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)

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


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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.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

End of July at High Altitude - Our World

rain-drenched Poppy in my garden

rain and sunshine at high altitude encourage
a vivid display of wildflowers and perennials

sun-drenched Poppies - Vail

Shasta Daisies and Wild Geraniums in my front yard

orange and red Paintbrush, purple Lupine, white Saxifrage

alpine meadows display a palette of colors

purple Monkshood and yellow Senecio

Monkshood, Senecio, and Elephant Head

Elephant Head with glitter of dew

Fireweed - a favorite snack of Moose

blue sky calls me to trails and paths to hike and bike


I can't help smiling - it's finally bloom time at high altitude

Waldo thanks you for your visit

Sending you smiles wherever you are in the world.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Spontaneous Joy

Here are a few things that make me happy:

photo of me by my friend Susie

Wildflowers, watered by spring snows and summer rains,
bloom in profusion in the forests and the high alpine meadows.


The air is perfumed with the
musky/spicy scent of Lupine.


Snow still gleams on the high peaks.


Rain clouds bring us much-needed moisture.


Visitors arrive unexpectedly.

the moose often ambles directly behind the swing -
when I sit in the swing, I keep looking over my shoulder...

Some guests are more wild than others!


Our 2 year old Grandson (not so wild)
entertained us for a week.
Sam  says "naughty qwerl!"
because he thinks the squirrel steals his fishy crackers.


However, I notice Pop Pop chewing, 
so this time maybe the squirrel isn't to blame!


I hope wherever you are in the world,
you experience moments of spontaneous joy.

What's made you happy recently?

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Hello Moose!


The pansy bed is blooming.
Waldo smiles beside the stream.
Moose visits to check on how my garden grows.


For such a huge animal, she walks daintily.


I've asked her not to tromp on the flowers.
However, she does like to nibble on my willow bush.


She wanders among the wild Lupine
whose scent fills the air.
Moose prefer Fireweed
which aren't yet in bloom.



When she starts chomping on my aspens,
I have to ask her to leave.


Goodbye Moose - until the next time.

I don't know why Barb is asking me to leave!
What's all the fuss!

I took these photos from my deck
with my new micro 4/3 14-150mm zoom.
They're all the same moose, but on some photos,
if she was too shadowed,
I lightened her face.
It's dangerous to get too close to a moose.
She was fully aware of my presence
but didn't seem concerned.
When she started eating the aspens, I made a racket
by pounding on the metal caps to my deck posts.
She flicked her ears a few times
before moving farther into the forest.

Monday, June 29, 2015

High Alpine Hike - Our World

Come hike with me.
We start in the shadows of the early-morning forest.


The heart-leafed Arnica show us the way.


Senecio glows in bright sunlight.


Along Crystal Creek, raging from snowmelt,
the Parry Primrose is showing its pink.


Near the Wheeler Trail at over 11,000' (3,353 M),
I'm excited to find
the elusive and tiny Pigmy Bitterroot.


Finally, on the Wheeler Trail,
a young doe is startled but allows a photo.
Meanwhile, I think we should begin clapping and calling
"Hey Bear!" as we continue to hike through dense willow bushes.
Surprising a doe is one thing,
surprising a bear is another!


Mount Helen, Father Dyer, and Crystal Peak
form a majestic backdrop.


At about 11, 300' (3,444 M), we rest briefly, have a snack,
and enjoy the views.


We pass Francie's Cabin on our way back down.
Part of the Summit Huts system, it can be rented
in both winter and summer.
It sleeps 20 people.

Orange Paintbrush and yellow Buttercups

Wildflowers compete with distant views of high peaks.
We gain about 1,300' (396 M) of altitude on our climb.
Now, we must carefully navigate the rocky trail
downward toward home.


After over 8 miles (12.8 K), we finally see a welcome sight.
 Let's rest on the swing and admire the wild Lupine.


Remember the blue skies,
swollen creeks, snow drifts,
jagged peaks, and colorful wildflowers
of Colorado at the end of June.

Thanks for coming with me.
Otherwise, I would have been alone.

I admit that at 71, I'm not getting any faster
at climbing and navigating the high trails.
That said, I can still do it.
Today's hike took me about 4 1/2 hours.
It was tiring but exhilarating.