Well, this happened. Our youngest son has graduated from Teton High School. We are so proud of him and all of his accomplishments. Come August he will be off to study physics at MSU Bozeman!So in honor of our great success thus far in raising our three boys in the small community of Teton Valley, Idaho, we took ourselves on vacation. With North, South, East or West our options. Glacier National Park was still partly closed due to snow, we save the East for trips to visit family and we went West already a few months ago on a ski trip. So South it was. Southern Colorado imparticular. Neither of us had ever been and we were feeling ready to get hot!Of course always staying on par with adventure and keeping it fresh and us on our toes we found every dirt road possible to test our trusty Volkswagen Van. A 1991 Syncro Westfalia with a Subaru engine and a big old solar panel with a penchant for exploring remote regions with enormous beauty! This incredible camp site called Point of Pines is off of the Blue Mountain Rd. A dirt road that heads east into the heart of Dinasaur National Park. Straight up for several thousand feet on rocks shaped like sharp, geometric shapes. The van could barely make it in first gear. We once passed a rancher who couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw us crawling up that mountain side. But that view and those ancient pines and that dramatic sunset sent all the stress that had built up since our last vacation straight out the window. Especially the next morning when we took turns riding our mountain bikes down hill about 12 miles. On our way South we stopped off in Fruita, Co. A town that is known for some excellent mountain biking. We got to the trailhead at literally the hottest part of the day. We have yet to experience heat where we live so it felt a little overpowering. But we headed off anyways on a 2 hour bike ride. Hot as hell is all I can say. Next stop, Mesa Verde National Park. That’s two Natioal Parks so far! Which I think is super cool because it’s the National Parks Centennial anniversary this year. We drove to Mesa Verde along the Dolores river. This area is incredible and deserves a trip of its own. We stopped at West Creek during the hottest part of the day and found a crystal clear pool of cold La Sals Mountain runoff to soak in. WOW!!!! This place is amazing! What history! We hiked an ancient pathway along cliff edges to hidden communities, cool in the shade of the walls. Springs seeping in crevasses provided fresh water and strategic planning allowed them to grow CORN!
I wish I knew the story the were telling. Up the ladder…
To this incredible dwelling that consisted of two Kivas. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.
These Kivas would have a roof on them which would allow this space to be living space also.
These are corn grinders that were found right here. Much of the main water source for this region is the Mancos River of which the head waters are in these 14,000 foot mountains off to the North of Mesa Verde. The tallest one being the sacred Black Mountain of the northern most boundary of the ancient Pueblo People’s territory. So where do we head? Straight up a dirt road leading to the flanks of these sacred peaks. Immersing our imaginations into what life was like so many hundreds of years ago for these ancient dwellers. 12,000 feet in Colorado is pretty easy to access. So after a short hike to above the tree line we find ourselves back in the snow and loving it. The Mesa off to the right of this picture is Mesa Verde. Again we took turns riding our mountain bikes back down and out of these incredible mountains. Through the town of Durango onto Hwy 550 to Silverton and up to the mining ghost town of Eureka we found our next camp. It’s crazy to me how exploited the land is in Colorado from mining.
Noon in the the town of Ouray, (they call this place the Swiss Alps of the US) while sipping on a cold brown ale, cast in the shadows of 14,000 foot peaks. We start to realize that we are very close to Telluride and the Telluride bluegrass festival is going on this weekend. So we scout the map for a pleasant dirt road to venture up. We come across Last Dollar Rd. Up, Up, up to 11,000 feet. We meet some older guys in their late 60s who were riding their bikes from Fort Collins to Telluride. Pretty ambitious dudes! We find a killer camp site and the next morning found $30 tickets for the Thursday show. I have always wanted to go to the Telluride bluegrass festival. It was cool how it just worked out. The town of Telluride is incredible. A Huge waterfall that grows throughout a hot summer day is just right up the valley. The best part of the day was seeing John Prine. And meeting all sorts of great people. Other than that we found it very hot and covered in tarps. We were happy to move on and get back into the woods. However finding a campsite during this festival in the region was pretty tough. Needless to say we found a dirt road that went straight up a mountain to an amazing lake. Atlas Lakes. We decided since were pretty close to Glenwood Springs that we would head up there to see my brother and sister-in-law. On our way we stopped at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. That’s 3 National Parks! After a great unexpected visit with my brother and sister-in-law, We all got in a great soak together at the Glenwood Hotsprings and we were off. Heading north. Back home. Never willing to give up the adventure we found whatever dirt roads we could to cross the country into Rocksprings. The Vermillion River. Just on the north east part of Dinasaur NP. Through Irish Canyon. A few more stops in the ancient landscapes of our ancestors and we find ourselves home. It’s not to bad to come home from vacation when we live in such a beautiful place. But did I miss anything from home while being gone for a week? No!
I saw this awesome hat on my friends head, I honestly think it is among the coolest hats I’ve ever seen. So I begged him to buy it off his head. No, no, no. We were at a restaurant and both went about our lunch. When we were about to leave I said one more time to him, “$30 for your hat!” No, no, no! I stopped in the bathroom before leaving and as I walk up to my truck he had left the hat on my antenna!! What an awesome gift. Thanks Watts!!
But that’s not all. The reason I’m so drawn to this hat is of course the image. A dark fall path surrounded in golden light and trees. As a young girl I had a reoccurring dream for many years of walking along a path that looks exactly like this one. It would always end with me walking into a castle and hiding from guards and Knights. Anyways, I think it’s pretty cool.
Such a small act of kindness, felt to me like a mini miracle. And it’s mini miracles that give me hope in a sometimes dim world.
I have another really cool hand painted hat that has an interesting story. I spent a month working in LA this last spring. I was heading into Hollywood for the day with my girlfriend for lunch, farmers market and shopping. We had just pulled out of the Hollywood Hills and into downtown when I see a hat in the middle of the road. We just happened to be at a stop light so I ask my friend to jump out and pick up the hat. Feeling only slightly frantic and like we were playing the Chinese fire drill in afternoon traffic. Turns out it’s a killer hand painted really artsy hat that I just adore. Another mini miracle. I had a feeling that the artist may have thrown the hat out for someone to find. Sort of as a part of the art.
Humans interacting with other humans, keeping life interesting. I’m grateful for this human nature.