Monday, June 24, 2019

Back home from Spain, kicking out kinks in Highwoods

Shelly Liknes and Katie Kotynski on way up Windy Point peak 
Trip leader Gordon Whirry atop the peak

A trip highlight:  Fields of colorful larkspur

Crossing Briggs Creek 
We have returned from a two and a half week trip to Spain and celebrated our return to the Rockies with a Wayne's Walk in the Highwood Mountains led by Gordon Whirry;  the Windy Point-Briggs Creek circuit, an 8-mile walk that gains and loses about 1,700 feet.
The highlight of the trip was a first ascent of Windy Point for several members of our group.  It is an easy scramble up a lacolith outcropping to the top of this small peak. 
Otherwide, flowers, particularly bright blue larkspur in abundance lit up the hillsides.
The day began in overcast that cleared, delivering a brilliant, clear day.
We were all surprised at the progress beavers are making at the Briggs Creek trailhead which they have been damming for several years following a big flood at the Thain Creek campground.  There are at least four major ponds formed.  There is moose sign in the area now.  This is exciting.
I was excited to get back to my beloved Montana Rockies after the trip to Spain.
There, we drove through the various coastal ranges north of the Mediterranean, including the Sierra Nevada.  We were impressed with the mountains that rise so abruptly from the sea on Majorca and the mountains that form a national park south of Seville.
Despite the gorgeous sea and mountain scenery the architecture of this country impressed me, and how architecture can add dynamism to a country.  The examples are the Gaudi buildings in Barcelona, particularly the Sagrada Familia cathedral that stunned me like no other building I've ever seen, and how Calatrava has brought Valencia to life with his garden, opera house and theater on the waterfront.  These follow the magnificent Gothic cathedrals like those on Majorca and Seville and the Al Alhambra, buildings that transformed former Muslim mosques into grand Roman Catholic churches, blending the best architecture of both religions.
Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona, Spain, under construction since the 1880s, with completion scheduled for 2022.  The most jaw-dropping architecture I've ever seen.

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