Posts tagged ‘Colorado’

mountain top R&R

Colorado offers such gorgeous scenery and exciting activities, so we have decided that we will spend as much time as we can exploring our beautiful state, instead of traveling to other destinations. Why not save some money and see what fun there is to have in our backyard?
This time we didn’t plan the trip. My parents were offered the use of a log home in Steamboat Springs. I have lived in Colorado for a total of eighteen years and I’ve never been there. The home wasn’t in Steamboat, but more than 20 miles farther, outside a town named Clark.
After driving a few miles up a rough dirt road we came to the house, which the owners called a “cabin”. I wouldn’t really define it as a cabin, they were being modest.

The "cabin". Photography by: Ryan Johnstone

The view was breathtaking, especially on the mornings when the fog rolled in and settled in the valley.

View from the porch. Photography by: Ryan Johnstone

View from the porch (Mt. Hahn). Photography by: Ryan Johnstone

During the kids’ naps, I wrote and read on the deck overlooking a valley and mountains in the distance. The kids loved the

The BEST seats in the house (or outside the house). Photography by: Ryan Johnstone

free space to RUN, and the adults (as well as the kids) enjoyed the free space to ride four wheelers! Pearl Lake State Park was a short ride away, and the brave drivers tested me on the trails in Route National Forest. I barely passed.
It was a great weekend with family, surrounded by beauty and silence.

When is getting away really getting away? Do you seek solace in an adventurous city? Is getting away with your family relaxing? So many people spend their only vacation every year with family that stresses them out. Is that you? Is there a balance between being kind and getting your own relaxation time in?
What about finding adventures in your own state? Have you explored what it has to offer?

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September 14, 2011 at 1:50 pm 2 comments

holy haboob

I lived in Phoenix for five years. Five extremely hot and miserable five years. Not only is it like living somewhere near hell, you also have to deal with Haboob’s (giant dust storms).
One morning I walked out of my apartment on my college campus to find that it was foggy on a very warm, dry desert day. My roommate, who had grown up in the city didn’t seem to think anything of this phenomenon. Finally I had to say something. It came out as less than educated. “Why is there fog on a humidless spring day?”
She laughed at me, “That’s not fog. It’s dust.”
I ran for the cover of my car and slammed the door, hoping that it wouldn’t seep in. Then I wondered how people could enjoy living there.

photo taken by Ed Goldney

At other times I had the opportunity to see the enormous dust clouds rolling into the city (as you’ve most likely seen in the news recently, and in the picture on the left).  A wall of dirt. Usually it wasn’t a billowing cloud like the one which overcame the Phoenix area on Tuesday.
I would tell those fortunate souls living in other states of Arizona’s odd weather patterns, and they would look at me with disbelief (not the “I’m in awe kind,” but the “I simply don’t believe you” kind). This usually happened when I described the great Haboob’s. By the way, could they not find better terminology to explain these dust bowls?
Now I have proof that I wasn’t crazy, and that it really is horrible when these mammoths invade the town.

Since I have ranted about how much I hate Phoenix, I will highlight some of it’s attributes, because they do exist.
The city is kept in pristine condition, streets and sidewalks are kept free of trash, plantings grace side streets, art work is displayed along the freeway overpasses. Now that I live in a smaller town, I miss the variety of shops and restaurants the upper scale areas of Phoenix and Scottsdale have to offer.  In the middle of winter the trees are still covered in leaves, and the grass is still boasting emerald hues.
One early March, my friend who had grown up in Phoenix came to visit me in Colorado. She commented on the scenery, “It’s dead and ugly.” The winter hadn’t waned yet, dormant grass and trees were everywhere. I was surprised. All the states I had grown up in (and there were a few) had four seasons. For the most part each one had something we could enjoy, so when all she saw was dead foliage, I began to look at it from her perspective. Phoenix was green year around. It was pretty, and it smelled wonderful. That is Phoenix.
See, Phoenix does have some positive qualities, just not for this heat sensitive, cold loving, dirt hating girl. Colorado fits me perfectly.

July 8, 2011 at 3:27 am Leave a comment

a vacation to Ouray, Colorado (post #3)

Ouray, Colorado
(you-ray)

Every day while in Ouray, me, my chocoholic self, and my husband trekked through the door of Mouse’s Chocolates & Coffee – one of my favorite shops in town. They have a large selection of decadent chocolates, delicious coffee, and tasty shakes to choose from. Mouse’s Chocolates has been selling to chocoholics in Ouray (and via outside orders) for many years, and recently expanded their building. You can watch them creating their signature chocolates in one window, while in the next purchase the goodness, and sit to enjoy them.

Buckskin Booksellers

I couldn’t leave town without checking out the local Ouray bookstore, Buckskin Booksellers. Tall shelves make of mahogany packed with books make the little store so inviting. Choosing from historical books on famous Coloradans, the newest best sellers, and books by the author Sandra Dallas  proved difficult. Sandra Dallas won out since I’d been wanting one of her recent novels, and I wasn’t sure if she was selling them in ebook format.

This trip was for pure relaxation purposes. Neither one of us was up for adventure (our day to day life contains enough). On other trips we have taken off on four-wheel drive trails and hiking trails. The four-wheel drive trail I prefer is Yankee Boy Basin. It’s fairly easy, and there’s a small chance of death. Those are both positives in my tourist book. Although, passing vehicles along steep, harrowing cliffs does rack my nerves. It’s still nothing like the famous Black Bear trail – you will never find me on that one.

At the beginning of July a gorgeous landscape of mountain wild flowers can be seen on the Yankee Boy Basin trail. The valley also offers the most spectacular views of the mountains. This is a spot where I dream of building a little cabin. The following pictures were taken during a trip we took to the Ouray area in 2009.

mountain wildflowers in Yankee Boy Basin

Yankee Boy Basin

Yankee Boy Basin

Well, that concludes our trip to Ouray, Colorado. It seems it’s a well kept a secret among those living in our state. Some know about it, but don’t visit, and others love to travel there. Yet, we continually run into visitors from other countries. Diverse languages abound in Ouray, and for me, the non-world traveler, that makes it all the more intriguing.

June 2, 2011 at 7:52 am 2 comments

Ouray, Colorado (post #1)

Ouray, Colorado
(you-ray)

Ouray, Colorado – the definition of majestic beauty, and known as the Switzerland of America.

Ouray, Colorado

My husband and I traveled there once again for our anniversary. We can’t help it, this quaint town nestled among the towering peaks of the San Juan Mountains draws us.

On our way, I was hoping to find the perfect little deli for lunch. To my surprise the town of Delta didn’t let me down. We found a charming eatery that boasted bagels, sandwiches, and coffee.

Even if my bagel was rock hard, and the cookies didn’t come out much better, it was still the perfect beginning to a wonderful weekend.

Ouray is only one hour (fifteen minutes if you go back-country) from the popular town of Telluride, Colorado. Although, the two are drastically different. I have only been to Telluride on a few occasions. Reason being, it’s not usually the atmosphere I’m looking for. Telluride is a bustling ski town. Pedestrians, shops, and vehicles are crammed together in a small valley. Noise, expensive food, purses, clothes, and jewelry avail themselves at every crack in the sidewalk, and the city charges you to park in the dirt. I admit that I do not own a Louie Vuitton hand bag, nor do I don Robert Marc sunglasses, and never will, therefore, the shops don’t appeal to me. Yes, the surrounding mountains lend their slopes to skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts, but I can find complete packages that attract me more than this town. Breckenridge for example. Now that I think of it, each town gives off it’s own aura.

be sure to watch out for falling rocks (Cascade Falls on another trip)

Ouray’s is calm, inviting, and peaceful. It says, grab your favorite cup of tea or coffee, and sit a while. Take a deep breath and gaze upon the awe-inspiring mountains. When you feel you’ve relaxed enough, take a hike to Cascade Falls, or one of the many hiking trails Ouray has to offer.

Our goal for the weekend was simple. Relaxation. We were a little concerned when our first afternoon closed with a downpour and small snowstorm. Hanging out and reading in our room brought some much needed rest, but it wasn’t quite what we had imagined.

The snow quickly subsided and leant the evening to clear skies and cool temperatures. What to do for dinner…? Our favorite restaurant, the Goldbelt Bar & Grill, was closed. The Goldbelt has a great family friendly atmosphere and delicious food. If you decide the weather isn’t to your liking, they have large comfortable booths lining a tall wall of windows which face the surrounding mountains. If you are a fan of the outdoors, they offer numerous tables and chairs on their expansive deck.

Being that we are habitual people, and we had found something we liked, we were sad the Goldbelt Bar & Grill was closed. We thought the restaurant was closed permanently, because last year we heard it was for sale. To our delight it did open the next day for lunch.

We still needed a place to eat dinner. On one side of the street a restaurant (on the shabby side, and not one we wanted to return to) boasted, “Best burgers in town.” On the other, the Silver Nugget restaurant boasted, “Actual best burgers in town.” Since my husband loves burgers, I decided to let him have his pick. That, and it was half his anniversary too. The Silver Nugget it was.

I think Justin liked his burger, and my chef salad was good, but a miniature version of the real thing. It also lacked eggs. When I asked for some eggs, the man who was making a minimal effort at waiting tables came back about three times. First time, “I don’t know if we have any.” Second time, “They’re checking on the eggs. There was a large demand for them earlier today.” I finally decided to forego one of my favorite parts of a chef salad and dove in when he returned, “I’m still trying to decide which came first, the chicken, or the egg.” My eggs finally made it to the table. Scrambled. Yum.

our adventures to be continued…..

May 30, 2011 at 1:26 am Leave a comment

rain, rain, go away?

Many fair weather friends move to our area of Colorado because of our, well, fair weather. According to the always helpful Wikipedia, we can boast sunny days 73% of the year. Rarely will you find a soul living here who expresses their enthusiasm for cold, rainy, or snowy weather.
I fear I am one of the few that relishes in these sunless days. I  delight in them. They call for me to grab a great book, cup of tea, and curl up on the couch. On the extremely rare occasion I do come upon another who enjoys the snow and cold as much as I, we are sure to be best of friends for eternity.
Cloudy, rainy weather has masked our normally sun infused skies in recent days.  So when, after a couple of these rare days, some friends began complaining, saying they hated weather such as this, I decided to go on the defense. It is April after all, and we all know what April has in store for the natural world. Rain. Rain. Rain. Being that we also live in a semi-arid climate, the rain is a necessity. In defense of the rain, I asked if they liked flowers. (No, I am not good at comebacks. Never have been and never will be.) Relenting, they replied that, yes, they did. I think it brought it into perspective.
I suppose when we (including myself) have a life that is going smoothly, our tendency its to complain about anything that isn’t going our way. Weather being the top choosing of things to badger when we are looking for a scape goat. It’s not a big deal for someone to make negative remarks about the weather, I just tire of the griping when we really have it quite good. I imagine myself living in the drought stricken land of Texas, and praying for rain.
Not too worry, I will do my share of whining when the thermostat hits ninety degrees farenheit. I do hate hot weather!

April 25, 2011 at 2:42 am 2 comments


Tracy Dee Whitt - Author

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