Fort Collins to Grand Junction: A Long Day and Long Post!

We were going to drive to Grand Junction, but Bob decided we were too early to check in to a hotel, so we drove on the Arches National Park and then to Green River. What a long, exciting day.

10:58 AM which will matter as the day unfolds.

The drive from Fort Collins goes down towards Denver, then across the Rockies via I-70. This follows Glenwood canyon along the Colorado river. The mountain pass at Vail is 10,603 feet. We saw things that were too far to photograph and new to us. Like not just exits for skiing areas, but actual snowboard courses with people flying down them. Have seen that on TV, but cannot imagine actually DOING snowboarding, or skiing for that matter. I have never been known for my coordination or sports prowess. Ramps and ski jumps and things that amazed me, people willingly riding lifts to the top. I am also not a fan of heights, so there is that wonderment, too!

We saw signs for Aspen, Beaver Creek, Vail, Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, Arapahoe, and Keystone, all famous ski areas that we had never visited, but often heard about on news and sports channels.

Years ago we took our children to the west coast from Ohio on the Amtrak. The train followed parts of this same road. We were delighted to see the tracks and confirm our memories!

Colorado River 12:25
See the tracks on far side of river!

And such terrain change in one day! Huge mountain peaks, national forests, the glory of the mountains with snow, without snow, river canyon, tunnels, scenic overlooks and then on towards the Colorado plateau of eastern Utah with dry, rocky terrain anywhere from 4,500 to 6,500 feet in elevation at Arches.

Two hours later, 2:35, still Colorado!
Gives an entire new meaning to get out and stretch your legs! People walking along the lower edge, up the path with shadows, and on the ridge if you can see them! 3:11 PM
5:21 PM Long but amazing day! Now in Utah for certain.
5:30 Arches National Park
Is it a Sphynx or a dog?

Bob had to climb alone as the day was wearing me thin energy-wise. He made it into the big arch.

Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints! 6:14 PM
I appreciated the Three Wise Men (shadows) on our way out of the park at 6:40 PM

On our way to our hotel we agreed there were almost more landscape/environmental changes in one day than we could comprehend. Sort of sightseeing whiplash 😉

We also agreed the next day NOT to make such a long day again on this month-long journey.

Kearney to Cheyenne

We drove from river land into high desert and approached mountains.
“Arid prairies give way to craggy bluffs, table-like mesas, rocky pillars and stark buttes that loom across the landscape.” There were almost more terrain changes than we could process. Our senses were highly tuned to watching out the windows and marveling at the differences 100 miles could make. Overall that day we saw countless Sandhill Cranes, 11 Hawks, 2 Eagle nests and wild Turkeys.

I already posted about Gothenburg and the Pony Express, decorating fences with cattle skulls and some of the other sights. Below is Chimney Rock in Nebraska. It rises about 300 feet above the North Platte River valley. It’s peak is 4,228 feet above sea level. It was a landmark for those traveling west in the mid-19th century. The shape has changed over the years due to lightning strikes, storms and erosion. At the Visitor Center run by History Nebraska, a woman told us of the recent five foot snow in her area. One man had to hook the tractor to the car and drag it to the road. Then loaded his family on the tractor wagon and took them to the car so they could get out to go to school!

Trust me, I WILL stay on the sidewalk!
Chimney Rock

Daffodils #6

We have a joke in our household. I often remember other things I meant to write or say, so many emails and return phone calls and texts begin with “And …”

And … I finally figured out how to capture a single photo out of a video and thereby retrieve one of my best daffodil memories to share with you! (I have not yet paid to upgrade my Word Press account to share videos .)

Once in 2014 I went out in my raincoat to pick daffodils. The sky was leaden and the rain was imminent. While I was on the hillside the heavens opened and the rain poured and poured. It was lovely to be childlike out in a spring rain. At my age, I had started to carry my iPhone in my pocket just in case I fell or found a new photo. You know the old saying, “never go in the woods alone!”

While selecting daffodils I heard flowing water. We do not have a constant stream on our property. Searching for the source of the sound, I looked up and to my surprise the walnut tree had created the steam! Here is a still from that video clip! The streaming water is creating bubbles as it flows. Wish I could send along the sound. Enjoy! Look closely at the top where the trunk appears wet and follow it down.

Living water! Psalm 36:9 (NRSV) For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.
“Come on and rain down on us Lord! All my fountains are in You!” Chris Tomlin

Daffodils #1

Mr. Kuehner owned farm land on Woodford Road. I think he lived with his sister. I am uncertain if he was still farming the land in front of his house by the time my parents bought that apartment building at 3804 . I do remember my mother once sending me up his driveway to the house (which my friends were certain was haunted) to buy fresh tomatoes from him. There was a well in front of the house. They were pleasant, but I was frightened.

The best part of his property was the creek that flowed along the bottom. It frequently flooded in spring and emptied into a drainage pipe that went under Woodford Road. This was about 1958 and I was allowed to play in that creek in the spring unsupervised. Putting on Totes clear plastic boots over my shoes, I ventured out for an afternoon or two. The memories from that time have lasted a lifetime.

Totes Clear plastic boots Loveland, Ohio made!

There were some stones in the creek bed that could be moved around to change the course of the flow. The stones also had fossils embedded in them. (I never understood that this was a big deal geologically until I was much older.)

There were also and occasional empty land snail shell embedded in the creek bank. I was enchanted. Grandma Rush used to bring me seashells from her bus trips to Florida. Here I found my own! At the opposite end of the creek there was a huge weeping willow tree where I could get under the golden spring tendrils and hide. Or at least I thought I was hidden! As an adult those willows are majestic, but not really good “cover!”

The rushing water would flatten the grass along the edge of the creek. But the very best part was when the daffodils would bloom. Such lovely golden flowers I had never experienced! And fragrant too! The single large flower of the King Edward was my favorite. Double blooms seemed showy and confused the petals, losing the trumpet.

Photo by Robert M Dutina
Doubles seem showy and confuse the petals!

More daffodils memories to come! They are starting to bloom here ;-D

Life Cycles

Betty is dying. Sarah is expecting. Brandon’s twins turned one year old. Life cycles occurring. With or without my attention. Can we tune into the cycles without even being conscious of it?

Evidently, unless we are intentional about being present, many, many details slip our notice and so we can only acknowledge that we missed out on some significant events!

For example, I have a “Little People” plastic toy that sits on a wooden keepsake cabinet. My grandson, who is now 8 years old, approached me once several years ago when we were spending the day together and asked, “Wanna play paaar-ates?” I admit, I had to think for a while about what he asked. I said, “Okay how do we play?” He grabbed a stick and said “This is your sword!” Ah the inspiration from a cartoon about dragoons and pirates!

He has recently emerged from his gun fascination and surfaced long enough to realize there is still fun in board games, Legos and digging in the dirt area we reserved for him. Especially in getting as dirty as possible on any occasion!

With cash bribery he has been determined to learn how to tell time on an analog clock for his Pop and tie his shoes by himself. Bingo!! Done to Pop’s satisfaction and Grandson is $20 richer. Says he only wants to use it for one more piece in the Plants vs. Zombies game. Whatever!

My plastic pirate reminds me to smile at innocence experienced and gone now. But alive in my memory with a tingle of joy!


Wanna play paaar-ates

So I do not know what today brings, but I want to pay attention. To everything. Moment-by-moment. Or I might just miss something too sweet to forget later on! Go play!