The heat from the molten sills altered the soft and friable country rock the already-in-place Mancos shales by hardening them through a process called contact metamorphism. This was relatively weak, low-level metamorphic activity, and fossils that can be easily seen throughout the Mancos shale were not totally destroyed and are still recognized in the new slatelike rock that the metamorphism produced. A more vigorous metamorphism would have altered beyond recognition any and all fossil evidence.
While climbing Hesperus Mountain, one sees substantial evidence of this slaty material. It makes up the dark bands in contrast to the lighter-colored, more erosion-resistant trachytes described by Holmes in the Annual Report. The dust is the weathered remnants of the fine-grained, nearly black slate.
The layering of the slate and the trachyte creates an intricate pattern of interbedding and makes the climb up Hesperus a series of cliffs and slopes, cliffs and slopes. When Holmes did the drawing, this area was less wooded and the trees that did exist were smaller. There is little human occupancy in the La Plata Mountains—they are just too rugged and difficult to settle.
Moss was the prime mover in getting outside investment for the large, thirty-six-square-mile mining district he established. Moss convinced a California mining investor named Tiburcio Parrott to back the development of the Parrott mining district. The town at the center of the district and the mountain just a mile and a half west of the town were both named after Parrott. Today few if any structures remain of Parrott City or of the more lucrative and well-established camps of La Plata and Mayday.
There was no productive mining activity near Hesperus Mountain, but the La Plata River Valley produced small amounts of gold, silver, and several other valuable metals. The veins where the native ores and the tellurides were found were emplaced by massive hydrothermal activity during the volcanic injections that created the famous banding seen in the mountains. These were the same intrusions that produced the doming and uplift of the entire La Plata Range. The mining that occurred was on land that by the Brunot Treaty ratified by Congress in was ceded from the several Ute bands to the US government.
There is no question that the Utes used the La Plata, at least for hunting purposes. And it is obvious that the Navajo viewed the area as part of their traditional lands. But there is little evidence that the Anasazi of the Mesa Verde area or the more ancient Paleo-Indians used this region. Some Paleo-Indian artifacts almost exclusively projectile points have been found in places surrounding the La Plata Mountains, but as of today no Paleo-Indian artifacts have been recovered near Hesperus Mountain.
The panorama shows almost an intimate view of the small La Plata Range.
The ever-winding roadway meanders through perhaps the most beautiful and scenic parts of the lower Appalachians, carving a snaking path through much of southern Virginia and western North Carolina as it trickles silently through the melancholy wilderness. From Asheville we were able to take a small detour from the monotony of the efficient tediousness of the Interstate system to check out some nature along our way to Virginia. It being the summer on this occasion, we were treated to the former, the branches of the trees above weaving an elaborate emerald canopy, shadowing the meandering pavement, punctuated by dramatic bursts of light that cascaded down from the heavens.
As we traversed the swaying path, I noticed we were climbing in elevation, as the sleepy towns that peppered the landscape below—visible only from the stretches of ridgeway that sporadically occurred between canopies—began to shrink and dwindle, until they looked like drops of white or black paint on a vast canvas of green. The air began to cool as well, and as the crown of leaves thinned out as we ascended, the azure sky seeped in, bathing the surrounding woodland in dazzling light.
This sort of thing happens frequently throughout the course of the Parkway, as it swirls both up and down the slopes of lower Appalachia, offering breathtaking vistas and a glimpse into upper mountain wildlife. In the autumn, the transition between the full, vibrant deciduous forests to bare trunks and jade-adorned conifers is a remarkable one, as most of the trees on the upper roadways have already lost their leaves due to the higher altitude and chillier temperatures.
However, this loss of vivid color is not necessarily representative of any loss of beauty, as the lack of these leaves allows for plunging panoramas into the deep wilderness around you, and endless sea of moist earth and towering trees clawing at the sky above. I have only experienced the parkway in autumn on two occasions, the most recent being this past fall 1 , when two friends and I drove up from New Orleans to attend an annual music festival held in Asheville called Moogfest.
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Moogfest was named for Robert Moog, electronic music pioneer and inventor of the portable synthesizer. Moog Music, which found its new home and headquarters in Asheville not too long ago, was originally started in the s when Moog was building theremins in New York. He was approached by a musici scientist to help construct a modulator that could create sound using the manipulation of electronic feedback waves.
Long story short, the synthesizer was born. Moog is responsible for the popularization of the synthesizer, which was condensed from a towering, one-ton machine into something much more manageable, resembling something more like a keyboard with a switchboard attached to it. Nowadays, synthesizers come in all shapes and sizes, and Moog is still the most popular brand.
All of their products are hand-made and rigourously tested at the facility, located just north of downtown. Not whatever fall is previous to the whatever time this is being read. Unless you can time travel Not only can you tour the factory for free tours daily Mon-Fri at 10AM and PM — which is fun and super-informative — but they have a killer shop too, where you can buy gifts, souvenirs, records, instruments, PLUS you can play all the synthesizers they currently offer, AND the staff will give you a crash course if you need one!
Anyway, we got to Asheville the night before the festival began, so we had all the next day to explore the city and its surrounding natural beauty before the festival began that night. One of my friends had previously experienced the BRP on a number of occasions, yet the other had never seen it, so we decided to take a long leisurely drive up to Mt. Mitchell, one of the more stated peaks along the road.
At the end of October, the parkway is alive with color, melting together vivacious oranges and yellows with lingering greens that paint the roadside forests with dazzling beauty.
All in all, the album is perfect for such a drive, as the dreamy melodies, relaxed tempos and spectral instrumentation mimic the colorful landscape and swooping nature of the twisting road. Our collective appreciation of both the natural surrounding and the music itself propelled my little grey Ford Focus through a trance-like odyssey through the mountain forest, autumn winds licking at our faces as we held our arms out of the window in a futile attempt to grasp the perfectness of the moment. It is one of my most favorite things about music in general, because everyone has a different relationship with it, yet we can often find common ground on which to stand and find a shared sense of appreciation.
Since we all listen to different kinds of music, it can be difficult sometimes to really find such a moment as I have just described with my two friends, yet music plays a very important role in my relationships with my friends. Pretty much all of my friends are music geeks like me, so it really does bring us together, adding to the magic of it all. There are moments, however, in which I relish the opportunity to find my own bliss in music—and in nature—and such opportunities often hold the same amount of significance for me, if not more.
Such an experience happened on this very same road, two years before the Moogfest trip; the only other time I have been on the Blue Ridge Parkway in autumn. Yes, I traveled the entire eleven hours through six states to see him.
I know this may sound a bit extreme; driving such a formidable distance just to see one concert, so let me defend myself, three-fold:. First of all, it allowed me to see my friend Jamie, who lives in Columbia, South Carolina, a friend who I normally only get to see on holidays in Connecticut, despite his relative proximity to my current city of residence 4 , so that was a plus. Second, I was planning on seeing Mr.
Stevens in Atlanta the night before he played in Asheville; unfortunately, the show sold-out so I had no other option other than driving the extra mile or extra miles, I should say to see him, since many artists seem to be neglecting New Orleans as a legitimate concert venue these days.
The third and final reason was that I was given the rare and privileged opportunity of driving through the breathtakingly picturesque landscape that surrounds the little mountain paradise of Asheville. But he lives in Massachusetts now. Unfortunately, as I left New Orleans on my journey to North Carolina, I realized the unthinkable had happened: my iPod had suffered an irreparable demise. This may not seem as such a big deal to those of you who are used to driving eleven hours without the liberty to choose one's own music if you are out there My first stop was Columbia, a daunting eleven-hour journey through perhaps some of the most visually unimpressive scenery in the country, and thus I was forced to listen to the radio thankfully, it was satellite radio, so I got to listen to a plethora of tailor-made, commercial-free stations, so that was a plus.
By the time I was halfway between Columbia and Asheville the next day, I had made up my mind.
The layering of the slate and the trachyte creates an intricate pattern of interbedding and makes the climb up Hesperus a series of cliffs and slopes, cliffs and slopes. Perfect video, thank you Karel Hofmann, Czech Republic. Formerly, the entire mountain was within the Duchy of Savoy. It is The Bird who finally breaks, not Louie. On the Road by: Jack Kerouac.
No longer would I willingly suffer at the mercy of the random selection of songs provided by various radio DJs. It was time to take some action. Since my iPod was out of commission, I was faced with the harsh reality of making At least blank CDs are a lot cheaper than I remember.
I was definitely thankful for this realization. I decided the most productive thing to do between my arrival and the show besides watching some preachy Hilary Swank movie on MTV or getting drunk at a bar was to make some mix CDs for my ride back.