Colorado – Canyon of the Ancients & Mesa Verde National Park

June 18-23, 2015

We camped at McPhee Reservoir in Dolores, Colorado for a week so we could explore the Canyon of the Ancients.  The heat wave was just getting into full swing, so we tried to get started as early in the day as we could (which isn’t very early).  We were able to get in some great hikes even though the heat was pretty brutal.  A short, but very pretty hike in our campground took us to a view over McPhee Reservoir.  We came upon a group of firefighters doing their calisthenics.  Cute!

Mike and Lucy on the

Mike and Lucy on the “Can Do Trail” at McPhee Reservoir

Approaching the overlook and a crew of firefighters doing exercises

Approaching the overlook and a crew of firefighters doing exercises

Can Do Trail 4Can Do Trail 5On another day we did a 9-mile hike called Boggy Draw Trail in Dolores.  We were under a time constraint because we were scheduled for a ‘basement’ tour at the Anasazi Heritage Museum.  So we did this hike without stopping for any breaks.  Glad it wasn’t very difficult!

9-Mile Boggy Draw Trail, Dolores, Colorado

9-Mile Boggy Draw Trail, Dolores, Colorado

Boggy Draw Trail 9 miles - 2Boggy Draw Trail 9 miles - 3

We joined a ‘basement’ tour at the Anasazi Heritage Museum.  It was interesting to see how they catalog, file, inspect, research, preserve and store all the millions of artifacts at this museum.

Anasazi Heritage Museum

Anasazi Heritage Museum

This is just one of the many rooms below the Museum where millions of artifacts are researched and preserved.

This is just one of the many rooms below the Museum where millions of artifacts are researched and preserved.

Galloping Goose Railroad Museum in Dolores

Galloping Goose Railroad Museum in Dolores.  We will actually be taking a ride on this very train in July.  Should be a hoot.

We drove to the Canyons of the Ancients and hiked the 2-mile loop to view the towers  built by the ancestral Pueblo people around the year 1230 at Hovenweep National Monument.Canyons of the Ancients Natl Monument 1Canyons of the Ancients Natl Monument 2Canyons of the Ancients Natl Monument 3Canyons of the Ancients Natl Monument 4

We climbed out of the canyon on the Little Ruin Trail at Hovenweep.

We climbed out of the canyon on the Little Ruin Trail at Hovenweep.

We couldn’t resist the temptation of renting a kayak to get out on the water at McPhee Reservoir.  So fun!!

Doc's Rentals in Dolores delivered our kayak to a boat ramp on the reservoir.

Doc’s Rentals in Dolores delivered our kayak to a boat ramp on the reservoir.

Lucy thought it was great to be back on the water.  She is shaded by an umbrella that I held for most of the day to avoid too much sun.

Lucy thought it was great to be back on the water. She is shaded by an umbrella that I held for most of the day to avoid too much sun.

Kayak on McPhee Reservoir 4Kayak on McPhee Reservoir 6Kayak on McPhee Reservoir 2

Mike says my Indian name is

Mike says my Indian name is “Girl Who Does Not Paddle”. That’s the name he gave me when we took a one-week canoe trip on the Green River 20 years ago.

Kayak on McPhee Reservoir - 84

We drove to Mesa Verde National Park a couple of times.  The views are amazing!  We enjoyed a picnic lunch at Park Point, which is the highest elevation at Mesa Verde and has a 360 degree view.Mesa Verde National Park - Park Point 2Mesa Verde National Park - Park Point 3We went back on another day and toured a number of the ruins, as well as hiking the Petroglyph Point Trail, for a total of 7 miles hiking.

Mesa Verde National Park, Cliff Palace Ruins

Mesa Verde National Park, Cliff Palace Ruins

Mesa Verde National Park - Cliff Palace Ruins 2Mesa Verde National Park - Cliff Palace Ruins 3

We hiked the 3-mile Petroglyph Point Trail

We hiked the 3-mile Petroglyph Point Trail

This was an interesting trail!

This was an interesting trail!

Mesa Verde National Park - Petroglyph Trail 3

Yikes.  That's a lot of stair climbing!

Yikes. That’s a lot of stair climbing!

The view from the top of the trail made it worth the climb.

The view from the top of the trail made it worth the climb.

We very much enjoyed our week at McPhee Reservoir, which included several happy hour gatherings with fellow campers (I didn’t get any still photos, as I was busy taking video of our entertaining group).

McPhee Reservoir

McPhee Reservoir

We are now settled in for a much anticipated month in Bayfield (near Durango) with a full calendar of events to enjoy.  So …. Cheers!!

Colorado – Ridgway, Ouray, and Telluride

June 4-18, 2015

We love being in Colorado.  It’s just so darn beautiful here!  We are hiking and exploring as much as we can (between all the rain and thunderstorms).  Ohhhh, but when we get a few hours of sunshine, it is glorious!  When I returned from my week in California, we headed to Ridgway State Park for a week.  We stayed in the Dakota Terraces Loop, Site 20.  We hiked a total of 15 miles around the park.

Ridgway State Park in Colorado

Ridgway State Park in Colorado

Hiking by the lake at Ridgway

Hiking by the lake at Ridgway

Ridgway State Park

 

A 9-mile hike over the peak

A 9-mile hike over the peak

 

 

Ouray, Colorado - Switzerland of America

Ouray, Colorado – Switzerland of America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We drove to Ouray a couple of times to hike to the beautiful waterfalls there.  On a cloudy day we did the short hike to Box Canyon Falls.  Then returned on the next beautiful day to hike the 6.5 mile Perimeter Trail which climbs the mountain and encircles the town.  A fun hike!

Ouray Perimeter Trail

Ouray Perimeter Trail

05 Ouray, CO Perimeter Trail

On the footbridge over a canyon on the Perimeter Trail

On the footbridge over a canyon on the Perimeter Trail

The trail included a series of steep stairs down the cliff after exiting a tunnel.

The trail included a series of steep stairs down the cliff after exiting a tunnel.

07 Ouray, CO Perimeter Trail

Cascade Falls on the Perimeter Trail

07a Ouray, CO Perimeter TrailWe didn’t take Lucy on this hike, so we were free to visit the Ouray Brewery where we enjoyed lunch on their upper deck.

Ouray Brewery

Ouray Brewery

We avoided taking The Bear over the “million dollar highway” as we work our way toward Durango.  That’s just too, too scary for me .. and dangerous.  So we took Hwy 62 over to Hwy 145 and headed south to Cayton National Forest Service Campground (about 20 miles south of Telluride).  Got a fantastic site (#17) for a week right on a roaring river.  I loved listening to the rushing water.

Cayton NFS Campsite, Rico, Colorado

Cayton NFS Campsite, Rico, Colorado

This is the view from our window.  The river is right beside us.

This is the view from our window. The river is right beside us.

We took a 5-mile hike on Basal Pass Road behind our campground

We took a 5-mile hike on Basal Pass Road behind our campground

Animals were regularly spotted.  I usually wasn’t quick enough with the camera to get a shot before they would run away.

12 Moose13 Marmot13 marmot 313 Marmot 212a Deer14 Elk herd

We made a number of trips into Telluride to walk around town, do some grocery shopping, check email (since we didn’t have wifi at the campground).  On one visit, we took a 6 mile hike up to Bridal Veil Falls.  It rained on us a little during the hike, but it was worth getting a little bit wet and the sun dried us out quickly after the shower.  Then we got soaked again from the spray of the waterfall!

Telluride, Colorado

Telluride, Colorado – See the zig-zag trail up the mountain and one of the waterfalls

We begin our hike on the River Walk Trail through Telluride

We begin our hike on the River Walk Trail through Telluride

Half way up the mountain, looking back at Telluride way in the distance

Half way up the mountain, looking back at Telluride way in the distance

Getting close to the waterfall

Getting close to the waterfall

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls

Near our campground, we took a 10-mile drive on a jeep road to reach the Navajo Lake Trailhead.  It was a beautiful drive, but the trail was too muddy to hike, especially since we had Lucy with us.  We started the hike, but turned around when it became apparent that it wasn’t going to get any better.

Driving to the Navajo Lake Trailhead

Driving to the Navajo Lake Trailhead (another reason to get a Jeep!)

Navajo Lake Trail - too muddy!

Navajo Lake Trail – too muddy!

So we took another 45 minutes on the dirt road to drive back to the highway and head up to Lizard Head Wilderness Trail.  We were about 2.5 miles into the wilderness when the sky opened up again!  We turned around and hiked the now muddy trail, with stream crossings, while the rain drenched us for the next hour as we returned to the car.  I wish I would have thought to take a picture of Lucy at the end of that hike!  I wrapped her wet, muddy body in a towel and held her til we got back to the RV where she got a nice warm bath.

Starting out on Lizard Head Pass Trail.  We should have noticed the clouds coming in.

Starting out on Lizard Head Pass Trail. We should have noticed the clouds coming in.

After the meadow, we head into the forest on the Lizard Head Pass Trail.

After the meadow, we head into the forest on the Lizard Head Pass Trail.

I got this one picture when the rain started, but then I had to protect my camera in a waterproof bag.

I got this one picture when the rain started, but then I had to protect my camera in a waterproof bag.  We got soaked and muddy!

After our rainy week at Cayton, the weather cleared completely on the day we departed.  We are now at the McPhee Reservoir National Forest Service Campground looking at 90 degree weather all this week.  We’ll be exploring the Anasazi Heritage Center, Hovenweep National Monument and Canyon of the Ancients.

McPhee Reservoir in Dolores, Colorado

McPhee Reservoir in Dolores, Colorado — Our home for the next week

Cheers!

 

Quick Trip Home to California … Waaaaayyy Too Quick

I flew out of Grand Junction, Colorado, leaving Mike and Lucy to fend for themselves while this California girl enjoyed a week with daughter and family.

I left Mike here at James M. Robb State Park in Colorado.

I left Mike here at James M. Robb State Park in Colorado.

My regularly scheduled skin cancer screening appointments with my dermatologist in California give me a great excuse to fly home for a great big dose of loving warm fuzzies from the family.

Me and My Daughter Kimberly

Me and Kimberly

Paige and Kimberly

Paige and Kimberly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was welcomed by my granddaughter Paige with a trail of these love notes leading up the stairs to her bedroom which she shares with me when I’m in town: “First of all, I love you!” “I love your smile” “I love your laugh” “Your smile makes me smile” “Your laugh makes me laugh” “You are such a great photographer” “You are a great mom” “A great wife” “and a great grandparent” “I don’t know what I would do without you” “You are so thoughtful and caring” “You are so motherly” “Who can resist? No one” “My friend and I agree that you look 50” “I love your hugs” “You give great advice” “I am so lucky to have you in my life” “I can’t wait for the summer trip” “Please stay longer” “I love you no matter what” And the final note pictured below:

10 California Visit - 0511 California Visit - 06

Garrett, Kailyn, Brady, Me, Paige, Kimberly

Garrett, Kailyn, Brady, Me, Paige, Kimberly at Brady’s 7th Birthday Party

I intentionally planned my trip home to coincide with my granddaughter Kailyn’s school play.  She played “Tootles”, one of the Lost Boys in Peter Pan.  Kailyn is a natural on stage.  (She also belongs to Toastmasters and the school chorus)  She has a strong, clear speaking voice, a pitch-perfect singing voice, and a beautiful face.  It was quite a production (3 hours!) that the cast and crew have been working on since September, complete with set changes, lighting and sound crew, intermission, and all the stuff that goes into a professional stage production.  They performed the play once for all the students during school hours, 3 evenings, and a Saturday matinee.  She was, of course, fantastic.

Kailyn, as Tootles in Peter Pan

Kailyn, as Tootles, one of the Lost Boys in the stage production of Peter Pan

12 California Visit - 60 12b California Visit - 64 12c California Visit - 69 12d California Visit - 70

Garrett’s high school baseball season has finished, and now he has been recruited to play on a Garciaparra Baseball Group team.  GBG is a premier high school level baseball club focused on development for college recruitment.  He will be traveling with the team to Phoenix for a week of tournament play in a couple of weeks.  We are so excited for him to have this opportunity.

Garrett playing First Base

Garrett playing First Base

Got it

Got it

 

 

 

 

15d Garrett GBG Conejo Baseball

Proud Parents, Lance and Kimberly

Garrett (r) receives Most Inspirational Player Award at school

Garrett (r) receives Most Inspirational Player Award at school

I was so excited that Paige had a soccer tournament that weekend.  She is a defender, and she’s very good at it.  But she loved that she got the opportunity to play forward during part of one of the games in the tournament, and she got the assist on a goal!  It was so fun to watch!  Her team went undefeated all weekend and won the tournament.  Woo-hoo!

16a California Visit - 13616b California Visit - 128

 

 

 

 

 

16e California Visit - 14816d California Visit - 152

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Champions!

Champions!

Blake plays high school varsity soccer, but that season ended months ago.  He earned the MVP Award at that time.  Since then he has been playing on an adult club team after being recruited by his high school coach.  I caught a pic of Blake as he was coming home from a practice.

Blake looking disheveled after soccer practice, but still handsome as ever!

Blake looking disheveled after soccer practice, but still handsome as ever!

Blake and Holly - Prom Night

Blake and Holly – Prom Night

This is a pic of Garrett and his girlfriend, Briana.  She is an outstanding softball player who was featured in the local paper for her athletic skills.  She is the only freshman on the Varsity Girls Softball Team at their high school.

Garrett and Briana

Garrett and Briana

And, not to be outdone in the ‘girlfriend’ department, here is Brady with just one of his many princesses at the Fairy Tale Ball.

Brady at the Fairy Tale Ball

Brady at the Fairy Tale Ball

May proved to be a big month for accomplishments and awards for everyone.  My family is a motivated and dedicated group of people who just LOVE what they do!

Garrett earns the Leadership Award at school.

Garrett earns the Leadership Award at his high school HSA program

Paige qualifies for the 125-mile club for running

Paige qualifies for the 125 Mile Club for all the miles she ran this school year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kailyn earns awards in Math, Reading, and the 6 Pillars of Character

Kailyn earns awards in Math, Accelerated Reading, and Exemplary Character

Lance and the Ventura County Fire Department win 2nd Place in the Annual Fallen Firefighters Tournament in Las Vegas.  Sean completes his first full marathon.

Lance on the Ventura County Fire Department baseball team win 2nd place in the Annual Fallen Firefighters Tournament in Las Vegas

Lance

Sean completed his first full Marathon

Sean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paige gave me a parting gift which was a little compact mirror in a mesh gift bag with the following note:

The person pictured in this bag is one of the most special gifts in my life.  I love you.

The person pictured in this bag is one of the most special gifts in my life. I love you.

The kids got up early to say goodbye as Kimberly and I headed to the airport.25 Blake Garrett Paige and Mamma26 Kimberly and me

Goodbye for now, California

Goodbye for now, California

Hello, Colorado

Hello, Colorado