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      Close to Heaven… Down to Earth


Pass Creek Road

Pass Creek Road is a hidden gem in western Huerfano County. It crosses the Sierra
Blanca ridge from Costilla County in the south to the Upper Huerfano River Valley
in the north. Along the way it passes through a simply beautiful countryside with
some very interesting geology.

The mountains to the west of Pass Creek are old, about 1.7 billion years old, part
of the Colorado Orogeny upthrust that put Mt. Blanca, California Peak, the Front
Range, and most of the Wet Mountains in place. The mountains to the east of Pass
Creek are young, about 25 million years old, all part of the igneous intrusion that
we call Mt. Mestas, Silver Mountain, Rough Mountain, and the Sheep Mountains. This
area was once part of the Grayback Mining District, with most of the activity going
on in the mountains to the west.

Riding through here is actually riding along one of the fault lines that formed
the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The road crosses back and forth through upthrust
plates of Dakota sandstone and in between vertical granite walls. The Dakota sandstone
testifies to the upward thrusting of the ground: this was horizontal sandstone (ocean
bottom) until it was turned up by action along the fault line. The vertical granite
walls testify to the flow of molten magma in the cracks in the ground caused by
the action along the fault line. Of course, all this activity happened 25 or so
million years or more ago. And what we have now…