An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

October 12, 2014

Another Year Older in Salida

     Part of our trip this summer was spent in Salida, Colorado, a quirky town on the Arkansas river in the state's "banana belt". Once a railroad town, Salida now relies on tourism from outdoor enthusiasts, and is a mecca for cyclists, skiers, hikers, kayakers and rafters. My birthday happened to fall while we were there, and as a gift, Sherpa Girl B took me and my son whitewater rafting through Brown's Canyon. Though the water was alarmingly cold to this southerner, even with a wetsuit, the awesome scenery, and the need to paddle were more then enough of a distraction. For those less active times, Salida is flush with art galleries, uniques shops, restaurants, music venues, and places where really good beer is served. Outside of downtown we discovered Murdoch's, which had "everything for ranch and home". I also enjoyed stalking through some of the town's neighborhoods looking at local landscape choices. I am very glad Salida was part of our vacation.

The View from F Street (1)

Painted Tree by Curtis Killorn (2)

Riding the Ribbon, Bill Hudson

The View from F Street (4)

Wall Alligator (6)

Kayak Salida (3)

Imrie for HD 60 (1)

Wall Alligator and Roff Cow

Outside Tracks (1)

Salida Sky (2)


Stone Bridge, Arkansas River (1)

Stone Bridge, Arkansas River (5)

747 (1)

Swirl Porch

Windmill House (2)

Rooster House

Toy Drum House (1)

Pink and White House (2)

     My usual disclaimer is included in this post, in that I have received no compensation for the mention of any organization or business. Although, I would not refuse an XL Carhartt - Men's Sandstone Sierra Jacket/Sherpa Lined, that is if any organization or business was to send me one. If you would like to see my complete photo set from Salida, the link is here to my Flickr page


  1. Thanks for taking me for a walk around a part of the country I probably won't ever see in person.

    1. You are welcome, Loree. If you do find yourself in Colorado, you should pay a visit. It is not a very gardeny town, but I know you are multifaceted.

  2. Interesting what they do with paint there.

    1. Kathy, the link below will take you to a Huffington Post interview with the artist, and there is a slideshow embedded in the article showing more of his trees.

  3. I love the flowers in front of the blue house.

    1. Sweetbay, the flowers were actually planted next door, but that house was ugly, and the flowers looked better against the neighbor's blue house.

  4. Sounds like a great vacation! I haven't been to Colorado for a while. It's stunning, and your photos do it justice. You were brave to go white water rafting! Happy belated birthday!

    1. Beth, the only thing brave about the water, was enduring its temperature. We had an interesting boat, there was the guide, the three of us, and a Polish family, now living in Chicago. Only a couple of them spoke much English, but the mother of the family clearly told us she did not know how to swim. She was the brave one, or perhaps a little stupid.

  5. (I'm trying this again, hope it's not a duplicate...) Your post brings back fond memories of a long weekend I spent in Salida a few years ago for a Rock Garden Society meeting. The best I've attended yet. Our meeting hub was in a building right on the river and walk you show -- we ate dinner by the river and watched the rafters sliding by. Salida was our base for excursions into the mountains to see amazing alpines at 13 thousand feet. Great hikes and heights. Salida is indeed an interesting and quirky place. The drive to Salida from Denver is also quite beautiful. So I appreciate being able to revisit.
    And, coincidentally, I am heading to your neck of the woods this weekend to attend the VA Native Plant Society meeting. Field trips are planned to Great Dismal Swamp, Zunni Pine Barrens -- places I think you've written about and I'm excited I will finally see. And, of course, Norfolk BG is also on the list of attractions. We hope to see NBG on Thursday afternoon, assuming we don't get stuck in traffic from northern VA.

  6. Sarah, we have been to Colorado three times, and on each visit we got to see many wildflowers. I agree with you about the drive from Denver. So different from the flat Tidewater landscape. It sounds like you will have a great trip heading this way. I often kayak on the Blackwater River as flows past the Zuni Pine Barrens, such a unique landscape. I would tell you to look me up when you visit the gardens, but I am heading to Philly on Thursday to attend the Perennial Plant Conf. on Friday. Safe travels, and may the tunnel gods be with you.

  7. Seriously quirky homes! I imagine small towns like Salida are great fun to visit.
    Hope you get a nice jacket out of it. I've been drooling over a gorgeous pair of cowgirl boots on the Murdoch's site...
    My favorite picture is not of the town; its of the railroad tracks panorama. Beautiful.

  8. Beautiful photos. I enjoyed them very much, thank you!