Hiking + Walking

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Greetings from yesterday’s hike at Castlewood Canyon! We met a former coworker of Greg’s, along with his wife and two adorable pooches. The wind was wild and woolly up top, but down in the canyon, it was cooler and only mildly breezy, thank goodness. With gratitude to recent rain and snow, it’s looking quite verdant for these parts. The babble of water was a pleasant addition to the tree breezes and dart of hummingbird sound track.

I haven’t a clue what these tiny flowers are, but there was a profusion of them dotting the trail, smelling rather exquisite.

Pike’s Peak! How I love seeing it from different angles and distances. In Arvada, atop the hill on Wadsworth, some seventy miles as the crow flies, it looks equally lovely, and a reminder of home while visiting my parents. It’s funny how I have no memory of it as a young person on my every day route to high school. How curious what grabs our attention at different ages.

Alan gives Seurat a view above the oaks. It was very much appreciated!

Emily and Alan were our most stellar company! They also endeared themselves to me by loving the green chile (updated recipe here) and prickly pear margaritas (scroll for recipe here) I made for our picnic lunch. Woot!

The hike was the cherry on top of an action packed four days. On Friday, my Aunt Mari and cousins (Stephanie and Stella) came for a visit before a trip to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (recently voted #3 in the nation, I think). I am not a zoo person, but am happy to fill people with food on their way. We shared a fun meal of mac and cheese and fine conversation.

Saturday brought Michael and Mary for one of our epic sleepovers. We indulged with pizza (the wood-fired oven is doing swell!), a nectarine and rhubarb cream pie (no photo, wah!), a riff on a famous Chimayo Cocktail, puzzling (a 500 and a 1000!), jewelry making (three bracelets by myself and Mary), dog walking, espresso sipping, and of course, the lovely company of two of our besties!

They also spoiled us with a new pan for the wood fired oven, a cool homemade smock for yours truly, and a very fine loaf of homemade rye bread, which we are still enjoying, slice by glorious slice.

We are full up on love, excellent company, and wonderful food. Yes, ma’am!

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Rolling along Highway 50 and the Arkansas, gazing westward toward the Collegiate Peaks. With soaring granite walls and the steady rush of the river, this drive is one of our favorite excursions, putting Colorado’s full glory on display: sun, stone, water, sky!

In the awe of people doing what they truly love category: despite what I imagine to be rather frigid temperatures, we spied many a fisher in chest waders out on the water.

Wet Mountains

The sky put on quite the light show as we headed south!

The Mellow Moon was our cozy landing spot, an easy walk to delicious eats at Raisin’ Rye (cinnamon roll, jalapeno & sausage kolache, almond croissant!!), Three Barrel Brewing (Firecracker Pizza, honey kolsch!!), and Chavolos Mexican (carnitas, chile relleno!!). Oh, and a giant-wonderful jar of honey and a bar of bee pollen soap at Haefelis!

It was an equally easy amble from the Mellow Moon to the Rio Grande and all the small town charm. Some large beast, a deer or elk, we guessed, left ample evidence of a hearty roll in the snow. Juniper could not help but to follow suit!

Horizontal snow…

Our trip on Friday was a leisurely three hours, including a stop in Canon City for Indian food at Nirvana and another for marijuana treats in Salida. We are very infrequent flyers and found ourselves agog at the choices! Greg got some Bliss Drops to, as the kindly salesperson put it, have the the equivalent of “three glasses of wine without needing to pee!” I chose Wyld Peach gummies for my annoying migraines. As luck (???) would have it, I did get a migraine while in Del Norte. I could not have been happier. I suffered no headache pain. Woot!

Sunday started as a rather gorgeous, snow coated morning. We made no tracks to rush while still getting on the road at nine. After breakfast in Alamosa (nothing remarkable, sadly), the skies turned, and we inched along in whiteout conditions up and over La Veta Pass (La Veta Loca, as the hubster put it), adding two hours to our normal trip length. Luckily it was beautiful, and there was only one jerk on the road, so it was all good in the end. Life as it should be.

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After months without any real moisture, we’ve had a few stellar storms, yesterdays’ resembling a perfectly pretty snow globe and my very, very favorite, Juniper’s too, I think. Once again, I am delighted at snow’s magical effect on her, bringing out her puppy essence, willing her to run and jump and spin.

Hoping you are happy and healthy and well in these wild and crazy times…

It is said that if you want wildlife to visit a garden, just add water, as it attracts more critters than food. I’m not sure about our numbers, but I will say that we get a lot of activity, with this adorable female Lesser Goldfinch enjoying our hospitality on the regular. We are happy to oblige.

Early last Saturday morning, driving for a waterside hike.

I cannot be certain, but I do believe this butterfly flitted in our wake for the whole of the hike.

Mr. Silly helps me find just the right angle. This cast too much shade on his handsome face.

Happiness!

white evening primrose

These currants were beautiful and delicious!

Post hike cinnamon roll at The Pantry. It did not disappoint!

What a treat to rise early, hike for a couple hours, eat a hearty breakfast AND a cinnamon roll, and be home by NOON. The height, peeps, the height!

porch life…

mountain shadows

Saving the best for last. Do you like shrimp and grits but despair at having an even distribution of flavor? I am known to cut shrimp into itty bits so every bite is just so. A hassle, to be sure, but, like most things, worth it in the end. That is until I encountered Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock’s Shrimp Grits. The shrimp is cooked in heaps of butter then whirled into oblivion in a food processor before being mixed into already cooked grits. They “get to know each other” for five minutes or so before everyone at the table does their best to contain ecstatic outbursts at each and every bite. Yes ma’am, exactly. Just try it!

Juniper’s first outing with her socks was a partial success. She walks funny in them, and they don’t stay on terribly well, but they did keep the ice from her toes. You will not be surprised to learn that we are buying her shoes to remedy this. They are not pink, thank goodness. Photos forthwith!!

Happy Halloween!

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