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)

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


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


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

Sunday, July 6, 2014

After a Long Winter - Finally Summer in Breckenridge!

I've been busy, busy since my last post:
preparing the Denver house for sale
watching the snow (slowly) melt in the mountains
discovering emerging wildflowers
cleaning debris from the gardens
visiting with family and friends
hiking and biking

our granddaughter watches Lehman Creek, swollen from snowmelt

Arnica beginning to bloom along the back trail
I'm trying to walk 5-6 miles several times a week
preparing for an adventure later in the summer

Paintbrush (orange) and Lupine (purple) behind my house

Angelica, wings askew, presiding over the garden

Gregg and Family (look at those new tandems!) during Mary's visit in June

last but not least

tree reflected in beaver pond near my house

whether reflecting or relaxing

I'm having a great summer.


I received a wonderful surprise in the spring.
My blog friend, Kathy, at Lake Superior Spirit
had a Michigan Maple Syrup give-away. 
I won!

22 month old Sam wants to say one thing - maple syrup from Michigan is yummy!

thank you Kathy for this sweet treat!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Changes Ahead

We're preparing our Denver house for sale.
I'm too busy to post or to spend time on the computer.

I look forward to changes ahead.

Be well until the next time - 


(comments closed)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Still Waiting for Spring in Breckenridge - Skywatch

Imperial Peak, Breckenridge, CO

In Breckenridge, CO,
winter continues its dance with spring.
Yesterday, walking a four mile loop,
the sting of ice pellets on my face,
frigid wind seeping down my coat collar,
I watched storm clouds roll over the peaks.
Today, more wind, snow falling, meager sunshine.
We light a fire and read.

the view in my neighborhood

So much snow still on the ground.
I wonder if bears are roaming?
They awake from a long sleep
to find drifts still blocking the forest.
When outdoors, I remain alert.
I'm sure they feel grumpy with hunger.

I think of the seeds I threw on bare dirt late in the fall -
still slumbering under a white quilt, 
waiting - as am I
for true and lasting spring.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Give Thanks for Mothers

in every life:
joy and sorrow
health and illness
connection and separation
ease and frustration

canal, Scottsdale, AZ

 for each of us (hopefully) - a mother (or mother-substitute)
whose guidance and love
is/was a constant

inside of glass sculpture, looking toward sky, Scottsdale, AZ

 in the US, on Sunday, May 11
we give thanks for mothers

prickly pear cactus, Rio Verde, AZ

I'm blessed:
the strong women who mothered me
helped me navigate life's changing tumult,
teaching me to live in wonder, expecting the best
yet showing me by example how to weather the worst

palo verde, AZ state tree, Scottsdale

 I praise and send gratitude to the mothers of my grandchildren
I celebrate the sacrifice, compassion, and hard work of mothers
I give thanks for Mother Love

looking toward Granite Mt, McDowell Sonoran Preserve, AZ

Happy Mothers Day!

(all photos taken on my recent trip to AZ)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Celebration of Friendship - Desert Blooming

in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona
cacti boom

Barb and Mary, April 2014

as does friendship

I'm back in Colorado after an 11 day visit with my friend, Mary, in Arizona.
I turn 70 on May 9, and Mary turns 66 on May 10.
I'm grateful for the gift of friendship!

(all photos iPhone 5 edited in Snapfish and Titlefx)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Strangers and Turkeys

Mary recently sent me this poem by Margaret Tsuda:

On the street we two pass
I do not know you.
I did not see
if you are --

If we should pass again
within the hour,
I would not know it.
Yet --
I am committed to
love you.

You are part of my city,
my universe, my being.
If you were not here
to pass me by,
a piece would be missing
from my jigsaw-puzzle day.

I saw a coyote while biking through
a posh city neighborhood.
It was slinking along the side of a mansion.
I didn't stop to worry it - just kept pedaling after my husband.

Later, on the paved trail next to the Platte River,
three wild turkeys strutted.
They stopped at a tree with low branches and JUMPED
at least a foot or more off the ground
to snag red tassels hanging from the limbs. 
A turkey jumping looks very comical indeed.
They weren't too concerned when I stopped for a couple quick photos.

I've been thinking of the jigsaw puzzle of my days since reading that poem.
Mostly, I don't meet wily coyotes or wild turkeys,
just ordinary people -
strangers passing
but perhaps leaving
an unknown but unique
contribution to my day.

Do you like to people-watch?
Do you make up stories about what you see?
I wonder what stories people create about me!

I fly to Arizona on Tuesday.
I'll definitely be people-watching!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Taking Time for Small Pleasures - Our World

Recently, I took a few weeks to rediscover the stillness within myself.
The computer and the TV remained silent. 
I noticed the simple charms of everyday life.
The mundane transformed into the extraordinary.

I realized the curve of my lips - 
up or down -
determines the nature of my day.

I clipped this quote several years ago:

"The best reason to take your time is that this time is the only time you'll ever have. You must take it, or it will be taken from you. It is telling that the phrase "taking your time" is synonymous with slowing down. If we want to live life fully, we do best to slow down. I don't suggest that we turn back the clock, trying to retrieve a bygone era when life was slower. We couldn't, even if we wanted to. But I don't believe we should want to. We should revel in our electronically supercharged, unbounded world. But, to make the most out of this new world, to avoid feeling overbooked, overstretched, and about to snap, to make modern life become better than life has ever been, a person must learn how to do what matters first. Otherwise, you will bulldoze over life's best moments. You won't notice the little charms that adorn each day, nor will you ever transform the mundane into the extraordinary."    excerpted from Crazybusy by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D.

It snowed 15" (38 cm) in Breckenridge overnight.
I'm leaving the mountains for an adventure very soon.
I'll warm my body and spirit in the desert of Arizona with my friend, Mary.
I'll take time to enjoy small pleasures.

Meanwhile, maybe you'd share one of your small pleasures with me.
What's been happening lately in your world that has made you smile?

Our World

(PS I've updated the book review page.)