Florissant Fossil Beds

Many of the places I planned to visit in Colorado Springs are closed on Mondays so I decided to knock out the two scenic roads west and south of town.  I headed west on Route 24, which was how I came in to town from Breckenridge on Sunday.

I turned south on Route 1 when I got to the town of Florissant.  First stop was the Pikes Peak Historical Society Museum, located just off the highway.  They had displays of many types of things but what I found most interesting were the gems and fossils found in the area.

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This is a 4 foot long, 439 pound piece of Smoky Quartz Crystal.  It is the largest such specimen unearthed in North America.  It was found near a hill which I could see by looking out the window next to where it was on display.

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This is another piece of Smoky Quartz Crystal found by the same man.  It is just over 4 feet long and weighs 345 pounds.  Both specimens are thought to be over a billion years old!

Next were the fossil samples:

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Two bird feathers:

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Some redwood foliage:

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And finally, two teeth from a Columbia Mammoth

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They were each a little bit smaller than a football.

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Further on down the road I stopped at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.  This is where I was when the eclipse reached it’s peak at 1147am local time.

I borrowed a pair of safety glasses from someone and took a picture with my cell phone (in selfie mode) with the glasses covering the lens.  This was taken in the parking lot at 1113am.

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They had some telescopes set up behind the Visitor Center and one projected the image of what it was looking at on a white sheet.  It wasn’t quite centered on the sun, but still shows what was happening.  This was taken at 1139am, 8 minutes before peak.  We were in an area which was to experience 91% totality.

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