My various adventures of a "Going Outside and Doing Things" nature, mostly in the great outdoors of Colorado. Hiking, playing with the dogs, rock hunting, abandoned houses, gardening... and probably more!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

January 26, 2013 - Red Rocks, Morrison Cemetery, Mt. Vernon Cemetery

Colorado is in the middle of one of its mid-winter warm spells. Most years we get a week or two of really pleasant weather, in the upper 50s to low 70s, where it's actually nice enough that you might want to go out and do something! Sadly, I know this period won't last, but it was nice to enjoy it while we could.

A couple days ago, we'd decided to try and find a historic cemetery in the area, the Mt. Vernon cemetery. Unfortunately, the directions we got were next to useless, and we wound up completely missing it. We drove around a bunch, including a trip almost half an hour or so too far north, and never wound up at the cemetery. It was a rather pretty drive up through the foothills, but was still somewhat disappointing. But I took at least two nice pictures:

A view of the mountains.

Wind turbines!

Today we decided we'd try again to find the cemetery, with some better directions and a much more careful look at a map. We also realized that there was a second cemetery, the Morrison Cemetery, nearby. So we set out to visit that one first, which also takes you through part of Red Rocks park. Red Rocks is also a pretty famous concert venue, but outside of the amphitheater, it's still a really gorgeous area with some pretty nice trails to walk or bike on. The geology is amazing!

After driving in a little ways, we decided to stop and take a look around before continuing up to the cemetery. You don't really get to see how amazing the rocks are until you're in the park and driving through.

The rocks are really stripey!

One of my favorite pictures from the day, I think.

As we continued walking, we realized we could see the cemetery at the top of a nearby hill.

I'm not sure what this is... big metal... thing.

We saw a lot of jays around. Mostly scrub jays like this guy, though a couple Steller's as well.

Another scrub jay. I really want a nice picture of a Steller's jay, because they're awesome!
I was originally thinking these guys were pinon jays, but they look more like scrub jays, I think.

I really like these rocks.

Brave little trees, clinging to spots in the rocks. And some snow there, still.

After this, we finally were approaching the cemetery... to find a big no trespassing sign, with a warning about penalties for desecrating a place of burial. I'm sure they unfortunately wind up with a lot of vandalism up here, since Red Rocks is such a popular venue. We went up to the cemetery anyway, but didn't stay for very long. (Obviously, we weren't doing anything damaging, but still.)

There is quite a view from up there!

Cemetery gate.

The Rooneys are a famous and influential family in the area.
Though now I wonder... is Evelyn still alive? Was she buried somewhere else?

This one is pretty old, and a neat design. It's for Edna Bell Rooney
and the center is shaped like a bell. The dates are 1898 - 1915.

This one also has an image of Rooney Ranch from 1860.
You can still see the ranch from nearby Dinosaur Ridge.

I wish I could have gotten a closer look at some more
of these headstones, but we decided we should go.

I know that Morrison has a pretty active historical society; I may try to contact them at some point and see if they could give us permission to come up here legitimately to look around.

After this we walked back, and decided to continue on to the original cemetery we'd been looking for, the Mt. Vernon cemetery.

It turns out that we had passed the correct road for it yesterday; it's just not marked. It's also the entrance to a county open space park, which was not mentioned at all in connection with the cemetery. Seems like that would be a useful piece of information to share! And the park itself, while mentioning that it's the historic town site of Mt. Vernon, doesn't mention the cemetery.

Mount Vernon was a town that in the mid 1800s had set itself up to be the "gateway to the Rockies," with the roads into the mountains all toll roads. It prospered for a while, but as other small towns grew nearby, it eventually failed. A much longer history can be found here.

A nice little creek.

Soaring hawk.

Another impressive view.

Although the park doesn't mention the cemetery, it was easy to find, as it's not far off the trail, and has a fence around it.

I like this picture a lot, too.

There are actually two fenced portions; one with the single cross-shaped marker, and another slightly larger area with five markers in it. I'm sure there are more graves than that, but they've likely been lost due to weathering. Most of the markers are wood, so it's impressive that there are any still in place. (Though I'm not 100% sure those are the originals, they don't seem to be especially modern.)

One of the stones, obviously repaired. It reads that he died on
September 8, 1867, age 21 years, 8 months, and 15 days.

A wooden marker.

Another wooden marker.

The third wooden one, plus the second stone.

The other stone. The closest I can guess is the date is in 1860, but it's hard to read.

The cross.

While the park had a couple little signs that mentioned Mt. Vernon as a town, and the entrance to the park also says it's the "Mt. Vernon Historical Site," it's a shame there isn't more information given about it. It'd be interesting to know where specific buildings were, even if there's nothing left now. Though I do wonder if there are foundations around (it looked like there might have been a few visible from the road) that just aren't marked. Looking up information seemed to say there are two private residences that are buildings from the town, but I'm not certain of that.

Anyway, both of these sites (and the rest of Red Rocks) were really interesting places to visit, and I'm glad we had the opportunity to!