High plains drifter

For a spring fix ― and some peace ― head out to the prairie


Spring daubs the prairie green and gold.

Gaylon Wampler

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Southeastern Colorado's plains are America's steppes, a land with a rich history and oceans of windswept grass. Spring weather can be iffy here, but on a sunny May day the plains near La Junta stretch bright green ― with splashes of yellow prairie sunflowers ― to the horizon, where herds of antelope graze.

La Junta is a classic farming town, with silos, a working train depot, and a downtown that looks as it did when the Big Band Era was in full swing. The town's biggest surprise is the Koshare Indian Museum (10-5 Tue and Thu-Sun, 10-9 Mon and Wed; $4; 115 W. 18th St.; 719/384-4411).

Inside the pueblo-style building, you'll see basketry, katsinas, and a replica kiva (a ceremonial chamber). But the museum's real riches are a collection of iconic Southwestern art, including San Ildefonso pottery by Maria Martinez and paintings by Taos Society of Artists giants like Oscar Berninghaus and Ernest Blumenschein.



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