small beauties: rocks, plants, & a forbidden staircase

[ The Arkansas River, grey under grey skies, fills most of the shot. Beyond the rippled water, rocks secure the bank, then above them rise trees still denuded from winter. ]

One of my favorite things about going to Salida is the river. There’s the park, with its paths & picnic tables; there’s the rocks lining the river, set just right to clamber down & soak one’s feet. There’s the water itself, never warm, sometimes just cool enough to be refreshing, sometimes snowmelt, bitterly cold. Multitudes of ducks, squirrels, tiny songbirds, and scurrying-under-rocks rodents live there. Visitors include dogs, humans, & cats, not all of whom are mine; seeing another leashcat is always a joy. & those rocks lining the river? Boulders, apparently gathered from a number of places, given the variety in color, grain, & inclusions. There’s always a lot going on, & it’s always a pleasure to visit.

Behold, a good rock:

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[ It’s a pretty close view, close enough to clearly see the size of the grains making up this lovely rock. Most of it is fine-grained, lighter rock banded with closely-laid dark streaks, but a rounded section in the middle consists of larger, squared off grains, some clear, some pale white, some a medium grey. ]

This is a metamorphic rock, changed by heat & pressure deep under the earth until the thin light-and-dark layers formed. The area with larger crystals? A quartz inclusion; quartz is far more resistant to the heat & pressure that crushed the rock until the rest of the minerals squeezed into the thin layers. (If you want to read more about this process, here’s a nice overview; it’s been long enough since college that I badly needed the refresher, myself.)

Next, a plant!

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[ It’s got a bunch of crinkly grey-green leaves growing outward from a central point that’s right at the ground. The rib down the middle of each leaf is kinda reddish. Some of the smaller leaves in the center are crinkled up enough to show their back sides, which are a very pale green. ]

… look it’s a plant, yeah I did study plants as part of my bachelor’s but really I’m a rock dude. It does look vaguely like kale? I don’t know?

& lastly, the FORBIDDEN STAIRCASE *cue dramatic music*

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[ A curving, rough staircase made from broad, flat boulders leads up from the path; it is blocked by a white and orange wooden barrier. Loiosh, an orange tabby wearing a green harness and dragging a green leash, is, of course, on the other side of the barrier, standing on the first step. ]

(Turned out it was actually the rest of the path that was, hypothetically, closed, but someone had moved the barrier out of the way so they could take the path anyway)

(& like nothing was wrong with the path EITHER, idk, we walked the whole thing & it was fine)

(so forbidden actually nothing, i GUESS)

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