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)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Girlfriends' Vacation

October already!
Fall colors at high altitude are fading.
They were fantastic while they lasted.

My friend, Mary, will arrive shortly.
I haven't seen her for so long!
She and I along with Helen, Sue, and Di
leave on a Girlfriends' Vacation soon.
We're celebrating Di's 75th birthday.

It's a busy, happy time!
I'll be off the computer for awhile.
Until later - 
celebrate friendship!

Lucinda B. Rabbit is demanding to go along on our trip...
(You know what that means!)

Comments for this post are closed.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

High Altitude Beauty - Our World

Fall at high altitude is a glorious season.
Even above tree line, amazing color transformations occur.

The hike to Silver Dollar Lake near Georgetown, Colorado,
starts just above 11,000' in an old-growth evergreen forest.
As the trail climbs, the towering pine and spruce become more sparse.

Entering the Krummholz region, trees are gnarled or form banners,
twisting and losing limbs on one side due to high winds and harsh weather.

In alpine tundra, only willow bushes and grasses survive the elements.

The trail above Naylor Lake to Silver Dollar Lake is rocky
with swatches of algae-covered scree to navigate.

King's Crown turns scarlet with falling temperatures

In summer, this area is covered with wildflowers.
In autumn, most flowers have gone to seed.

above Naylor Lake

However, the golds, reds, and greens of changing vegetation
fills the high alpine landscape with color.

snowfield and grasses reflect in Silver Dollar lake - near 12,000'

While Colorado is known for the fall beauty of aspens changing color,
the serenity and long vistas of a hike above tree line are a special treat.

I hiked to Silver Dollar Lake with 3 friends, all of us over 70.
It was an overcast day but warmed enough for us to take off our jackets.
We rested and had a snack beside the lake in the quiet embrace of towering peaks.

Nature's beauty never fails to amaze.

Our World

Here is a quote I love by Rene Daumal:

You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Lessons that Mold Us

Lately, I've been mulling over a time I cheated when I was a teenager. Perhaps I didn't exactly cheat, but I definitely didn't follow the rules. At the time, I always followed the rules, so the trauma of the experience affected me deeply. To this day, at age 71, I get anxious when thinking about it.

My Senior English teacher (let's call her Miss S) was much-feared and all-powerful. She never called us by our first names. It was always Miss or Mr (last name). Her formality encouraged no spontaneous discussion. Her classes were humorless and didactic. When she called on us, we stood at attention beside our desks and recited our answers. I planned to major in English/Education in college. She was disdainful of many of my classmates, but since I did my work, followed the rules, and got good grades, I escaped her demeaning put-downs. Of course, I never cheated.

We were close to graduation when she announced at the end of the day that I was to stay after class. She advised me that she chose me to give a list of 20 spelling words to another senior - a boy (let's call him Don). He wasn't in any of my classes, but we had a small Senior class so we all knew and socialized with one another. He wasn't a boy who was going on to college. He wasn't academically talented. However, Don was a nice guy, polite, quiet, and never made trouble. 

Here is the clincher: Miss S told Don and me that day at the end of school that if he didn't spell over 50% of the words on the list correctly, he wouldn't graduate with our class. Apparently, he hadn't turned in some homework so Miss S felt he hadn't fulfilled his English requirement for graduation. The spelling list was the task that would be the deciding factor on whether or not he'd receive his diploma. 

Don sat in a student desk in front of the teacher's desk. I stood behind him. My job was to say the word, use it in a suitable sentence, and finally say the word again. Don's job was to spell. I saw after the first word that Don was in deep trouble. Spelling wasn't his forte. Though all of us in the Senior class were already fitted for our caps and gowns, Don wouldn't be needing his.

Miss S sat at her desk correcting papers, listening and occasionally glancing up at us. After Don mangled the spelling of the first word, I made my decision. I pronounced the second word, Don misspelled it, I tapped his chair lightly with my foot, he tried to correct his spelling. When it was still wrong, I tapped again. I only gave him 2 taps for each word but that was usually enough. He got some wrong, but I'm sure it would have looked fishy if he'd spelled every word correctly. He got enough right to pass the test.

I was quaking inside, but I tried not to reveal my nervousness. Don and I didn't look at each other. When we heard he passed the test, we gathered our books and left the room. Don and I lifted our hands in goodbye and never spoke of the situation again. I was grateful that he didn't thank me. I wasn't sure what I had done, but I knew rules were broken. I had seriously overstepped some line. I had definitely cheated. My mind was swirling with questions. Why me? Why didn't Miss S give the spelling words herself? Was my role in this fiasco a test of character? By making sure Don didn't fail, had I somehow failed? 

That was a turning point for me. I decided that sometimes it's necessary to break the rules. I never discussed the dilemma with anyone. Don and I both graduated. I wasn't quite as good a girl, but somehow I felt better about myself.

My oldest Granddaughter reads my blog. She's 12 and a very good girl, an excellent student. I can't tell her if or when or how she'll someday have to break the rules, but I have a feeling that time will come. And I know that she'll make the right decision. 

Often, we don't choose the lessons that mold us. Do you remember an event from your formative years that made you the person you are today? I hope you've made peace with it. I hope I have, too. 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Glory of Change - Skywatch

Colder temperatures in Breckenridge
signal the coming of fall.

Aspens are the only deciduous trees that survive
in the harsh climate of our high altitude forests.
Their leaves change rapidly from green
to lime, yellow, gold, and sometimes orange.

It's a beautiful time to be in the mountains of Colorado.

Recently, I hiked in French Gulch with friends.
We visited several old mining ruins.

The mountainsides are starting their fall show of colors.
We walked through tunnels of golden light.

mine tailings and changing foliage along French Gulch

The autumn air is brisk -
we've had several nights below freezing.
However, the sun at altitude
gives off a comforting warmth.
Still, several layers are necessary to retain body heat.

photo of Barb taken on iPhone 6 by Mary J

I wake each day to the promise of fall.
The glory of change is all around me.

Thank you Yogi, Sandy, and Sylvia for hosting


(PS I appreciate those who left such meaningful
comments in the last post.
I like getting to know you better.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Just Some Random Thoughts (and Photos)

Every life begins at birth and ends in death.
However, each individual journey is unique.

I've already navigated a large portion of my life.
Some trails were and are challenging.
I've sometimes been lost.
I've had to retrace my steps.
There are times I need(ed) help.

I listen. I observe. I think.
I have beliefs and opinions.
I don't necessarily share them.
I'm wary of people who think they're always right.
I often change my mind.
I don't trust dogma.

I'm quiet.
Boisterous crowds make me nervous.
I'm most at home in Nature.

I sometimes take risks.
But, I weigh the odds first.

I embrace change.
I think there are many right ways and not just one.

I think a person's character has nothing to do with fame or money.
I believe true kindness and empathy and charity are private offerings.
However, the practice of these three things might define a life.

I don't make friends easily.
However, I'm loyal.
I tend to keep well-loved friends forever.
That said, I sometimes pull away and let go.
Forever is a long time and hard work.

I enjoy people who can laugh at themselves. 
I think making mistakes is a part of life.
Learning from mistakes is not easy.
Sometimes mistakes hurt others.
Apologies are often difficult.
Plus, they're only relevant if they're sincere.

Several of my closest friends are extroverts.
Perhaps I'm drawn to my opposites.
It would be boring if everyone had only my traits and my beliefs.
I like outgoing even though that's not who I am.

I think about a lot of things when I take my walk.
Today these random ideas were on my mind. 

I'm still a work in progress.
Probably, no matter your age, you are too.

Tell me something about yourself.
Make it something that defines you.
I'd like to know you better.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Keep Blooming!

Hello again!
Summer is nearly over at altitude.
My gardens are having one last bloom before hard frost.
The forest floor is turning gold and sienna.
Soon, the first snowflakes will fall.

along the Blue River

I'll share a few highlights of my summer:

mountain scenes

my perennial gardens

fun with Grands

This weekend, we're partying!
We have two special guys celebrating birthdays.

Happy Birthday to Super Jack - 11 years old!

Happy 3rd birthday to Big Boy Sam!

Keep Blooming!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Wandering - Not Lost

enjoying it all while I can:
colors, textures, smells
soaking up summer

taking time to wander
the wild things and I collect
summer memories

goodbye for awhile

Comments are closed.


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Memories - and Repairs

I thought of my mother today.
My father died when I was 9.
She worked long hours in a factory,
made sure I had all the essentials
(including a nickle for an ice cream cone and 50 cents for a movie),
and single-handedly took care of the house.
I never remember her hiring a handyman or repair man.
I have memories of her under the sink, wrench in hand,
fixing the plumbing.
One time, when I was grown, I visited and couldn't find her.
Finally, I saw her up on the roof.
She was applying tar to repair the shingles!

Today, I was standing at my sink
when suddenly my socks were sopping wet.
There was a leak that rapidly flowed out
from under the sink onto the tile.

Bob was on the floor resting his back
which has been problematic for a couple days.
Unfortunately, crawling under the sink wasn't part of his healing.

However, I'm proud to say he's "handy."
He knows how to fix things.
Because I rely on him, I don't have a clue!
As I watched him find the problem and repair it,
I wished I was more like my Mom.

I know some of you live alone.
Are you able to do your own repairs?
Those of you who are married - 
who handles household fix-it problems?
Or, do you call a repair person?

Here is an image I have of my mother:
cut-off burgundy trousers (fraying)
sleeveless blouse (not matching the pants)
knee high nylon stockings
old sneakers with holes
permed hair pulled off her
smiling face

 I loved my Mom.
She was unique, quirky,
outgoing and kind.
She died 36 years ago in July.
I need to be more like her.

PS The photos are from my gardens and containers.
My mom had a green thrumb -
my love of plants and flowers comes from her.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Mountain Views from Black Powder Pass - Skywatch

I hiked to the top of Black Powder Pass this week.
Blue sky, sunshine, and solitude accompanied me.
Alpine wildflowers were magnificent.
Enjoy the mountain views!

Fragile Columbine, the state flower of Colorado,
blooms amid tallus.
In the most inhospitable environment,
it survives and thrives.

I hope you're thriving, too.