Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The adventure of getting tangled up in life

   It's been a while since I last blogged. A lot has transpired over the last couple of months or year I should say. Hubby's second rotator cuff surgery for the year. A repair of a massive tear this time. (Long story.) Then I had a bad back problem for the last few months that hindered my ability to sit at my computer. That was very difficult because I missed my writing time.
    So here I am after missing late summer adventures, fall adventures and now wanting the late fall/early winter adventures, but my back doesn't allow for the car rides yet. Thoughts and ideas continued to roll around inside my head, especially now that I can spend a bit of time in my computer chair. I asked my friends what kind of blog post they'd like to see and the most votes came up for elk in my backyard adventures. While we do see elk out our windows often, our best bet is up the canyon.

Elk out our front window.

   One thing I just did not want to miss was the fall rut of the Elk in our area. So we went out looking after we heard they were just up the road every night. A short car ride I figured I could handle. I was pleasantly surprised at what we found.
video
   Notice the chimes hanging off his antler? Listen carefully and it even clinks as he walks.
   Elk are funny creatures. The males get pretty...well...down right stupid during the rut. If something ticks them off or is just in their way, or quite frankly if they just want to work off some...uh....frustration, they nod those big ol' antlers into the object of their scorn and just rip. It can be quite comical.

   This one just got done annihilating a cattail bed. There had been other males around, all bugling, and the frustration and determination of this guy got the best of him. Apparently they have no comprehension of looking ridiculous. He wore the grass like his reward or crown. My guess is the girls had to be laughing. I know we were.
   Now the problem of decorating antlers isn't exclusive to the elk herds. We are also often visited by the mule deer of the area. Just a couple weeks ago we spotted this guy. Whoever started their Christmas decorating early is missing something. Or perhaps these lights were left somewhere from last Christmas. At any rate, he's ready for Christmas.
   I know what you're thinking. Can't someone help them by removing all this paraphernalia? Not to worry. They all shed those antlers so then they can start fresh next year and find some other articles to decorate with.
   As I thought about writing this post, I also thought about how it relates to my life. Surprisingly, I can relate, but in a different way.
   When we are overwhelmed with frustrating times like  physical disability, or several problems with our injured bodies, we may feel like thrashing our way around and ripping and pulling at the things that confine and restrain us. I know we have struggled with those feelings. Pain is a challenging thing to deal with leading to discouragement, dismay, feelings of never getting out of this situation, and quite frankly a bit of depression.
   So what does one do with all of those emotions? For one thing, desperately hang onto a sense of humor. Sometimes you have to. And then sometimes life just lets things happen that you can only laugh at.
   One day I managed to get some hamburger patties into a pan for lunch. Now understand that we've spent months looking at each other and saying, "Which one of us is up to cooking today?" Usually it was neither one of us, with him in a sling and me spending most of my time flat on my back. So... the hamburgers are in the pan, I hobble my way into the fridge for the onion, at least I wasn't using a cane at this point in time. I shut the fridge which is butted up to the side of the stove, the shake of the door shutting wobbles the large woc off the top of the fridge which lands on the FULL tea kettle sitting on the upper part of the stove. It, of course, tips over pouring water across the stove top putting out the burner under my burgers. The tea kettle falls against my wonderful Whirley Pop popcorn maker and shoots it across the stovetop into the burger pan sending it flying to the floor. Burgers flying up into the air and promptly landing on the floor.
   Remember the game Mouse Trap? Yeah, the burgers landing on the floor went much faster than the game. And the racket it all made was deafening! What could I do? I sure wasn't able to stop the frantic destruction occuring on my stovetop. My hands flew out to the side as I watched the entire stovetop going into self-clean mode. Certain vocabulary words that shouldn't be used did flash through my brain, then I wanted to do some of that head thrashing against anything and everything, then I stopped, looked at the scene as the remaining tea kettle water splooshed out of the spout in rhythm to the radio. I just stood there and laughed. And laughed. And dove ahead of my dog to save the burgers. Not an easy task when you can't bend over without starting back spasms. The five second rule was going to apply that day. (If it's only on the floor for five seconds, it's safe to eat.) (Stop "ewwwing". I wiped them off.)
   I stood there gazing upon the scene on top of my stove. Water filled the indented areas where the burners sit on both sides. The popper, the tea kettle and the woc all sitting in haphazard positions. I grabbed towels to blot it all up so I could relight the burner under our lunch, all the while chuckling.
   During circumstances like these, I tend to start up a conversation with God. I could have stood there banging my head against the wall crying "Why me Lord..." or I can choose the path of laughter instead. It's a much better way to go. That old saying "Laughter is the best medicine" held true for me that day.
   And I know someday, Ron and I will look back at the year of 2011 and laugh at how ridiculous it was for both of us to be laid up for so long. Our thankfulness to our church family, my physical therapist, daughter and son-in-law for the help and meals and all the other ways folks came to minister to us will grow in our hearts.
   We're on the back side of most of the struggle now. There is a light. And knowing THE Light (Jesus) has helped us get through it and He will continue to get us through whatever else life throws our way. Cuz life is FULL of adventures.
   Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Flat Out Adventure

     I was anxious to get home to Colorado after helping my parents move to a new home in Wisconsin. I was alone and tired from the long drive all the way into the barren northeast corner of Colorado. It was nearing ten o’clock at night. My only company was my CD collection. Darkness surrounded me not revealing anything and barely any cars traveled the route in either direction.
     I had driven all day long. Not wanting to spend the night at a hotel, I felt determined enough to continue and complete the 19 hour trip. As I cruised along at the 75 mile per hour speed limit, suddenly the car wavered back and forth with furious intent. I immediately slowed trying to grasp what had happened. Then it dawned on me that I must have a flat tire. 
     I groaned. It was a very warm night on the Colorado plains and it had been a long time since I’d attempted to change a tire. Plus it was on the driver’s side, the highway side, and it was difficult to get far off the road in this section. 
    I sat there for a bit trying to calm down after getting the wobbly car off to the right side as far as I could. I drove a GMC Jimmy and had the seat in back folded down. I looked back to where my full size spare tire sat underneath all the many things I brought home with me that Mom and Dad didn’t want anymore. That included a small electric organ that was completely covering the tire. How was I going to get at the tire? I cried a little with my head in my hands, elbows on the steering wheel, then prayed a lot. 
      Knowing that wallowing in my dilemma was doing no good, I got out and opened the back end. I began pulling and moving things trying to make my way to the tire. A semi truck barreled past me rocking the car with its wind gust. I prayed more. Lord, I need help! I need an angel! 
     I hadn’t gotten very far with making my way to the spare, when a pick-up truck slowed down and pulled off the highway in front of my vehicle. I looked around in the darkness, fear growing, as the pick-up backed up, then pulled alongside of me since no traffic was coming. 
     I had my hand on the metal pipe for the jack and gripped it tighter.
     “Hi,” an older woman said from the passenger window of the truck. Relief flooded my being. “Can you use some help?”
     I was so thankful to see friendly faces. The woman and her husband had just left a church dinner and were heading back to their ranch. 
     I had an innner chuckle for the angels that just arrived. 
     They parked behind my car, headlights lighting up the situation. I had my puny scissor jack pulled out and handed it toward the big barrel of a man. The strong ranch owner took one look at it, shook his head and walked back to his truck without a word. He removed a large hydraulic jack from the back end. In no time at all, he had the car raised up, the tire pulled out from under the organ, all while I visited with this sweet woman. In what seemed an instant, he was finished.
     My gratitude was overwhelming. Knowing I would have been out there in the dark for a very long time trying to change that tire unable to see anything past the darkness off the side of the road. The man finished up, was putting his jack back in his truck when I remembered I had some special prints from my mom. She is an amazing artist and had lots of extra copies of her beautiful scenes originally painted then made into prints. Mom sent me home with a box full. I had four different scenes. I asked them to wait, I had something for them and I jumped into the back end. Reaching into the box amidst the piles of other things now in disarray, with the addition of a shredded tire. 
    The man said, “No that’s alright. You don’t have to give us anything.” 
     I insisted. My heart pounded knowing what I could give them in thanks if I could just gain access to it.
     Finding the large flat box, I reached in as quickly as I could so they wouldn’t leave without a proper thank you and pulled out the first one I could get my fingers on within the well packed cardboard container. 
     I rushed back to their truck, handed it to the wife explaining that my mother had done these.  I had extra and I wanted them to have something for saving me. The woman held it up in the light of their headlights. Something similar to a look of shock seemed to appear on her face. 
     Her husband was still trying to say no, looking back and forth between us women, when we noticed that a tear had formed in the woman’s eye and began to run down her cheek. Then he looked at the print noting the scene depicted. He stopped his declining, put a huge smile on his face and said, “My wife collects pheasants. They're all over in our house.”
     I had, by divine intervention pulled out the print of a winter scene and pheasants in a field. It could have been the print of the ducks, the deer, the eagle, but no, it was the pheasants. We parted with hugs and thanks on both sides. The man waited for me to get back in my car and drive away. They followed me for several miles to make sure I was on my way safely. Tears ran down my own face as I waved them away at an exit knowing they would have to back-track to get to their own exit.
     The kindness of this ranching couple in the plains of Colorado, during the darkest of night, will never be forgotten. I don't believe so much in coincidence, but I definitely believe in God-cidence. Providence. Who knew that a gift of pheasants could be such a ministry in two directions. Angels apparently come in all shapes and sizes.

Pheasants on the highway!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Ever Watchful One

     A number of years ago, I had an exciting adventure meeting wolves face to face. Always found the creatures fascinating, so when the opportunity arrived, I was all over that.
     It was a sloppy spring. Mud season as we call it in Colorado. Snow still remained in large patches in the forest at the 9,000 foot elevation. The driveway into the wolf sanctuary was in tough shape after the long hard winter, so walking in from the main road our only choice.
     Having been invited, my friend and I made our way over the muddy, sticky ruts down the hill to the main house. Our hiking boots slurped and slooped as we pulled our feet through the mess.
     All the while we walked, we were watched. We sort of felt it before we saw it. "Lobo" (fitting name) a white wolf kept a vigil from a distance. His long, white legs paced across the hill behind the trees as much as he could keep himself "hidden".
Ever mindful of each step we took, each movement we made, each sound uttered (ever so quietly on our part).  We knew he was there, so we kept one eye in the direction of the wild animal, the other eye manuevering around the slop. You never heard his steps, but you couldn't mistake the warning he sent out of intruders invading his territory.
     Wild may not be the best term for Lobo. Living in fenced in acreage, it limits the wild. But he was his own wolf. The Alpha, the one in control, the one in charge. I had no problem allowing him his self-imposed supremacy.
     We met the woman that ran the sanctuary at the bottom of the hill. A hearty handshake welcomed us warmly for our day to learn about wolves.
     She pointed out that a pure wolf has a very flat forehead. The area from the top of its head down the nose has very little drop like a dog does. Also the tail of a true wolf is flat without the friendly little curl we are used to seeing on a canine.
     Wolves and hybrids came to this sanctuary when injured or owners decided they no longer want them. Many of the animals there were Mexican Grays. Also Eastern Timbers and Reds.
     Camera in tow, I was perfectly happy to shoot them through the fencing. This was back in the day of regular film.
     The owner soon told me I was welcome to enter the pen with instruction on MY behavior. My heart began this flapjack flippin' thing, but I wasn't about to pass up the opportunity of a lifetime.
     She opened the gate, we entered slowly, cautiously, guarding our every move.
     The Mexican Grays were most leary of us. The darkest one paced nervously at these intruders of his space. Back and forth, never taking his eyes off of us.

At that point, kneeling seemed to lessen the intimidation felt by the animal.
Never had I experienced such excitement, exhilaration, adrenaline coursing through my veins, all the while doing everything I could to push any fear far down into a part of my being that could not be detected by the wolves. I hoped.
     I knelt there snapping away when one of these magnificent animals moved in close. No, not for the kill! For a lick!

     Now, I like to think that he got comfortable with me and knew I wasn't a threat. Hopefully, he wasn't tasting me. Either way, I felt something that day. A trust between two creatures. A moment of contact with an animal feared for generations. An animal that some would rather see eradicated. One of God's creations.
     In the distance, we could still see Lobo silently but rapidly pacing the forest. Watching over his domain. Waiting.
     Looking back on this adventure, it reminds me of something far greater. SomeONE far greater who watches over me, keeps His guard up for me, but He doesn't have to pace nervously. He calmly watches, guides my steps, directs my path. Do I slow down long enough to listen for directions? I hope so. The last thing I want to do is run willy-nilly into the face of danger.
     Take time to see what God has made. Experience it. Don't allow fear to hold you back from what could rank as one of your most memorable adventures!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
Lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him
And He will direct your path!
Proverbs 3:5-6


Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Adventure of Trying to Make Lemonade

   Life loves to deal in lemons, doesn’t it? Lately our crop of lemons came with owning a 70 year old home, which is why I haven’t blogged for a while. We keep on trying to make lemonade, but for some reason it continues to stay sour and holding too much moisture. You’d think moisture would be good in lemonade, but not particularly in this brand.
   Sooner or later you have to come to a point where the situation in your life must be laughed at. The problem with that is the folks around you start to wonder if you have indeed finally lost your marbles. I’ve been looking for mine, but they are rolling around well out of reach.
  The adventure of taking on a do-it-yourself  project on a very old home is so exciting as you wait for that proverbial can of worms to open up and they start crawling all over the place. I know for a fact that you cannot corral worms of this sort.
   We’ve been pretty happy with our 1940   *cough, snort*   gem of a home. Charming old place. Started out as a cabin in the early days as folks ventured into the foothills of Colorado.  Full of history, days of old, stories only the walls know. Ah, yes, charm - full of worms and lemons.
   A leak in our basement started out the delivery of a lemon. One simple little lemon. A little digging on the outside of the foundation, just a little ways down, really, maybe a foot and a half, brought the barrel full of lemons. A hole in the cinder block. Ah, no wonder we leaked. This was not good old dependable building grade cement block. Cinder! Weak, unpredictable, unstable blackened cinder block, called such because they use ash/cinder to mix in. Makes it lighter, easier to work with. So glad they didn’t have to work too hard. I was now determined to find all sources of this leak.
   Now, this wasn’t one of my brightest ideas since we were in the middle of monsoon season here in Colorado, but never the less, I needed to know. I’m a little stubborn that way. Okay, most ways.
   It’s kind of like when we explore Colorado. Out hiking all you can think is, “I just want to see what’s over that next hill.” Guess what? It’s another hill, then another, then another. At some point you have to turn back or become Jeremiah Johnson and live off the land.
   More holes appeared as we cleared the dirt. All different sizes. Some big enough for my hand.
   The lemon delivery was now up to dump truck size. As we maneuvered a back hoe into our small section of back yard, Ron dug and dug as far as the arm of the machine would reach. Then it was shovel time.

Here's the day I hurt my back. Wonder why?

   To shorten this story, (ha) he cleared the dirt (I hurt my back mixing cement. Apparently I needed a break. So my sour lemonade had already reached its limit on becoming sweet). All holes and gaps were filled with cement including sticking enough in the hole that it went down all nine levels of block to fill the inside of the cheap old cinder blocks.
   Then we power washed. Ha, you know what? That was such a bad idea. Cinder block doesn’t dry well. Or ever. Didn’t know that. So my hubby mixed up some Quikrete mortar and smeared a layer over the whole works. We were going to make sure it didn’t leak again. Guess what?? Moisture from our sour lemonade is leaching through the mortar layer for – oh- let’s guess about ten days now WITH a fan on it, so much moisture, we can’t put the tar layer on to keep future water out of the basement.
   To say the least, we have a large hole in our back yard that I’m pretty sure will be there forever. Someday, this is going in one of my books. It’s too good of a Laurel and Hardy routine or maybe Jackie Gleason and ol’ Ralph to pass up.
   I know what we'll do…a new swimming hole? I could raise chickens. They’d never get out of the hole. Ah, no wait…I’ve got it. I’m gonna plant me a lemon tree. I wonder if they grow at this elevation.

And hey, the basement wall didn't collapse. We found the problem before that could happen! Right? That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Moose...hunting?

    We don't hunt. Just never have. But we love hunting. Hunting for us involves a camera of some sort and of course adventure.
     Living in Colorado, the news often involves animals. Usually the ones on the wild side. They're my favorite. Except for my dog. One day the news reported that the moose population in Grand County had increased substantially. That's exciting. Moose aren't the common critter out here, but occasionally in the northern regions of the state you'll spot one. If you're lucky. (Although I understand they are now moving south.)
     So Saturday came rolling around and we thought it would be a great day for moose hunting. Packed up a picnic, asked the dog if he'd like to go for a ride, which of course is a stupid question for our adventure seeking, energetic eleven year old Aussie/Chow mix, and we headed northwest.
     The news report stated that the moose were all over in the town of Grand Lake. We got there in about an hour and a half and searched the streets of the community. Over by the lake, in the woods, checked the marshy areas...nothing. Disappointment only determines us all the more. Being so close to the west entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park, we figured that was our next best bet. We had found a very large one there years ago, and if I ever find those photos (pre-digital age) I'll share them.
     Okay, I have to digress and tell that story.
     Adventure again found us on the west end of RMNP. There are some marvelous flat walking paths on the lower end of the park. We decided to go for a leisurely walk this time. We eventually made it to the creek, but a lot of bushes and trees stood between us and the rushing water. Being the explorers that we are, we trudged through the thicket ducking away from slapping willow branches as we went. We wanted to be fairly quiet in case there was any wildlife around. Finally making it through, we were able to stand upright again. We both rose about the same time and found ourselves 20 feet away from a adult bull moose. His huge antler dripped with water from his foraging in the creek for goodies. He looked over at us...chewing.
     We froze! This was a full size boy moose close to the season of the rut. Thankfully, not in it yet. He was a monster. One thing anyone with moose knowledge knows, is don't mess with a male in the rut. They've been known to flip cars up in Minnesota. Just because it was there. Glad it was early in the fall.
     When we realized he could care less about us, we started snapping pictures. It was an amazing experience. I've got to find where those photos are. If he moved, we hid behind those sturdy willow branches as if that would benefit us in any way shape or form.
     So now back to the present. We drove into the park with ever watchful eyes. Another tip if you are in Colorado, if cars are stopped on the roadside, LOOK AROUND. They probably see something you want to see. Such was the case with about five cars parked and all the people were heading into the meadow. Being the sheep that we are, we grabbed the cameras, leashed the dog and followed.
     Everyone walked gingerly over the long grasses. Gus was happy. We moved as a group, some pointing, until the oo's and ah's were whispered on the wind. There stood Momma Moose with a youngster. These photos I have.
      That's what I'm talkin' about. This was what we came for. This time we had sturdier Ponderosa Pines to hide behind. I'm not messing with a momma watching over her baby. Nope. Zoom!
We gave her all the room she wanted.
Camera hunting of wildlife is a marvelous past-time, but they have to be respected. They have to have their space. Not only for your own safety, but for them too. If you get too close, you don't get to see their natural behavior. Even from a distance, they know you are there, but if they don't feel bugged, they are fine.
     So we watched. The other people sharing this experience, were in as much awe. I don't know how long we hid in our spot, just watching, observing nature. Blue skies up above, puffy white clouds, green trees (some long dead still stood gray against the skyline), tall grasses. Peace.

Can you see them back there?

     More folks had joined us out there in the meadow. Sometimes there's some that come along and take chances that could certainly jeopardize the situation. Momma starting getting nervous when she spotted a few almost circling around, so she had had enough of her audience for the day.
     Off they went to find a more private area to graze.
     I couldn't help but wonder that day, what was God thinking when he created the moose? They really aren't the most handsome creature, bulbous nose, huge ears, lumpy back, yet we found such delight in finding them that day. I think it is one of those things where God showed his sense of humor. But it did get us the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons, much to my son-in-law's delight, so they aren't all bad.
     Regardless, I'm glad God created these creatures to add to the deer and elk family. They are a fascinating lot. Yep, I like moose "hunting". I'll go looking for that adventure again when I hear another news story.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Unexpected Adventures

  Thinking about past adventures lately reminded me of one really cool time when we were just out for a drive. Every now and then, when life is coming at you from so many directions, you just need to get away.
   For us, that means a mountain fix. It doesn't really matter what the destination is, just head west and get up in the mountains to reboot the brain. That is the beauty of living here in Colorado. You sure don't have to go far to find that mountain experience.
   One of the easiest trips for us is to just hop on I-70 westbound. Afterall, hasn't adventure for 200 years meant "Go west young man"? Heading up on a busy but well maintained highway, it is more about the views. You pass by mountain towns filled with charm. Old, abandoned gold and silver mines scar the surrounding hillsides. Look up high to see the tailings left behind from forgotten dreams of wealth beyond description. Rusting remains of mining buildings along with the broken, decrepit piles of timbers that once formed a flume to get water where they needed it. Depending on the time of year, snow capped peaks come into view. In the winter, you can see the frozen run off near the highway building into a thicker blue-ish mass of ice desperately clinging to the rock wall. An occasional waterfall frozen in time, or at least for the winter months, hangs over the edge.
    Just a get way.
    One particular day, we had driven up past the Eisenhower/Johnson tunnels, explored around Lake Dillion, then headed home again. Just a day trip. A few hours of thinking about nothing but God's creation. Mountains. Ah.......
   We got past the Loveland Ski area. I was just gazing over at the rocks on the west bound side. They were more interesting than the dead trees on my side. Suddenly I saw them. Well, whenever you see wildlife in Colorado, you usually see their butts first, since they are usually lighter in color and more noticable. Lots of butts. A nice size herd of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep were perched here and there on the rocks. I, of course, screamed, scaring my husband Ron again, and pointed. He forgave me soon enough when he saw what I was screaming about. So we took the next exit, and headed back west.
   As we neared, he pulled off as far as we could off the highway, thankful there wasn't a highway patrolman around. I think they frown on this sort of thing. But these animals were so beautiful. Where we pulled off, had me twisting around with the camera to get the photos I so desperately wanted. Turned out to be quite a photographic jackpot. I was able to get one of the best photos I've ever taken out here.
   It topped off our day of a get away adventure. My mother always told me a poem and when she gave me a gift of an oil painting kit one year, she had the poem attached inside. The title of it was, "Take Time to See". I have never forgotten it and I will always take the time to really see what is around me. It's worth it.







Lucky shot!

Monday, July 4, 2011

God in the Fourth

   Fourth of July weekend is wrapping up today after a weekend of events around the state and country I'm sure. Here in Colorado, fireworks have been going off Saturday, Sunday and especially tonight. I love fireworks. Especially while listening to our national anthem. There's just something about remembering the history of our great nation, hearing the words, "bombs bursting in air" and seeing those brightly colored enormous shapes exploding into the night sky. Every single spark reminds me of all the men and women that have given their all, and sometimes their lives, to maintain the freedom we have in the United States of America.
     From the very beginnings of this country, freedoms had to be fought for because there are so very many people that will attempt to take those freedoms away from us. Our founding fathers had all the right ideas and God has always honored our country for following God's word. A nation established according to Scripture.
     But I fear we as a nation we are slipping.
     Saturday night we enjoyed the adventure of watching Jet Cars at Bandemere Speedway in Morrison. Other cars raced for the best times as well, but I love to experience the jet cars. It isn't something you just watch.
video     As they fire up those jet engines, you can close your eyes and feel like you are standing on the deck of one of our air craft carriers as the jets wind up to shoot off into the sky above the sea. Ear plugs are an absolute necessity because that noise can blast its way right through your ear drums. You don't want to go there. Then as they inch forward to their spot at the starting line, there is a pumping thunder that pounds into your chest as the barrier of air against you is broken. Whoomp, whooomp, whoooomp. Smoke billows up behind these machines hiding everything behind them. You feel it, you smell the jet fuel, you still hear the thunder through the ear plugs, you watch as these land jets shoot off when they get a green light (and hopefully don't red light). The crowd goes wild, everyone on their feet. Exciting! Two hundred and eighty one miles per hour was the highest speed we saw that night. This video was shot when they reached 255mph. Amazing!
     More amazing than the rockets flying down the racetrack, was the fact that prior to every race event, the folks at Bandemere still ask for everyone in attendance to bow their heads and pray with them for the safety of their drivers. Most join in. Some choose not to. That's up to them. I find it so refreshing that, with the arguements in some court rooms these days, we still do have the right to pray in Jesus name and it is done. If you don't want to, you don't have to.

     They also honored our military recognizing a wounded soldier, acknowledging all veterans and active duty in the bleachers by having them stand to a rousing round of applause, cheers and whistles. The honor guard marched out, hats were removed and the Star Spangled Banner was sung.
     It was an adventure of the heart Saturday night. Heart for our country, heart for our military members, heart for our Lord God-whom this country was founded for, heart for being with good friends.
     Ah.....adventure!
    

Friday, July 1, 2011

A beginning adventure

I love adventures. Whether reading them, writing them or experiencing them, I love them. One of the things my husband and I love to do is sharing Colorado adventures with people. Living in this state, we tend to get lots of company. We are a vacation destination after all. Colorado has so much to offer. Through this blog I hope to share those adventures and encourage readers to get out there and experience their own. Along the way, I hope the reality will be for you: Life is an adventure created by God.
Good old Webster describes adventure with several meanings:
-the encountering of danger
-a daring, hazardous undertaking
-an unusual, stirring experience, often of a romantic nature
-a venture or speculation in business or finance
-a liking for danger, excitement, etc.
            Adventures don’t have to be dangerous, although it does make it more exciting, but much greater care has to be taken. We go on a lot of four-wheel drive adventures here in Colorado, but we’ve also traveled to islands for some tropical adventures, snorkeled with Stingrays, hike in cougar territory, climb some rather tricky rock areas to get a great photo of a ram or Mountain Goat, once I even willingly got into a pen with Mexican Gray wolves just to take photos of them. When an opportunity comes along that you wouldn’t ordinarily get, I like to take it on. Most of the time. I always see those opportunities as gifts from God, so I don’t want to pass it up.
The view at Castle Lakes Campground
            Our most recent adventure found us four-wheeling up to Cinnamon Pass in Southwest Colorado from the Lake City side. We were staying at Castle Lakes Campground, which by the way, is one of the nicest campgrounds we’ve found, and right on the southern route of the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway.
We took off early in the morning, the cooler packed, our dog Gus hanging out the back window waiting for his own adventure. The day started out with sunny blue skies, comfortable temperatures. When the sun shines in Colorado, the temps are always comfortable. Dressing in layers is the key. Soon the road turned to where you really needed four-wheel drive and up we went. The higher in elevation we went, the more snow piled here and there. In mid-June, anything is possible for snow depth. But the road was passable so that’s all that mattered.

It was a bumpy ride, but fascinating to see the small, delicate alpine flowers popping through the places where the snow had given way to spring. Photo opportunities abound in the high country. We spotted several marmots, a large woodchuck-like creature common to elevations. Even the Pika came out to pose for photos. Our love for photography goes hand in hand with our love for adventures.

We reached the top of Cinnamon pass, 12,640 feet above sea level. Amazing views surrounded us. Standing there on top of the world (practically) you could turn around in a circle and see nothing but snow covered peaks. No civilization, no traffic, not anything other than God’s creation. Oh, and two other cars that had stopped up on top of the pass as well. We of course had to all visit only to find out one couple were our “neighbors” at our campground. The other gal was also staying at the same place but in a cabin. We laughed at the irony.
Being up that high, with nothing in sight, we all decided to stick together as we headed for Engineer Pass to make the loop complete. Now if you don’t know anything about Engineer Pass, let me put it this way….there are T-shirts that say “I survived Engineer Pass” with a cartoon of a bug-eyed couple with arms flailing on steep narrow roads. Panic stricken faces. Yep, that was our goal for the day.
We took off with our three vehicle caravan and got roughly two hundred feet when the couple behind us caught up rapidly honking the horn madly. Hmmmm…Houston we must have a problem. Hubby stops, gets out, sure enough, a problem. On a rocky, narrow road at twelve thousand feet, a flat tire. The gentleman behind us watched it slowly let loose of its ability to progress down the mountain.
Adjust adventure.
In all our years and all the trails we’ve taken our poor Durango on, we’ve never had a flat before. Fortunate, but now here we were. Our new traveling companions all stopped to help.
I’m not sure what we would have done without them slowing down “traffic” of other adventure seeking four-wheelers, the other man’s help with the heavy work since my hubby was still recovering from shoulder surgery, and just the moral support while hanging off a mountain to change a tire. It was a blessing. Divine appointments come in all kinds of ways. This one included. We were so very thankful for the help. The single gal even led the way down into Silverton, the only town close enough to get a tire repaired or replaced. (We did have to replace it since the flat one had quite a slice in it. Rocks are sharp!)
So safe and sound, our planned adventure changed, but it was definitely even a blessing to get the flat and change our direction. We heard from several individuals in town that Engineer Pass was in bad shape this spring. A flat might have been the best thing to have happen that day. Maybe God was steering all along. Ya think?