LIfe at High Altitude in Colorado

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.

-Edward Abbey, naturalist and author (1927-1989)

Monday, September 29, 2014

News from Breckenridge, CO

Hello Friends!

Sunset at our home in Breckenridge

The month of September was very busy.
The last time I posted it was summer.
Now, our high altitude fall is nearly over. 
Each gust of wind sends orange and gold aspen leaves
drifting to the ground.
My gardens have gone to seed.
This morning, we woke to snow on the high peaks.
More snow is expected tonight.

early morning, Boreas Pass

I've been playing with my new camera, an Olympus E-M1 Micro 4/3.
My former DSLR is over 9 years old and technology has advanced.
There is much to learn!

blue sky, aspens, and mountains from downtown Breckenridge

Our Denver house sold.
We  moved  last week.
Now, we're unpacking in Breckenridge,
finding space for items we kept.
We gave most of our city furniture and belongings  
to family and friends.
We're happy to downsize and simplify.

Boreas Pass Road

Many of you left sustaining comments and have
subsequently inquired about the recuperation
of our friend, Barb S, from her bike accident.
She is feeling great, is back home, has resumed driving,
takes walks through town for exercise,
and expects to fly to the East coast for a wedding in October.
Her positive attitude and determination teach us valuable lessons.
Though her healing continues, she has regained her independence.
She's thankful for all your thoughts and prayers.

our water feature "stream" at our home in Breckenridge

Though I've sometimes been stressed and exhausted this past month,
I've tried not to fight the flow of life.

I have a couple questions for you:

How many soup ladles are enough?
Do I really need all these pots and pans when I don't even like to cook?

Until the next time...
(All photos Olympus E-M1)

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Learn Something New Every Day

taking a little blog break to play with a new camera
yes - I've finally made a decision on a micro 4/3
I hope my old brain is up to the learning curve

blue sky and clouds - Ten Mile Range, Breckenridge, CO

(comments closed)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

In an Instant

Our good friend, Barb S, had a terrible accident on Monday.
She fell hard off her bike.
She was unconscious for awhile.
Another bicyclist (whom she didn't know) dialed 911.
Barb called us from the ER.


When we got to the hospital, I was shocked to see her.
I had just hiked with her the end of last week.
She was happy and well, planning a trip later this week.
(Obviously, postponed.)
She has major facial bruising and abrasions,
broken collarbone, broken pelvis, and broken thumb.


At 77, Barb is a role model - a gutsy woman.
Widowed young, she moved alone,
far from her East Coast home,
to Breckenridge, CO.

She became involved with church and community.
She made many lasting friendships.
She worked tirelessly.
She found satisfaction in Nature and physical activity.


Life changes in an instant.
Barb lies in pain in a hospital bed.
A long recovery and rehabilitation are necessary.


Am I devastated by her accident?
Of course.

But, do I wish she'd live a more circumscribed life?
Definitely not!


Here is a poem that reminds me of my friend:

Landscapes of the Mind — Dawna Markova
I will not die an unlived life.
I will not live in fear
of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,
to make me less afraid,
more accessible;
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing,
a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance,
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.

and, this quote from Goethe:

The dangers of life are infinite, & safety is among them.

Do you worry about accidents?
Are you afraid constantly for yourself or for those you love?

What does it mean to live life fully?

Barb S, Me, and Helen after hike last week

(Photos taken at Vail, CO, and in my garden with iPhone 5)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Trails, Blooms, and Celebration

Time is precious as summer fades.
Each sunny day, I'm outdoors.

Pinnate Daisies along Burro Trail

I take a fast 5 mile trail walk early most mornings.
Yesterday, as I was nearing the halfway point,
my phone rang.
My husband warned me that a moose just crossed our property,
heading up a trail I often use when returning.

I call this the "Octopus Tree"

I keep my eyes open for bear and moose.
I'm also careful about boulders and rocks strewn on the trail,
trying to avoid falls.
Both my body and brain get a workout!

Barb S and Helen on Wheeler Trail

Last week, hiking toward the Wheeler Trail with friends,
we spotted Fringed Gentians.
The saying goes that when the Gentians bloom
the first snow will fall in 6 weeks.
Oh, no! (We pretended not to see them.)

Purple Monkshood and Yellow Senecio

Early this morning,
Bob and I hiked up the Burro Trail from our house.
(I wore a jacket and my hands were cold.)
We jumped across Lehman Creek, still running high. 

Pink Pinnate Daisy, Creamy Cow Parsnip, Yellow Senecio

Late summer wildflowers glow in the meadows.


The perennials at Ten Mile Station on the ski mountain show their colors.
There is a last burst of growth and bloom before frost. 

Bob walking ahead of me on the trail

Today Bob and I celebrate our 48th Wedding Anniversary.
We began "going steady" at age 15.
After college we married.
We raised our children near where we grew up in PA.
After they went off to college, we moved to CO.

Our daughter-in-law writes that our marriage is a testimony of
compromise
hard work
friendship
sacrifice
respect
and
love

I'd say that's about right.

It's good to have a friendship that's endured all these years.
We'll celebrate quietly at home.
We'll raise a toast to young love that remains steadfast.
We'll hope for another year.

(all photos iPhone 5, edited in Snapseed, Titlefx, and Waterlogue)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A High Altitude Summer - Breckenridge

We've had a cool summer at altitude.
It's exactly the kind of summer I like.
I don't do well with heat.


Rain over the past several weeks has kept forests,
mountain meadows, and my own gardens amply watered.
The air is scented with the smell of wildflowers and damp.


However, temperatures are inching toward freezing overnight.
It's not unusual to get a hard frost by mid-August.
Every summer, I hope freezing temperatures delay.

along the Riverwalk, Breckenridge

Since snow was still blanketing the yard into June,
my gardens are not fully blooming.
Perhaps some flowers will go back to sleep
before their time on stage.


We've been busy:
biking, hiking, gardening, spending time with friends and family.

Sam, 23 months, recently spent a week with us.


Each morning, in the tradition of our other grandchildren,
he checks to see if Waldo is still smiling.


Waldo never disappoints!

Wherever you are in the world,
I hope you find joy,
experience kindness,
give and receive love.

I've been asking some of my blog friends
about their experience with or knowledge of
mirrorless, macro 4/3 cameras.
If you use a mirrorless camera or know a blogger who does,
please contact me: writebreck@gmail.com.
Thank you.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Rewards of (Old) Age


Now that I'm 70,
I welcome life's slower pace.


Years of childrearing are behind me.
Grandchildren are enjoyed and then returned.
My love of family is pure, without expectation.


Each day, I seek periods of solitude.
I walk the trails.
I'm in tune with my surroundings.
I read.
My mind lingers on thoughts and ideas.
I exercise.
My body feels alive.


I'm refreshed by books and nature and exertion.


Time with friends is precious.
I no longer waste time on disagreeable people.
I'm patient, but I know my limits.


I've learned to turn away, to say no.
I'm not a saint.
I can't solve the world's problems.
I don't feel guilty.

Each stage of life has its rewards.
I'm liking the age I'm at.
All that I've learned in other stages
helps me to live life now more fully.

My D-i-L's photo of me dancing to Honky Tonk Woman

I'm no longer self-conscious.
I can finally dance to the music.

Whatever age you're at, tell me something good about it!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Hike on Lost Man Trail Near Aspen, CO - Our World

Lost Man Trail off Independence Pass near Aspen, CO,
offers high alpine scenery and plenty of wildflowers.
The trail starts at 11, 500 feet (3, 505 meters) and climbs to
a high point at 12, 815 feet (3, 906 meters) before descending
through two valleys to the lower trailhead.
The hike from the upper to the lower trailhead covered 8.8 miles (14.16 km).

We enjoyed lush greenery, plentiful wildflowers,
craggy peaks, tumbling waterfalls,
and pristine lakes.

We scrambled over boulders, picked our way
through unstable scree, crossed snowfields, and navigated muddy bogs.
The scenery was magnificent!

Here are some sights along the way:

Roaring Fork River - the trail begins along its banks

Independence Lake

Nature's Rock Garden - many Sky Pilot Wildflowers on rocks

scree, boulders, snow fields - looking toward Lost Man Lake at left

crossing snowfield descending from saddle to Lost Man Lake

looking toward Continental Divide and Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness

Parry's Primrose

lush valleys wet with snowmelt contained many wildflowers

glacial lake reflecting the CO blue sky

meadows of wildflowers - pink Paintbrush, yellow Cinquefoil, blue Chiming Bells

the three Amigos - Barb, Sue, and Helen at 12, 815' - highpoint of hike
(we're showing off our Dirty Girl Gaiters - gifts from Helen)

My camera battery died (permanently) at the beginning of the hike.
My watch which I depend on for distance and elevation gain stopped working.
My cell phone battery quit with 2 miles more to hike
because I took these (and many more) photos with it.

However, though my feet were tired, I didn't stop, quit, or die!
A great hike with good friends = lots of laughs and wonderful memories.

(all but last photo iPhone 5)
(last photo from Sue's camera - edited by me)

Our World

Monday, July 14, 2014

Vail in Summer - Our World

I visited Vail Village over the weekend,
wandering alone along Gore Creek,
waiting for my husband and son
who biked from Breckenridge to Vail across the pass.
Vail is patterned after the town of Zermatt, Switzerland.


Vail Village is at an altitude of 8,120 ' (2, 475 m).
Planters filled with vivid blooms decorate the town.


I strolled in early-morning coolness,
following a recreation trail out of town, 
watching the sun glitter on the rushing waters of Gore Creek.


Wild roses grew in cascades down the banks.


A lone pink Fireweed bathed in sunlight.


Except for the rippling water,
it was quiet in the shade of the evergreens.
After a long, hard winter, we welcome this lush greenery.

I practiced locking focus on my iPhone and using available light to shoot these photos.
I spent a tranquil morning along the water waiting for my family to arrive on their bikes.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Wildflowers and Blue Sky at High Altitude (Peak 7 Breckenridge) - Skywatch

snow melt continues above 11,000 feet (3,352 meters)

Old Man of the Mountain Sunflower facing East

hardy wildflowers carpet the landscape

pale blue Columbine - CO state flower

they bloom exuberantly and reliably
until frost puts them to bed for another winter

Globeflower

Marsh Marigold and Globeflower

beside the icy water of mountain streams they make their home

Helen getting ready to cross the waterfall

the stream , fed by melting snow, sings a loud, jubilant song

video



tumbling downward over boulders

the chutes off Whale's Tail - waterfall running from right to middle of photo

under the bowl of a blue Colorado sky

top of Independence Chair - Peak 7
Helen and Barb

Helen and I hiked Peak 7 this week

if you're visiting Breckenridge
you can take the Gondola to the base of Peak 7,
ride the Independence Chair,
and begin to hike in the alpine meadows

many wildflowers were in bud but not yet blooming
the last weeks of July should be spectacular

dress appropriately - it's cool and windy above 11,000 feet
(also hard to get a good photo of the blowing flowers!)

Skywatch Friday