Large (Wikimedia)

Edward Moran’s ethereally beautiful The Valley in the Sea, which he painted in 1862, is (as the title suggests) a landscape of a very unusual sort.

Full of beautiful little details, The Valley in the Sea depicts the floor of the ocean in eerie jewel tones reminiscent of nothing so much as Max Ernst’s Napoleon in the Wilderness.

While it isn’t surprising that—what with the 19th-century taste for dramatic landscapes in exotic locales—someone hit on the idea of depicting the ocean floor, the Indianapolis Museum of Art makes the intriguing suggestion that “Moran may have been inspired by underwater exploration related to the laying of the first successful telegraph cable in 1858.”


If it’s solitude you’re looking for… head to Castle Peak Wilderness Study Area in Eagle County, Colorado. It’s only 8 miles north of the town of Eagle, and not far from more popular destinations like Vail and Breckenridge.  But unlike these mountain meccas, Castle Peak offers 11,631 acres of primitive backcountry and unconfined landscapes to enjoy away from the hustle of everyday life.

Hike up the mountain, which reaches 11,275 feet at its peak, or find a place to camp or fish along the trails. The springs and small lakes within the wilderness study area support aquatic habitats and native trout.

Because this special area is a serene location where you can feel close to nature, please make sure you observe leave no trace ethics to keep it this way for future visitors. CLICK HERE to plan your #mypubliclandsroadtrip to Castle Peak.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM