Colorado

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I see, Rob. I see Rob.

Old pals.

Up early and and late, late, late. A delinquent blog poster. Yup. This was our super fun Saturday the 11th. Fluid day it was, waking to blue bird skies and thinking we would embark on a mountain view filled hike near Boulder, Juniper bedecked in a brand new backpack of her own. Sadly, the northern latitudes had ideas of their own, with a Portland style low ceiling of clouds, so much so that even the Flatirons were obscured from view. So we tramped around with the masses on the Pearl Street Mall instead and enjoyed some of the best tacos ever, at, wait for it – T/ACO. Mushroom, barbacoa, pork belly, and carnitas, oh my!

Juniper was a champion crowd doggie, wanting to make friends with everyone who made eye contact, human and canine alike, sniffing her heart out along Boulder Creek before heading to our next destination, my dear friend Rob’s fine photography on display at Bin 46 in Longmont (Go, go, go!). It was happy hour, and we acted appropriately, sipping a dry rose like it was summer, nibbling on some of the best burrata and wild trout spread. We enjoyed the art, of course, and best of all, the company, before wandering the streets of Longmont, decades since we had last and appreciating all of the changes. I must also add that we are now those people, on the patio on a chilly day so we can eat with our pooch. There are worse things.

p.s.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day and Happy Birthday to my Great Aunt Mary, who would have been 109 today!

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Sunday afternoon, the Denver Botanic Gardens, every living thing humming along happily at its peak. We breakfasted at my Grandpa’s (Hello!). I made smoked salmon (from Alaska!) benedict on super soft challah, roasted asparagus, and a fruit cup of last hurrah strawberries, plums, and Palisade peaches. I was smart enough to think ahead, concocting the richer than rich hollandaise (the hubster’s FAVORITE breakfast topping) the evening before, no stir, stir, stirring while mad with hunger after our hour-long drive north. To use Grandpa’s word, it was “delish.” He liked my apple jelly, too.

We met our friend Rob (fun shot!!) at the Gardens, our first meeting since arriving back, ambling and snapping photo after photo, falling into our usual and quite wonderful routine. Mostly of details, nature front and center, some man made delights, too, we hold no prejudices.

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Thirty-Six I

Thirty-six hours, that is, driving, hiking, soaking, exploring; me and the hubster, the hubster and me. Part one begins in Florissant, at the Fossil Beds National Monument. Did you know there were giant redwoods in Colorado a bajlllion (maybe a slight exaggeration) years ago? The above photo is two fine specimens fossilized by the mud flow of a serious volcanic eruption. By expert estimation, the trees were 230 feet tall and 500 – 700 years old. Jeepers. There are others, but they didn’t photograph terribly well. Sigh.

These flowers appear much, much smaller in person. T I N Y.

Abert Squirrel on the run!

Adeline Hornbek Homestead. A real go-getter, Adeline lost two husbands and two homes, but managed, at a time when women rarely owned property, to purchase 160 acres and successfully homestead. Impressive!

Look at the clouds.

Quite possibly my favorite mountain town.

Fuzzy!

These caterpillars will turn into Milkweed Tussock Moths

Emphasis is M I N E. View of the Sangre de Christos from our door at Joyful Journey Hot Springs. GO!

I added this photo, not because it is beautiful (definitely not), but for the story. When I peered out the window of our rented room to see if any stars were out, there was a GIANT Great Horned Owl perched on the dead branch of a tree. I hollered (excited-like, not mean-like) at the hubster that we should skeedaddle outside so he could enjoy it, and I could photograph it. The moment I raised my camera, it was off like a shot. Dinner was calling, apparently.

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Photos from a doubly grand Saturday. We rode our bikes downtown to pick up a new helmet (pink!) and light (old school headlamp!) for me, so I may ride in both safety and style. It’s my thing. I am love, love, loving being able to bike again. Pittsburgh, unless you live in a very specific part of town, is not an easy or desirable place to ride. Too many narrow streets with crazy-madcap hills, lunatic parked cars and equally maniacal drivers does not make for a positive experience. No siree. So we never replaced our Portland bikes. But now, boy howdy, whoop-ti-do, we are at it again, on wide boulevards, gentle hills, and our own bike lanes, and it is grand, just grand.

We followed our biking adventure with a hot afternoon hike in the Nature Conservancy Aiken Canyon. Long-time supporters, it is always a treat to visit the preserves, feeling our contributions help make it possible. We enjoyed spying the usual floral suspects, even eating some of the red skunk bush berries, which were oily and tart. We also wondered who spied upon us, as there was bobcat, wolf, and fox scat, quite a lot of it on the ground, and bird after bird singing their lively tunes. It was a heady windy day, and I decided, most affirmatively, that heaven is the scent of pine and cedar, whipping along in the air, on my hands, cone thrust under my nostrils with me lustily exclaiming, “That smell!” The best (next to the hubster’s cheek). Definitely.

Now it is storming, sheets of rain rippling in the wind to fill the streets, windows open to better hear the cracks of thunder. Another great day!

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I think, perhaps, one of the best things in this life is to rise early and walk or hike or bike, while the world is mostly still and mostly quiet, and the sun hasn’t yet reached its zenith, steam rising, plants dewy, the air redolent of pine and damp earth. This, of course, is made even better if one is accompanied by the dearest of dear friends and kisses and hugs are exchanged, hands held, and exultations are made about beauty and luck and fine art (Patrick Dougherty) and wild scents on the breeze.

Follow this with a trip to the market, small batch jam making, strawberry and the best peach ever, the reading of books while enjoying the gentlest of window breezes, before an early bed-time, and you have, my dear peeps, the makings of a most perfect day. Yes, you do.

Oh, and Happy Birthday America!!

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