Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Isabelle Lake

We were in Oklahoma recently for a wedding and some fellas struck up a conversation with Chris at the coffee bar. On hearing he was from Colorado, they slipped further into an Okie drawl.  "Weelll ah just can't magin whhy anyone would want to live theyr. Too cold. Too much snow. Me, ah'm a lizard, I like the sun".

Yep, you're right. You should probably stay right where you're at. It's a dreadful place to live, but we try to make do...

Some views from our most recent hike.
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Lake Isabelle
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Cummings kids+Sparks kids = muddy, artistic explorers talking about guns
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Indian Paintbrush
What hike would be complete without a picture of the Indian Paintbrush? Maybe because it's one of the only wildflowers that I know it's name? Here's another just for variety's sake: 

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Pretty unnamed wildflower

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The afternoon thunderstorms came rolling in and gave us a gorgeous panorama of shifting clouds filtering the sun into an ever changing array of light. 

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The ever awesome Esther Sparks
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Leyla and Chloe shenanigans
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It's a menhir!
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Happy trails.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sand Dunes

The kids and I took a mini road trip to the Great Sand Dunes a while back. Mini means under 6 hours. And just for fun, we borrowed another child for the trip. The rules were simple, we had a destination in mind, I was not planning anything, and the answer to almost anything was Yes. It was really freeing, and liberating from the daily "have to" list of responsibilities. I explained that for this trip we were a democracy and everyone had equal voting rights. I had some cash in my pocket and when that was gone, we were done.

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We arrived after two little detours, (one slightly unplanned, but Siri set us to rights again) and the other was a spur of the moment decision to hike to the top of Zapata Falls. It was amazing watching my little monkeys gleefully scamper along the slippery sides of the canyon we had to climb through holding on to wires bolted to the side.

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The fog from a wildfire
Our plan was to camp if we found an open spot. I was extremely proud that I pitched the tent all by myself. Sure, I used rocks instead of stakes, and the rain fly fit on weirdly, but at least it was still standing in the morning. (Chris later laughed that my "rain fly" was the top of our teepee tent thing.) Whatever. I'm still awesome for providing shelter.

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The smoke made for an amazing sunset
Our food prep was simple, a trip to Vitamin Cottage to stock up on all sorts of non perishable things. And there was a restaurant nearby. So we had pie and coffee for breakfast, except for Justice who opted for the classic brownies and ice cream.

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It felt like we had landed on another world. And nobody complained that our toothbrushes and toothpaste had somehow disappeared in the car and we had to wash our teeth with our fingers.

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Justice being gnarly
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Aidan sandboarding like a pro
We waited in line to rent boards behind a fastidious gentlemen with ironed shorts and a belt who was making sure that everyone knew their place in the que. Our little crew was amused by his orderliness and came to the conclusions that 1). He was probably an engineer (bless his heart) 2). He had probably not forgotten his toothbrush 3.) He was not having nearly as much fun as we were.

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Yes we did slide down the steepest slopes that we could find
Every few minutes, the wind would pick up and blast us in a mini sand tornado. I was wearing jeans, but had the unfortunate experience of having a whirlwind of sand find it's way down the back of my pants.  Days later, we were still finding sand in our ears.

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Chloe was a trooper and hiked just as hard as the bigger boys. She's one tough little cookie.

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Taking a break
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Chloe and Justice after sliding down
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The view from the (almost) top
After a hard day of playing, we drove home. We drove through a town that was later evacuated because of the wildfires nearby.  We managed to hit Denver right around rush hour traffic which meant that we spent an hour in traffic that had Aidan naming a new game called Angry Mommy-it's not quite as fun as Angry Birds. But nobody threw up in the car which is always a success on road trips, and I always saw the kindly policemen before they saw me. We made it home with a few coins left, a car full of sand, and some new stories.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Little Hike

Yesterday, the kids and I went for a wee (7 hour) hike with a friend.  It was absolutely, stunningly gorgeous, and fed our souls.

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Diamond Lake
See waterfall equals want to climb waterfall for my small ones.

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That little dot at the top? There's Aidan, with Chloe not far behind. I was just happy they didn't meet a bear at the top munching on some berries.

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I did, at this point, decide that we should probably climb up after them

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A close up of the awesomeness in action
The view from the top...

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I was bummed that I hadn't brought my big camera because I didn't want to hike in with it and everything else I was carrying. Chloe lent me hers instead.

Proof that I was there...

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Obviously I missed the photo bomb cue, but if you look close, the holes in my pants look like a face

We walked through fields and fields of wildflowers. I saw magenta colored Indian Paintbrushes, wild roses, lots of ones that I couldn't identify and of course, the Columbine.

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