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 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.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer at High Altitude

Though snow remains above treeline,
wildflowers and perennials are blooming.

The fragile Calypso Orchid has already
gone dormant and spilled its seeds.

Dainty Jacob's Ladder blooms in shady spots.

Paintbrush in many colors shows itself along trails and in meadows.

My garden angel, Angelica, is old and rickety.

However, she adds a wabi-sabi touch to my garden.

I appreciate her serenity.

Ponds glitter under bright blue skies,
luring fly fishermen to try their luck.

Color returns to our mountain landscape.

Today, as I stood at the back steps weeding,
I heard a strange sound.
A porcupine came waddling within inches of me,
its needles swishing,
and squeezed between the steps and under the deck.

PS Some people have indicated a problem with commenting. If you're having a problem, please e-mail me at I'm interested in how many people have a problem, and if it's mainly people using WordPress. Thanks!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Bittersweet Memories

Some of you will remember 4 years ago when 

On June 20, family and friends
gathered at the new pocket park on N Main Street
to dedicate a Bristlecone Pine in remembrance of C.
Little sister A, who was 2 when C died, 
is now a willowy and lovely 6.

She and her daddy played their guitars at the ceremony.
The tribute and poem I wrote 4 years ago for C's
memorial was read once again in front of the tree.

Smiling through tears, we stood and shared stories of C's life.

Forget-Me-Not in my yard

Bob and I hadn't seen the family for 4 years.
They left the house next door immediately after C's memorial
to spend time and to grieve with close family.
They sold their Breckenridge house and moved hours away.
We keep in touch by e-mail and notes.
Seeing them in person again was emotional.

There is a new member of the family now.
Little AE was born in January 2015.
She shares her sisters' dark hair and liquid eyes.
As we celebrate C's young life cut short,
we're aware that new and continuing life
blooms in the sister, the baby, and the tree.

Bob and I feel both grief and happiness for this family.
Surely, losing a child is the greatest burden a parent can bear.
Welcoming a child into a family is the greatest joy.

On a sunny day in the mountains of Colorado,
we are reminded of loss and also of love.