Why this blog?

To understand why this blog was created and where it got its name, start here

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Royal Arch

"Let's take a hike tomorrow" said Patrice.

"Great!" I responded. "One of my favorite hiking trails in the Boulder area is Royal Arch. It's not too long, only 3.2 miles round trip. Oh, and there are a few steps to climb . . . "

We read trail descriptions, and although the trail was marked "moderate to strenuous," we decided that the trail would be just the right length and level of difficulty for an afternoon outing. We packed a couple of sandwiches for a picnic lunch and set off up the trail which is located at the base of Boulder's famous Flatirons (the flat red rocks that rise up west of town).

About an hour and a half later, Patrice was sweating hard and cursing me for not being more explicit about the difficulty of the trail.

Yes, there is 1,400 feet of elevation gain -- and a few rocks to climb

But the arch and the view of Boulder down below is well worth the trip.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Snow melt in Boulder

One of the best things about winter in Colorado is the sunshine. It can get grey and snowy and then one day later - voilà! The sun comes out and melts the snow.

This is Wonderland Lake before

And after

Friday, October 26, 2012

Snow in Boulder

As promised, the snow started falling Wednesday evening and we went for a ride Thursday morning to capture the colors of winter.
 The playgrounds were empty

 And the sun played hide-and-seek through the fog

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Brainard Lake

Winter is just around the corner. There's a cold front approaching that will bring temperatures below freezing in the next few days. Yesterday, we took advantage of the calm before the storm to take a hike near Brainard Lake, west of Boulder.

The lake is already starting to freeze

And the local bird population is looking for any scraps that fall from picnic tables.


Monday, October 22, 2012


Patrice is passionate about driving. Anything that makes noise, smells bad, and pollutes;-) Two, three or four wheels. He loves to drive my Toyota Highlander 4wd off-road - the scarier the better. I don't always share this enthusiasm, and am often much happier on foot. Nevertheless, I suppose it's good to try new things, and to push the limits of my personal comfort zone. 

Yesterday, we were invited by my friends Tracy, and her husband Eric, to join them on a ride on their motorcycles with sidecars. I was a little apprehensive at first, not being a big fan of motorcycles, but the late-autumn sunny skies and warm temperature called for an outing.

Helmets are optional in Colorado, and I was comforted by the loan of Eric's firefighter helmet. At least it helped keep my head warm.

A motorcycle with sidecar is tricky to drive - the weight balance and handling on turns is completely different than a motorcycle alone. But Patrice was a natural. He drove the Honda Goldwing with me in the sidecar as if he's been driving one all his life.

Eric drove their red Harley Davidson with Tracy in the side.

The unique cycles always attract a lot of attention, and Eric loves to let kids (and grownups too) climb all over them.
Tourists from Texas 
Our ride took us through the canyons west of Boulder and finally to Estes Park where elk can be seen wandering through town.
Here's what this elk looked like from the sidecar!
But this gorgeous day wasn't about the ride, or me overcoming my fears (it really wasn't scary at all). The day was spent in awe and admiration of Eric. He is battling cancer but you wouldn't have known it from his energy and his smile.

Thank you, Eric and Tracy, for a wonderful day.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My Mother's Birthday

Today was my mother Marilyn's 81st birthday. She's still going strong, still cooking meals for children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Here are some photos of my Mom from last year's post:
Marilyn in high school

With my Dad in Athens c. 1970

80th birthday party
This evening we celebrated her 81st birthday. You'll notice that I have more gray hair than she does!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Autumn in Boulder

High winds and cooler temperatures are bringing down the last of the autumn leaves here in Boulder. It's been a wondrous season for fall colors and I'm feeling melancholy as I let go of the reds and golds. Soon, winter will bring its own colors and contrasts.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Taos Pueblo

Taos Pueblo is considered to be the oldest continuously inhabited community in the USA. There are still a few families who live in the 1000 year-old structures with no electricity and no running water - but most Native families prefer the comfort of more modern homes just beyond the picturesque village which looks almost like a movie set.

But the cemetery is a solemn reminder that the people of Taos Pueblo were forced into Catholicism and slavery by Spanish priests in order to become "civilized."

Houses were originally accessed via ladders rather than doors

The village is very much alive and sacred to the native people who still hold ceremonies in the round underground kivas (accessed via ladders) seen in the picture below

Tourists are not allowed near kivas
Red Willow Creek provides drinking water for the village

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Santa Fe

Santa Fe is known for its traditional adobe architecture
 and its lively arts scene
Shidoni Foundry
 as well as the surrounding desert landscape
Camel Rock

Friday, October 12, 2012

Chaco Canyon

Chaco Canyon in northwestern New Mexico was a gathering site of ancient Pueblo peoples over a thousand years ago. It is a mysterious place, with highly planned architecture, numerous "great houses," and a wealth of petroglyphs.  The location is extremely remote, but well worth the visit.
Fajada Butte
Steep cliffs - ready to fall at any time
 We climbed up through a narrow passage in the cliff. From there, we could look down on the structures to gain a better appreciation of the overall architecture.

Pueblo Bonito seen from above

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

We arrived in Albuquerque on Saturday, October 6th, to find out that the day's events had been cancelled due to high winds. And the forecast for Saturday night and Sunday morning called for more winds. Oh No! What if we came all this way and didn't get to see the balloons??

Fortunately, Saturday evening's event - the Balloon Glow - went off as planned. The balloons are inflated but don't fly.

 We set the alarm for 4:30 AM Sunday morning, crossing our fingers that the balloons would be able take off. The first event of the morning is called Dawn Patrol when the first ballons take off in the darkness.

Followed by hundreds of other balloons
 Of all shapes and sizes