Saturday, July 30, 2016

Getting away!

We just got back from a three day trip to Estes Park, which is just up the road from us, but up the road from us in the mountains, and I love the mountains. Possibly more than the sea. I'm not alone of course, which is why it’s ridiculously crowded in downtown Estes, and ridiculously overbooked at every possible place you can think of in July. We found a place a mile outside the Rocky Mountain National Park entrance, on the Fall River, which is a stream, but not a baby stream. A full, loud, lovely mountain stream that winds its way doing its thing, not caring about anything except its path. So lovely.

There aren’t a lot of deep thoughts to share about this trip beyond ‘wow. I wish I could live in the mountains’ and then the ‘okay but what would living in the mountains, year-round, entail, logistically? I could probably get from the mountains to the mountain town, but leaving in winter, with my not-love of driving… would I NEED to leave the mountain town in winter/ever? Do drones deliver yet? What do I have to do to actually afford the mountain place I want? Would anyone else in my family come? Maybe they could visit…?’

I unplugged. It was great. I'm now going to work on unplugging on the weekends, too, because life is better when it's not being tweeted.

So yes, I love mountains. I love woods. I love being in woods in the mountains, and I enjoy the fact I live so close to things I love. No deep thoughts.

Things I learned about my family this little getaway:
  • A 4.5 mile hike is okay. A 7-mile hike is not. Even if it has waterfalls and a river and a lake full of lily pads. It wasn’t supposed to be a 7-mile hike...
  • Mountain streams are cool and everyone in my family loves mountain streams, but nobody
    loves them as much as Bear and I, who logged the most time going outside to watch and listen to the stream, if anyone was actually logging time. And mountain streams are pretty fast and pretty loud, and a lot of fun.
  • Rock shops. We went to a rock shop, and it was one of the highlights of the trip because who doesn’t love peridot, rose quartz, random slabs of Colorado marble, chunks of onyx and adventurine? There was also a museum and lots of stones and trinkets to buy. The boys got hematite bracelets and Turbo bought peridot because it’s his favorite (who knew?) and Bear got a pyramid thing-a-ma-jig. We did end up buying a rose and black marble chess set because it was cool.
  • Bumper boats are the best. Seriously. The best.
  • My sons have no consideration or courtesy when driving go-karts. Seriously, boys, you had to lap me? Twice? And was it necessary to ram into me? I’m your mother, Turbo (who, I belatedly am realizing, is a more apt nickname than I ever intended it to be).
  • Bear finds the BEST shops. He led us to an interior design shop in downtown Estes that had the best woodland animal plates and mugs. I can guarantee you that between the time I write this, and post this, I’ll have already looked up those woodland animal plates and mugs...
  • Husbear is the best at Marco Polo, but his skills are far too advanced for his family, who are not stealthy in the water at all.
  • We all agree that having a pool all to ourselves is amazeballs, and are really happy everyone else was out and about doing non-pool things while we were in the pool.
  • The hot tub on the balcony was pretty cool, since there’s just something nice about being outside in hot water while stars are twinkling. Except when you’re not wearing glasses, and then they are just blurry light spots that look like maybe dust.
  • Hummingbirds are fun to watch.
  • Birds are fun to watch. Pretty sure I saw the same black-billed magpie flying about.
There really aren’t a lot of 12 year olds who don’t enjoy nature, and mostly, I think, stick someone in nature long enough and they’ll get it.

Now, I have to resist the temptation to look up every cabin located in Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park and plan more trips than I can take...

In the meantime, enjoy a lovely slideshow of some of our trips highlights :)

RMNP/Estes Park, 2016

Friday, July 22, 2016

A most amazing hike

Last night, after midnight, I got a call from Sweden.

It wasn't this guy, the guy in the picture on the right, So I didn't bother answering. Although it did leave me with the strange 1 a.m. question... why didn't this guy call me? I told Husbear that Alex Skarsgard didn't call me, and he had a very disappointing lack of sympathy...
I couldn't even fall back asleep. I ended up going through all the people I could possibly have known that could possibly be in Sweden that could possibly need to call me after midnight, that weren't named Alex Skarsgard... nothing. I think if I'm going to get a call from Sweden, it should be from Alex Skarsgarard.

My friend, who bravely snuck up on these 
amazing red flowers. It's rough, the wilds.
But that's not what this blog is about. This blog is about my most amazing hike where I almost died falling down a rocky waterfall because I wore the wrong shoes. With photos! Of the hike, not the almost-death, though it was determined by my friends that if I did fall to my death, I should be sure to be cheerful about it, and maybe on the way down give them a thumbs up and a big smile...

Okay... so this hike was outside of Nederland and the trailhead was located at the end of a deadly five-mile unpaved boulder-infested narrow road that no sane Kia Soul would ever traverse... yet, two did! Including the one I rode in. The trail is for Diamond Lake and it's beautiful.

Close up of these amazing flowers 
which eventually I will look 
up and name. Properly.
I haven't gone on nearly enough hikes this season, but I'm hoping to make it up with a few August and September hikes. I love trying new ones, though, because there's always a new view or a new place to find and love. This particular trail was rich with creeks and the death-rock-waterfall, which I didn't think to take a picture of, because I was too busy trying to cross it without slipping and plummeting, and a gorgeous lake at the end which isn't big, but was beautiful.

I love hikes for so many reasons. The views are one of them. In Colorado, when you go on a hike, there's a very good chance at the end there's an amazing view that comes straight out of National Geographic. And it's all RIGHT HERE where I live. Another reason is the nature effect. I love being out in nature. It completely resets my soul. It makes me happy. So happy. I am the person on the trail who's huffing and puffing up an incline smiling because it's so beautiful and peaceful and there's flowers and creeks and sky and ahhh... yes, yes one day I will live in a little mountain town and a big smile will be my every day expression.

Here's a pretty image of the waterfall-death-creek I had to cross. 
I took a picture so people could see how brave I was if I fell... 
and no, I don't care if a gazillion other people just  hopped across like 
happy speedy bunnies, I had the wrong shoes on, 
I'm a foot shorter than like EVERYONE, and it was SLIPPERY!

This is the view from another angle, where I wasn't focused on the wild plummeting water. It was a trickier crossing than the image makes out - slippery rocks! Non-ankle-supporting hiking shoes! Short legs! It's a dangerous world out there for the hobbit-folk! If I were one. Which I'm not. I just empathize with their height impediments, that's all. 

That was the scariest part of the hike. Then, we were rewarded with a shady path.

Beautiful flowers:

And fields of them:

and beautiful lake views:

Colorado is my happy.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

I can't blog about lettuce today - I want to acknowledge the turmoil we're in

I wanted to write about July.

I wanted to write about the determined wasp that keeps making new nests next to the ones I poison, resulting in a bizarre guilt for poisoning them in the first place (but really, right over my front entrance? It can't happen.)

I wanted to show pictures of my lettuce garden which is doing better than I expected.

I was going to talk about revisions.

I can't, though, because it seems then that I am ignoring what is going on. By not mentioning it or talking about it, there's an implication that I'm not aware. And I am, I'm aware. I'm horrified. I'm shocked. I'm disgusted. I'm tired. We're all tired. So I have to mention it.

I keep thinking conversations are being held in police stations around the nation - be careful, be vigilant, don't use violence as a first defense, don't go for your weapon first thing, listen, watch, be observant. Try not to take a life in the line of duty.

But I don't know. Two men, two days. Traffic stops. Something is wrong with our nation when being stopped at a traffic stop is a life or death situation. Something is wrong when black mothers and fathers have to talk to their black sons and daughters, especially sons, and tell them how to act, how to avoid confrontation, how to not get shot.

And another day, five cops are shot.  And the whole cycle begins again, I think. But then I get hopeful, because I see peaceful protestors and I see people standing up and saying 'this isn't okay in our country' and being counted. Because the majority of my friends, well, all that I know of, believe we have a problem, and want to fix it.

I hope this becomes our priority.

But it's not just this. I woke up sick when I saw the news about the mass shooting in Florida, and became disgusted when it was clear that not enough people have died to get meaningful gun control on the books.

I became madly addicted to c-span during the Democratic sit in and #holdthefloor. I watched the #filibuster all night. I'm inspired and optimistic because finally, people we elected are standing up and fighting for Americans, agree or disagree with them, at least they are fighting for the people that elected them.

#Brexit - yep, couldn't stop following that either. It's significant. It's significant that the beliefs and desires of the older generation are completely out of line with the younger. It's a harsh lesson in not voting because you figured it wouldn't matter (wooboy did it ever matter here). Now, one little vote, and Britain is on the verge of political collapse, if they're not already descending into it.

I'm watching Trump in horror, but there, I think I'm in good company.

I think we are living in dangerous, changing times, and I can't blog about lettuce and wasps and revisions, because today, yesterday, many days this past month and a half, I've been thinking about what is going on in my community, my state, my nation, and the world. I think it's important to pay attention, to witness, and to acknowledge it all.

Oh, I'll blog about lettuce. And wasps. And other things. Probably this week. The times we're living in doesn't mean I stop living the details of life and being happy about lettuce, guilty about the wasps and anxious about my revisions... not at all. But today I want to acknowledge the turmoil our nation and world is in. I want to say, yes, I see an innocent man was shot dead at a routine traffic stop, and I am as shocked by it as anyone. Yes, I think it's horrible 5 police officers were shot. I'm horrified about the mass shooting in Florida. I'm not immune to the fact that half of an entire nation (Syria) has had to flee their homeland because of war. I'm concerned about the future of democracy, the world economy, and whether or not Scotland will leave Britain. I also have hope. I also believe we can make things better. We can change. We can stop it. We can do the work to solve these hard problems.