Finally, Some VR Panoramas of Colorado

(January 20, 2008)

Virtual Guidebook to the Colorado Rockies

I am based in Berkeley, California, and there are practical limits to how well I can cover the huge area encompassed by the Virtual Guidebooks. Colorado is right out on the edge, an 18 hour drive from the Bay Area to Denver. Also, being mountainous, many areas are best visited only in the summer (unless I start doing ski resorts and snowshoe routes).

In May 2006 I drove across the San Juan Mountains, through Ouray and Silverton. Too early in the year for the high altitudes - I will have to go back in mid-summer.

In the summer of 2007 I made a special effort to photograph the Colorado Rockies. My initial itinerary, to include Wyoming, the Dakotas, and the high plains, was just too much driving for the time available. So I decided to concentrate on the central Rockies, plus two days in Denver. Even that didn't work out - bad weather and forest fires - so I never made it to Rocky Mountain National Park, or to Denver.

I really had only one day in the central Rockies, so I made a loop over Loveland Pass to Leadville, then across the headwaters of the Arkansas River to Independence Pass. Then I had to start home. Maybe next summer...

Virtual Guidebook to Western Colorado

Many people are unaware of how much of Colorado is desert, some of it the sort of red rock country we associate with Utah. It is closer to my home base than the Rockies, and the weather is better, so I now have pretty good coverage, including the Harpers Corner Road in the eastern part of Dinosaur National Monument, the upper Yampa River, Colorado National Monument, the high country of Grand Mesa, the Land O'Lakes on the south side of the mesa, and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River.

In 2006 I spent a day down in the Four Corners area investigating the scattered sites of Hovenweep National Monument (Hovenweep's main site and the monument headquarters are across the state line in Utah).

Some of my earliest digital photography was done at Mesa Verde National Park in May 2000. It is a fabulous place to do VR panoramas, but problematic. There are crowds of people, and most of the ruins can only be toured as part of a group. Doing VR with a crowd of 70 people is just about impossible, the panos end up being about the people, not the ruins. The only way to do it right is to hire an off-duty ranger to give you a personal tour - I may try that some day.

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