

Alrighty then. In we go.  

As instructed, we ignore the wolves and seat ourselves on a log in the pen. Immediately, the wolves come to greet us, their tongues going straight for our mouths. It takes an effort not turn away, instead looking directly into their eyes we acknowledge them, pet them, and have our hearts stolen now and forever.

We leave with the certainty that what Kent and his dedicated team of volunteers are doing at Mission: Wolf is important. For the wolves, and for us.

(For the record, a wolf's kiss is not slimy, nor is their breath offensive :)

Using my camera, Kent snapped the image above of me with Zeab, described by Kent as the most gentle wolf he's ever known.  

Debi

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) Colorado Mission:Wolf animal rescue animal sanctuary captivity rescue wet mountains wild animals wolf wolf rescue wolf sanctuary wolves https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2015/8/MissionWolfThelanguageofthewild Sat, 01 Aug 2015 18:36:39 GMT
Canoeing the Colorado River https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2015/7/canoeing-the-colorado-river

Canoeing the Colorado River

Back in January I had the good fortune to be contacted by Marty Genereux, owner of Centennial Canoe Outfitters Inc., to shoot images for their 2016 marketing campaign.

I had never paddled a canoe down river, in fact, I’d never stepped foot in a canoe, on a river or otherwise. But, intrigued by the idea of shooting a landscape that could not be seen by any other means, I agreed to take the job and plans were made for a July 2015 canoe trip on the Colorado River.

I had never slept on the ground either, but I didn’t tell Marty that until I got there.  There’s always been a motel within a reasonable distance of my destination, so sleeping on the ground just seemed completely unnecessary.  

I’m pretty sure at this point Marty was wondering what he’d gotten himself into, but I’m nothing if not committed, and as always, anywhere I have a camera in my hand is a good place to be.

We met for put-in at Loma, Colorado, about thirteen miles or so west of Grand Junction. Twenty-eight people introduced themselves, had a lesson in paddling and safety, and ate breakfast prepared by our river guides, Ward, Lindsay and Richard. We were instructed in how to pack our canoes with all the gear necessary, (personal belongings, camp gear, tents, etc.), for a three day float downriver.

You can get a surprising amount of gear in a canoe. Relatively speaking, two people take up very little of the space.

My concerns, like what would happen if we capsize, (yes, the thought crossed my mind), slowly faded away as the hush of the river settled over us. We moved into the great sandstone canyons of the Ruby-Horsethief section of the Colorado Plateau where the ancients carved snake petroglyphs into the rock at river’s edge and swallows built their mud homes under the canyon ledges.  

I did my best to paddle properly, but I’m pretty sure Marty was doing all the work.

Before I knew it, we were taking out at the first campsite. By now all twenty-seven of my companions were well aware this was my first camping experience, and thanks to my friend Karen, they were also aware I had searched the internet for a battery operated hairdryer before leaving the comfort of my home.

Laugh if you must.  For the record, as far as I could tell there is only one brand made in the world and the price was ridiculous, so I didn’t buy it. That knowledge didn’t keep my companions from asking if they could borrow it. The teasing the first morning in camp was merciless.

After setting up camp, where I learned putting up a tent is really not all that complicated, we were treated to a very good dinner of grilled salmon and fresh veges, topped off with strawberry shortcake and whipped cream.  Three meals a day were prepared for us. We ate very, very well.

Water guns are standard equipment on the river, and the second day out a massive water fight ensued. No one was spared. We were all of us soaked to the gills by the time we maneuvered the 2 billion year old Black Rock granite narrows where it was important to pay attention to avoid overturning the canoe. Not that we could get any wetter.

A herd of bighorn sheep were in the near distance when we stopped for lunch and a hike to a natural amphitheater. Along the way we had sightings of great blue heron, peregrine falcons, bald eagles, and golden eagles.

Clouds obscured the stars our first night in camp, but the second night was clear and the Milky Way presented itself in all its glory for our viewing pleasure. On the other side of the river, trains passed from time to time, conductors blowing the horn by way of greeting, and we fell asleep to the soothing sound of the rushing Colorado River.  As I lay in my tent, I remember thinking, “This is the best water feature ever!”

There are no roads along this 25 mile stretch of river to Westwater, Utah– it is a true wilderness experience, and Marty and his crew of experienced, fun and friendly guides went way out of their way to ensure we had the best possible canoeing experience.

My first camping adventure was such a success Centennial Canoe and I are planning a beginner photography workshop on the river next summer. I’d love to see you there.

Stay tuned for more information to come this winter!

Debi

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) Black Rock Centennial Canoe Outfitters Inc Colorado Colorado Plateau Colorado River Loma Colorado Westwater Utah amphitheater boat camping canoe canoeing canyons paddle petroglyphs photography river ruby-horsethief sandstone wilderness https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2015/7/canoeing-the-colorado-river Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:09:00 GMT
Capitol Reef National Park, Utah https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2015/6/capitol-reef-national-park-utah

Capitol  Reef, in Wayne County, Utah, was established as a National Park in 1971. Protection efforts in the area began in 1921, and in 1937, President Roosevelt, a forward thinking outdoorsman, proclaimed it a National Monument.  Over the years, land was added to the monument and by 1970 the acreage totaled 254,251.

In the heart of red rock country, Capitol Reef is lesser known compared to Bryce Canyon, Arches and Zion, and was wonderfully un-crowded when my friend Nancy and I visited over the Memorial Day weekend. Like everywhere else in the west this year, (except California), May was a very wet month, and there were some places we were unable to explore due to extremely muddy roads.  We made the best of what we could get to.  I’ll have to plan another trip to get to Cathedral Valley and Notom.

Partly cloudy/partly stormy skies each day were a bonus, and temperatures were mild.  While we occasionally had to wait out the rain in the car, it was worth it for the beautiful skies we enjoyed each day.

We hiked to Hickman Bridge, drove through the narrow, sheer-walled canyons of the Grand Wash, and viewed the ancient Fremont petroglyphs. During harvest season in the settlement of Fruita visitors can pick fruit in the orchards originally planted by Mormon settlers in the 1880’s, and if you’re there early enough in the day, buy homemade pies at the Gifford farmhouse, built in 1908.

The image pictured here was made from an area known as Sunset Point. With the sun low in the sky behind me, the rich red and orange tones popped, and it became my favorite place in the park to shoot.  I love having dead or leafless trees in my compositions – they have so much character!

Over the course of the trip we traveled to Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, and Arches National Parks, and Dead Horse State Park and put 1700 miles on the car.

I got my red-rock fix, so I’m good to go for the year!

 

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) Capitol Reef Capitol Reef National Park Fremont petroglyphs Fruita Gifford Farmhouse Grand Wash Hickman Bridge Sunset Point Utah wayne county https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2015/6/capitol-reef-national-park-utah Thu, 11 Jun 2015 23:13:35 GMT
Bagley/Frisco Mill - Alpine Loop, Colorado https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2015/3/bagley/frisco-mill---alpine-loop-colorado Bagley Mill-California GulchBagley Mill-California GulchThe remains of the Bagley Mill in California Gulch - San Juan Mountains, Colorado

The 75 mile Alpine Loop National Back Country Byway traces the paths created by Native Americans that were later carved into roads by prospectors and miners coming to the region in search of fortune. The entire area is dotted with the ruins of an aggressive effort to take gold and silver from the unforgiving mountains of the San Juans.

The skeletal remains of the Bagley/Frisco Mill sit in California Gulch, near Animas Forks, now a ghost town, that once supported 450 residents in the warmer months. The huge mill building was pre-fabricated, transported by the Silverton Northern Railroad, loaded into wagons and hauled to the site for assembly in the summer of 1912. The Bagley/Frisco is the last remaining large post and beam reduction mill in the area, most others lost to vandalism or scavenged for their beautiful weathered wood.

I traveled the Loop with friends in July of 2014, when the wildflowers were in full bloom. The mountains of Engineer and Cinnamon Pass are in the background.

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) Alpine Loop Animas Forks Bagley Frisco Mill| California Gulch Cinnamon Pass Colorado Engineer Pass San Juan Mountains wildflowers https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2015/3/bagley/frisco-mill---alpine-loop-colorado Tue, 10 Mar 2015 15:43:56 GMT
Trappers Lake - Flat Tops Wilderness https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2015/2/trappers-lake---flat-tops-wilderness  

Trappers Lake SunriseTrappers Lake SunriseTrappers Lake was the inspiration for America's Wilderness Act. The Big Fish Fire burned 17,000 acres in 2002. Northern Colorado

When Arthur Carhart was sent to survey the Trappers Lake area for summer homes in 1919, he reported, “There are a number of places with scenic values of such great worth that they… should be preserved for all time for the people of the nation and the world. Trappers Lake is unquestionably a candidate for that classification.” It was Carhart’s recommendation that Trappers Lake be left undeveloped, and it was his effort that laid the foundation for America’s Wilderness Act.

Famous for spectacular fall color, Colorado’s mountain roads are clogged with leaf-peepers in autumn.  Every year I join them somewhere in the state, never tiring of the murmur of quaking aspen and the opportunity to photograph crazy-quilt patterns on the mountainsides. In the fall of 2014 I discovered a lesser known jewel, the Flat Tops Scenic Byway, an 82 mile stretch through the Flat Tops Wilderness. We often drove for miles without seeing another vehicle on the road. But this is ranch country - cattle were an entirely different story - plenty of cattle on the road.

Trappers Lake Lodge was a new experience for me. Used to having a bathroom inside my lodgings, I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy the rustic cabin that required a walk to the bathhouse when the need arose. As it turned out, I enjoyed my stay. Several steps above tent camping, (the cozy log cabins offer heat and electricity), the 15 cabin settlement with restaurant and bar in the lodge, has been a favorite of hunters, fishermen and wilderness lovers since the original lodge and cabins were built in 1918.

Only 1/8th of a mile from the lodge, Trappers Lake, the third largest natural lake and home to the highest concentration of native cutthroat trout in the state, is about a mile and a half long, and a half a mile wide.

I knew that lightning sparked the 17,056 acre Big Fish Fire of 2002 that permanently altered the landscape, but I was unprepared for the stark beauty the scene presented 12 years after the fire. Up early to photograph the sun rising over the misty lake, my eyes roamed over patches of golden aspen growing amid the ghostly grey remains of the forest on the mountainsides. I found myself agreeing with Holly King, owner of Trappers Lake Lodge, who said, “It’s different now, but still very beautiful.”

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dboucher1054@gmail.com (DBoucher Photography) Arthur Carhart Big Fish Fire Flat Tops Scenic Byway Trappers Lake Lodge Wilderness Act colorado fall color flat tops wilderness lake trappers lake https://www.dboucher-photography.com/blog/2015/2/trappers-lake---flat-tops-wilderness Tue, 24 Feb 2015 00:45:02 GMT