Sunday, August 21, 2016

Thankfully the car troubles happened BEFORE my trip to Rocky Mountain National Park

The weekend of the 13th I was debating what to do and where to go... Crested Butte, Rocky Mountain NP, Black Canyon NP...
I couldn't decide and there were no campgrounds available anywhere (they get booked for the season so quick) so I thought, "Well I'll head to Colorado Springs and then go from there." Good thing I did. On the way to the Springs my check engine light came on. I was lucky enough to make it the 40 miles and get to a very nice shop that was highly recommended. They found a few things wrong, but it was going to take the whole weekend to fix. Luckily, I was able to stay with Laura and had a grand time!
We went to Rockledge Ranch which is a "living history farm" inside Garden of the Gods park. They have examples of old homesteads from the 1700-1900s. Volunteers dress up and will give you a history of how the original settlers of the area used to live. It was a beautiful day for a walk around the park with Laura, her dog, Raven, and the two dogs she was taking care of that weekend.

I love hanging with all the doggies. They are so snuggly ...

Afterward, we went to lunch and Laura brought me to a fun little novelty/candy shop where you can get any flavor soda you can think of including some really gross flavors like Barf, Dirt, Buffalo Wing soda, Dragon Drool, and so on. We got some to try, but we could only handle a sip or two of each cause they were way too sweet.

We also spent some time at Hobby Lobby, my favorite store. I call it "The vortex of time sucking awesomeness." But Hobby Lobby is shorter. ;)  We got a puzzle made up of covers of Nancy Drew books while we were there. We ended up working on it while watching (and singing along to) the Sound of Music in the background. (Her husband was less than thrilled.) Hehe...

This weekend, now that my car was back up and running, I drove the 3 hours to Rocky Mountain NP and explored for the day. It was the perfect day for it: 60 degrees, white puffy clouds, a slight breeze...
The scenes were so picturesque! I wish I was a better photographer cause the pics just don't do it justice.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Well I wasn't prepared for that one...

This Saturday I went up to Denver for a race. I participated in a 5K obstacle run with some friends and MAN did it kick my butt!! The altitude here was one thing that made it tough, but then there were a ton of hills to climb during the little 3 mile course. The obstacles were the fun part. The hill climbs, however, literally almost killed me. I was seeing stars at one point when I was so short of breath I thought my lungs might explode. Besides my embarrassing inability to jog up hills in Colorado I was pretty proud of how I was able to complete most of the obstacle challenges. The balance ones were by far the easiest for me. The many objects to climb over or under or through were tough, but manageable. A lot of the obstacles were over water and so if you fell you were alright, but totally soaked... which was actually kinda nice when you had just crawled through the mud and dirt. I did end up with one pretty significant battle wound from an obstacle where you had to run across these 4 floating boxes in the water. On the very last box I got both my feet on, but my back leg slipped off and I scuffed up my shin really bad. I had a big knot of swelling that showed up pretty much immediately. Today my ankle is all swollen too. Not even sure what happened there. Hope its just the swelling draining down from the rest of my leg.
Below is a link to a short YouTube video that shows some of the 27 obstacles we had to make it through. (Watch at :25 of the video. That's what I hurt myself on.)

That same evening I went to a concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater which is one of the most well known outdoor theaters due to its unique location. Its nestled in the rocks that jut out on the side of a mountain. Here's a nice description from the website.
"Red Rocks Amphitheater is a geological phenomenon – the only naturally-occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheater in the world. From Sting and The Beatles, to opera stars and U2, every artist aspires to play on this magical, spiritual and emotional stage. 
Red Rocks is a geologically formed, open-air amphitheater that is not duplicated anywhere in the world. With Mother Nature as the architect, the design of the Amphitheater consists of two, three hundred-foot monoliths (Ship Rock and Creation Rock) that provide acoustic perfection for any performance."

I saw a band named "Slightly Stoopid." It was a fun concert with lots of interesting people watching. Any excuse to see a show at this venue is worth while. 
After all that excitement the rest of the weekend was shot. I was so beat I just hung out and watched the Olympics all day Sunday. :)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Great Sand Dunes National Park

This weekend I drove just a couple hours southwest of Pueblo to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. I knew the park was a smaller one, and I figured I would not need more than one day to see all there was to see. Once I got there I realized it was even smaller than I thought and it only took me a couple hours to see the whole park. It was nothing like the sand dunes at the Mojave National Preserve that I hiked. There were a lot more people and it was much closer to "civilization." I hiked a couple of smaller trails, but did not go to the top of the dunes due to not being dressed right (there was a large muddy area to cross made by a stream of run-off from the mountains nearby and I had on hiking boots and jeans) and I was a little deterred by all the people. When I go on trails I like the seclusion...
Got some good distance shots though...

On Sunday, I did another new hike in Cheyenne Canyon to the top of Mt. Cutler.  On the hike there was a view from above of Seven Falls (one of the places that I went last weekend.) Its so interesting how from the bottom of the falls they looked HUGE. Then, from this view point they looked tinny tiny. :)
Yep. Seven falls is at the bottom left corner of the first picture.