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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Hoo Doo, Hoo Doo You Think You're Fooling: Paint Mines Interpretive Park on the Plains of Colorado

      Hoodoo, who do you think you're fooling?! 

      A class in wild clay painting (using a mixture of native clay and wheat paste) led Maizie and me to the Paint Mines Interpretive Park, near Calhan, east of Colorado Springs, CO.

     It was a starkly beautiful, still January day in eastern Colorado. 

     We took the slightly longer, scenic route from Denver through Parker and Franktown. The Paint Mines are a wonderful surprise in the middle of miles and miles of prairie.

         The colorful clays were harvested by ancestral native people at least 9,000 years ago. The formations have been dated as 55 million years old.

The bone white clay of Paint Mines (3 minutes) is especially striking:

      Here are a few images from our clay painting class. It was great to be able to paint on a cold January day with no paint fumes, creating walls with lots of "movement" in the clay.

       Thanks to Rob Lewis of Bellingham, WA, for pointing us to the Paint Mines and for the great class on painting with all natural materials harvested in our own "backyards."

          Have you experimented with painting with clay or other natural materials? Have you heard of or been to the Paint Mines in eastern Colorado?!



  1. I have never heard of the paint mines, but they are majestic. The rock formations remind me a bit of the Wisconsin Dells... where all the farmers are taking a wife, etc. etc.!

    Maizie looks noble in your photo. She has a nice canine profile.


    1. Hey, Lego. I had never heard of the Paint Mines before last week, either.

      Your WI dells have some hoodoo and spire looks (The video above explains the difference as hoodoos being totem pole-like vs the steadily increasing erosion from bottom to top in spires).

      Noble Maizie? Well, she is a gas! ;-)

    2. Smitten, my kitten, sometimes passes gas.


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    1. A park ranger at Bryce Canyon told us in October that the only major formations of hoodoos in the world were there and in Cappodocia (which we visited a few years ago). I guess he didn't consider these or the ones we saw in Banff to be major. But I guess you couldn't expect a major (Paint) Miner.

      Speaking of Paul Simon, would a hoodoo near Mt Rushmore, or the high peaks of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, be a presidential podium?

      Not much gardening in Colorado this week, I'm sure, but the answer to 32-Across in today NY Times Crossword made me think of you.

    2. Major miner--great, jan!

      The Paint Mines hoodoos are surely on a much smaller scale than Bryce or Cappodocia, but the intensity of the colors rivals or even surpasses both. There is something quite primal about the bone white clay as well as the purple and orange layers.

      Presidential podium--hoo-ey! ;-) BTW, the memes that show the "back of Mt Rushmore" as being in Canada are so annoying. There's more South Dakota on the other side, then North Dakota and then, Canada. . .

      No loam heaving here today, indeed. Cold and windy. Fun clue, though!

    3. Speaking of presidential podia, the hoodoos made me think of this.

      Also this.

    4. I'd forgotten all about post-turtles, Paul.

      And I liked the song more than I thought I would. Appeeling (sic) graphics except for the too-close-ups. . .Distance, hoodood, distance. . .

    5. I think it is just wonderful that Paul Simon wrote in to PEOTS after seeing two allusions to his "Loves Me Like a Rock" lyrics: one by Steph in her "Hoo Doo..." headline and the other by jan in his "presidential podium" comment.

      But three possible issues:
      1. I did not realize Artie's post-partner was such a Kenny Rogers fan.
      2. I am not one of those holier-than-thou (or should that be "holier-than-thee"?) grammatical sticklers (well, that's not true... actually I am one of those), but, Steph and Paul, shouldn't that be "Hoom Doo you think you're fooling?"
      3. Isn't a post-turtle just an empty shell?


    6. Lego, hoom doos? That's gonna be a tough sell.

      Sadly, I expect a post-turtle is an empty shell. . .

      On a happier note, Zoe and I had a great talk early this morning about her classes, students, puppy, and the town library. She described how the newest PCVs in Addis Ababa (who arrived Wednesday) are kept away from the 6-month-in group, because the latter are already somewhat jaded. . .I guess that's a little sad, too. . .

    7. Too cold and windy for gardening in Denver? How about a farm in a shipping container? (And she can throw the garden on a trailer when She's Leaving Home.)

    8. Cool idea, though it's a lot of greenbacks for those greens.

    9. Yeah, I thought so, too. Especially since their testimonials mention maybe breaking even financially. But they mention fine-tuning the choice of crops, and on one of their web pages, hint at growing marijuana, which probably offers better margins. Probably a better bet than that broken-down Winnebago on Breaking Bad.

    10. Another thing to see enroute to Paint Mines along route 24 (or on Google Earth): gigantic marijuana growhouses near Peyton (but not Manning).

  3. This map of U.S. basement rock origins is fascinating. Most maps get so caught up in all the rock formation details but this gives a sweeping look at the types of crust and whether extension or compression is involved. The Connecticut River Valley placement is a wee bit off. . .but, otherwise, a lot of geologic history compressed in one simple map.

    1. This topic could resurface in next week's PEOTS. . .

      Who knows?

  4. I've mentioned not having a "feel" for dark matter. But, then, I get weirded out considering the weather on our ordinary-matter sun.

    1. Wild.

      The word "colorize" has been around since 1979; and to think it used to be blue, brown, green or hazel. . .

  5. Replies
    1. I don't like the kind of astronomy where you have to get out before dawn in the middle of the winter.

    2. You have a point, jan. . .

      Is the mongo winter storm materializing on the east coast, planets or no planets aligning?

    3. It's a meteorological cactolith!

    4. 9

      (Following your nomenclature.)

    5. Very exciting!

      Already thinking of names for the possible planet here. . .

      Sticking with the "P" theme (so mneumonics can be the same):


      Or, throwing the "P" theme out the window:

      Desta (Joy in Amharic)

      I am leaning toward Desta and Destiny; what are your suggestions?

    6. Vulcan seems logical.

      Or, since Pluto's history, Plutarch?

    7. I like Plutarch. Or how about Planet 9?

    8. When I was at Bell Labs, a group was developing an operating system called Plan 9, after the film.

    9. I worked at a company where a big, involved contest was held to name the new processing system. The winning name? Bob. Yup, just plain old, reliable (not!) Bob.

    10. So good.

      Listened to the SciFri piece at noon. I like both "Bowie" and "George," my dad and brother's name, for Planet 9.

  6. New post on "Adamant about Wit, Waters, (R) And Diamonds in Plate Tectonics Timing" is now up.

    Yes, hardness through time matters. . .