Landscape: Penitente Canyon, CO

Penitente, that way.One of the best parts about taking a road trip is that you get to stop at cool places along the way. Penitente Canyon was one such stopover on last weekend’s Utah-Colorado border crossing. Stopping at Penitente wasn’t entirely random; we went there to camp for the night ($5 per tent/truck site) and to climb the area’s rock slabs on the way to Colorado Springs.

The rock at Penitente is some sort of volcanic stuff (I’m no geologist) that rounds beautifully against the deep blue Colorado sky, and the climbing (nearly all sport) is of two basic types: balancy slab moves or pockets full of pleasure. After having been crack climbing at Indian Creek for over a month, my feet were thankful for the rest.

Penitente Slabs

One of the things that I will miss most about being back in civilization is watching the stars fill the night sky. In the desert, and at Penitente, I’d drink tea and watch for the first star until it got too cold to stand outside. Later in the night, I’d peek outside my tent to see how the scene would develop. In the Utah desert, and in other dirt-road-only parts of Colorado, it always seems to turn out beautifully.

First Star

Of course, being back in the Colorado landscape has its own pleasures: the mountains. Big fatty snowy jagged peaks. I watched the Sangre de Cristo range grow on the horizon as we drove towards La Veta (the next night’s stop).

Big Fat Snowy Mountains, yeah.

Even though I have not had a permanent address for four years, I saw those snowy peaks and thought: this—yeah, this—is home.


One response to “Landscape: Penitente Canyon, CO

  1. Yes, the Sangre de Cristos are home to me too. If you need a place to crash and write or revive someday – come.
    Jay’s mom

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