Sunday, July 30, 2017

Rocky Mountain National Park

Yesterday I traveled to the Rocky Mountain National Park to enjoy a hike.  The overall drive time was 5 hours, but my hiking time only amounted to 3 hours.  My typical measure of recreational efficiency is that I should spend as much time recreating as I do traveling.  Therefore, I need to arrive earlier next time and get in five hours of hiking (or drive to the park like a maniac).

The park was so full of tourists that no more cars were allowed in.  Therefore, I took a shuttle to a park-and-ride depot and then a second shuttle to the Bear Lake trail head.

Here is a map of the day's itinerary.

Bear Lake is a favorite of older tourists -- a maximum of scenery in an easy half mile walk around the lake on a well-maintained trail.

I then headed to Nymph Lake.  I saw no nymphs -- neither insects nor mythological deities.  But the lake itself was lovely.  Here is a section of the lake covered by pond lilies.

Next I walked about a mile to Hiayaha Lake.  My brochure said nothing about a treacherous field of boulders on the way to this lake.  Some of the boulders were the size of a car; others the size of
a washing machine.  I gingerly made my way over and around these obstacles and was rewarded with the sight of a splendid lake with emerald water.

I highly recommend a visit to this wonderful national park.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

At the Farmer's Market

A pleasant bike ride this morning led me to the farmer's market -- always a cheerful place.

Next to my bike rack was parked a Smart Car impersonating a Mercedes.  The owner was wearing the uniform of the old geezer who wants to be considered quite a character: a short-brimmed straw hat, a plaid shirt, suspenders, and high-water pants.  He apparently claims to be a tango dancer.  I have my doubts that he has successfully danced a tango this century.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Iowa in July

I drove to Iowa to visit my Dad and other family members.  In addition to paying a call on relatives, I found a few idle hours one afternoon to see exhibits at the Figge Art Museum.

My favorite artwork was a back-lit stained glass scene by Louis Comfort Tiffany, son of the founder of the famous company (as in Breakfast at Tiffany's).  The plaque read:

Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933)
River of Life Window, circa 1905.
Favrile [i.e., handmade] glass, copper foil, lead

I liked this painting of the Grand Canyon by William Robinson Leigh (1866 - 1955).  The painting is oil on canvas mounted on panel, but looks rather like a pastel effect.

What Iowa art museum could be without a Grant Wood painting?

The plaque read:

Grant Wood (1891 - 1942)
Iowa Cornfield, 1941
Oil on Masonite

The Figge Art Museum also has the iconic Persephone brooch worn by the daughter in Grant Woods's American Gothic picture.  Hot stuff!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Nature, Art, and Chicken Salad

Today was full of my favorite things: nature, art, and food.  Mundane things, I admit, but pleasurable.

I bicycled to the farmers' market to buy lettuce and a cucumber.  The morning breeze was cool and refreshing on the trail.  Birds were singing in the trees.

I arrived at the farmers' market, locked my trusty Lemond, and sauntered down the row of booths to my usual produce seller.  The red lettuce was especially beautiful today.

I biked back home and immediately jumped in the car, drove to the nearby light rail station, and took the light rail downtown.  Objective: the free Denver Art Museum (DAM) exhibits.  Today the DAM was partnering with the adjacent Clifford Still Museum.  After a quick stroll past the DAM exhibits, I betook myself next door to see the Clifford Still (1904-1980) paintings.

While I confess that I am mostly blind to the merits of Mr. Still's abstract expressionism -- I favor art that retains some tie to nature -- some of the paintings were striking in their contrasts of color and composition.  His later paintings were behemoths taking up an entire wall.  Here are the two that I found most interesting (or perhaps I should say least deranged and bewildering).

This second painting was involved in a notorious 2012 arrest.  From the Denver Post article:

A 36-year-old Denver woman, apparently drunk, leaned against an iconic Clyfford Still painting worth more than $30 million last week, punched it, slid down it and urinated on herself, according to a criminal case against Carmen Lucette Tisch.
“It doesn’t appear she urinated on the painting or that the urine damaged it, so she’s not being charged with that,” said Lynn Kimbrough, a spokeswoman for the Denver District Attorney’s Office, said Wednesday.
“You have to wonder where her friends were.”
Tisch is being charged with criminal mischief in the incident that happened at the Clyfford Still Museum at 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 29.
Damage to the painting — “1957-J-No. 2.” — is estimated at $10,000.
The painting, which is nearly 9 1/2 feet tall and 13 feet wide, is estimated between $30 million and $40 million by the museum.
I can sympathize with the unfortunate Ms. Tisch.  My own emotion reaction to the painting was roughly similar, but I restrained myself from resorting to either violence or urine.

I walked to the light rail station, my mind still agitated by the angry splashes of color on the Clifford Still paintings.  I boarded the light rail and settled into my seat in hopes of a relaxing ride.

The light rail rolled past the Denver ComicCon crowds.  Their costumes ranged from charming to wacky to disturbing.  On the charming side: I saw a fetching middle-aged Princess Leia, complete with white gown and macaroon hairstyle.  On the wacky side: I leaned toward the light rail window and snapped a shot of two ladies with colorful hair.  On the disturbing side: there were several young people riding the light rail who were disfigured with large and garish tattoos.  However, these pitiable people may not have had anything to do with ComicCon.

Here are the wacky girls:

I reached my destination station, detrained, walked to my car, and drove to The Bagel Deli for an excellent chicken salad sandwich.

All in all, what kind of day could be more satisfying to an Iowa boy in the big city?