Speak Up Saturday-Paint Mine Park

20 Oct

Speak Up Saturday

Patricia Franklin

A few years back we took a ride to northeast Colorado near the small town of Calhan. Someone had told us that there was a beautiful area there called the “Paint Mines.” We were out in the middle of nowhere, when we saw a sign ahead that said “Paint Mine Park,” so we turned off and followed that road. We drove further out into the prairie land which was flat and barren. As we drove along, we saw indications of some ridges and gullies in the landscape.

Our road led to a parking lot, where we parked our car in an almost vacant lot, and started walking along the trail that was indicated there, although we saw nothing and did not know what we were looking for. As we got further along, we saw a couple of crater-like holes in the ground. When we looked into them, there were indications of beautiful rock/dirt formations in different colors. As the trail went on, we came to a curve, where the trail doubled back and went downhill from there, then snaked to the right and further downhill.

When we got to the bottom and looked ahead, we were flabbergasted to see we were in a rock canyon with beautiful spires and rock walls in breathtakingly  different formations and colors. As we walked into the area, we were soon surrounded by these amazingly beautiful formations in bright purples, pinks, mauve, yellows, and stark white. It was absolutely unbelievable to walk into this alien land in the middle of the Colorado prairie. To make it even more eerie and exciting, the area was deathly quiet and no one was around. We almost felt like we had walked into the past. We eventually did run into a few people during our walk. It was strange how you could be alone in the quiet one minute, round a corner and meet up with someone without hearing a sound or seeing anyone until they were right there with you. At other times, you could hear voices, and never find out where they came from.

These rock walls, tunnels and spires were cut in here thousands of years ago by Mother Nature, and the Native Americans used these natural clay deposits for painting and pottery. The trails go along for a few miles of different kinds of formations. They are amazingly alike and amazingly different from each other. At one point, there are rows of large towering ghost-like formations called “hoo doos.”

This is one of the best kept secrets in Colorado. We took pictures, but you will get a better view of the Paint Mines if you just want to Google “Paint Mines, Colorado.”

A NATIVE AMERICAN QUOTE:

“WE DID NOT INHERIT THIS LAND FROM OUR ANCESTORS, BUT BORROWED IT FROM OUR CHILDREN.”

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