Wednesday, August 29, 2018

South Dakota

 We went where?

 After the long drive to Rapid City, SD, we needed a little fresh air but weren't in the mood for much more driving. In the past, we always enjoyed the Black Hills and Mickelson Trail. This time we stayed closer to the city.
We found nestled at the foot of the Black Hills, in Rapid City, the Chapel in the Hills,
, which is a quiet place to stretch our legs. The chapel itself is an exact reproduction of the famous Borgund Stavkirke of Laerdal, Norway and was built in 1969.

Bell tower

 The Meditation Trail winds its way into the hillside behind the chapel, complete with benches and statuary.

We were greeted at the "Stabbur," which is an authentic grass-roofed store house, built in Norway and assembled on site.

 Also on the grounds is an authentic log cabin museum. Built by a Norwegian prospector who came to the Black Hills during the gold rush, it houses articles brought over from Norway or made by Scandinavians in this country during the 1800's.

Just down the hill from the chapel was Canyon Lake Park, one of the oldest city parks in Rapid City and a nice place to continue our walk along the river.

 Rapid City's downtown has the City of Presidents, a series of life-size bronze statues of our nation’s past presidents up to George HW Bush, along the city’s streets and sidewalks.

Douglas, WY

Douglas has been a stop off on our way to somewhere else. This time, the forecast was predicting strong winds and stronger gusts for our drive. We delayed our trip and checked out what Douglas had to offer.
 We made a stop at the Douglas Railroad Museum and Visitor Center, housed in the historic
FE & MV Railroad Passenger Depot to find a geocache. It turned out to be one of the better train museums we have visited.  
Dining car dates back to 1886.

Old sleeper car

Then we headed to Camp Douglas
During World War II, Douglas had the primary prisoner of war (POW) camp for Wyoming. The U.S. military held 1,900 Italian and 3,011 German prisoners at Camp Douglas from 1943 to 1946, when allied POW camps in Europe and North Africa grew overcrowded. The camp was one of 155 built in the U.S. during World War II, the site chosen for its relative isolation.

Many of the POWs worked in the town and ranches. Appreciating the way they were treated by the US, many returned to become US citizens after the war, relocating in Douglas. (I bet a girl may have been involved.)

Wellington, CO

Finding a campsite available on an August weekend in Colorado can me frustrating. We were fortunate to find an overflow spot for two days in Wellington just north of Fort Collins. After finishing our honey do list, we headed over to the Bud Brewery for a tour, lunch and music on the patio.

The Clydesdales and Dalmatians were out on tour. We used our imaginations.

We had our 6 ounces complimentary Shock Top and a sample of their Copper Lager that is aged in Jim Beam barrels. Mike purchased a 6 pack of the Copper Lager to go. He said he should have got a case. It would take him a year to drink it.

Heading south.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Detour for jury duty

A little more Colorado 

Less than great internet or just being tired after playing seems to have gotten in the way of blogging. High in the Colorado Rockies there are just too many trails to hike and cycle.
Mike's birthday choice was to cycle around Lake Dillon and over Swan Mountain. I requested an early start to avoid the warm sun on the climb to the summit. I was finally getting acclimated to the altitude and made the ride just fine.

Happy birthday!

Fish tacos were on the Island Grill's menu at Frisco's Marina for lunch three miles from the campground.
Over the years, we had noticed a lot of people parking at this trailhead between Frisco and Breckenridge. I wanted to check it out. It turns out that very few people use this trail but use the parking lot as a starting place to ride their bikes on the bike paths to avoid the climb to Breckenridge.
 This was great for us, a nice quiet 6 mile hike on the Colorado and Continental Divide Trail.
The beetle kill was very bad many years ago killing much of the lodgepole and other pines due to warmer temperatures that wouldn't kill off the beetle larva. The forest had been so overgrown that no sunlight made it to the ground leaving the ground barren and the pines compete with the aspen for space. Before the dead pines were cleared which took many years, it was not real safe to hike on many of the trails. We could  hear the logs cracking as the wind would blow through them, knocking them to the ground.
Now we heard birds returning more than ever. The aspens and new pines are flourishing and ground cover growing nicely.

This through hiker from Massachusetts was walking the Colorado Trail from Waterton Canyon in Denver to Durango and back. Once he finishes this journey, he heads to New Zealand to walk there. He stopped to visit for a while and then turned and started walking again. He had a very steep climb over the Divide that day.

Our smoky mountains.
At night, we watched the shooting stars of the Perseid Meteor showers every few minutes in the dark mountain skies.

Colorado Springs

 I had jury duty in Colorado Springs and added some fun to the occasion. I had been excused from jury duty for 14 years since I was working as a traveling nurse and not home very often. This time they gave me a directive to pick a day in the next six months.
We joined the Colorado Springs Cycling Club's Monday dinner ride the day before my duty. It was a real treat catching up with ole friends.

I showed up for my jury duty ready to serve and was chosen for a criminal trail. As we sat and listened to the judge, I felt I could be an impartial juror. He was innocent until the prosecutor proved him otherwise. As the selection went on, the judge continued to ask us questions and people responded very strongly about the child abuse accusations. As time went on, listening to the other potential jurors, it got to me. I got some tears in my eyes that didn't seem to want to stop. I ran out of tissues and a couple of ladies handed me new ones. Needless to say, the judge sent us to lunch and had 6 of us return before everyone else. I was excused by both attorneys and the judge and was quite  thankful. It would have been a tough week lasting 4 days. I was standing on the corner when Mike cam to pick me up. He said that I just looked pitiful. I never did hear how the case turned out.   
That evening we got to have a stream side dinner with Barb and John Strom who happened to be work camping in Colorado Springs. Mike had worked with them in Mesa last winter. We had a fun evening.

Woodland Park

We arrived in our old home town of Woodland Park in time to see the motorcycle riders heading to Cripple Creek for the "Salute to American Veterans Rally". The impressive parade of motorcycles went on for 32 minutes.

We miss our hikes and happy hours with our friends in this great little mountain town but are also thankful for the opportunity to travel for a while.
Time to leave Colorado...

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Summit County

Hanging around

Frisco, Colorado

While living and working in Colorado Springs, we would always look forward to our time in the mountains of Summit County.  I would mention that I could easily stay much longer when it was time to leave. The bike paths take many different directions and the hiking trails could keep a person entertained for a long time.
Heaton Bay is our favorite USFS campground with water and electric hookups and just a couple of miles to Frisco and four to the grocery stores in Dillon and Silverthorn. 

Many mornings and evenings we could hear the osprey. We would walk down the lake and watch them catch fish and return to their nests. We have been watching one nest for several years and could see the kids grow. This year, we found a new nest as we were watching the osprey fish.

Mayflower Gulch

We have a habit of hiking many of the same trails. This time we made an effort to find some great new trails. Even though we had been at elevation for a couple of weeks, we were still moving slow as we started our hike to Mayflower Gulch on Fremont Pass climbing to 12,000 feet. We thought we could make it to the top of the mountain but weren't quite ready for 13,000 feet yet.

There were several mines in the area.

The Mayflower Gulch Trail is a direct trail into a basin surrounded by sawtooth peaks.  We started hiking up the dirt road through the forest and along a creek.  After about 1 mi, you break out of the trees, cross the creek, and are at an old abandoned mining town. 

The sawtooth ridge was impossible to ignore and we wanted to follow the trail as far as we could.  There are great views back down the basin of Jacque Peak and the ridge ahead is actually made up of Atlantic Peak and Fletcher Mountain.

The Boston mine camp with many mine ruins and a gold-veined ridge that dazzled early prospectors.

Moving slow, very very slow

Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Part of the advantage of being on the road fulltime is being able to spend time with family. We usually stay at Chatfield State Park, not far from Highlands Ranch when we visit the grandkids. Of course, we had to stop and see Tyler and Kyle play their last game of baseball of the season.

They are too cute.


Tyler had a very good game. I was surprised at how well they played.
My sister Patty and I got a chance to catch up before she headed over to a concert at Red Rocks. We enjoyed getting to know Frank.

Old Dillon Reservoir

 Clinton Lake Gulch


We weren't acclimated to the altitude enough to climb to the ridge of Mayflower Gulch to look down on Clinton Lake Gulch. We decided to drive up the road a little father and hike around the lake near the mines.
Another gulch on Fremont Pass but easier trail.

The smoke gave us hazy but still incredible views.

We were surprised to see this Ptarmigan all nestled down by the trail. In the winter they turn white to blend in with the snow. I missed the owl that we saw up in a tree.

I had seen these mountain goats climbing on the rocks while bike riding. This day we saw them down along the creek. A couple of them kept butting heads. 

Bluegrass and Brews in Keystone

We made a stop in Keystone for the Bluegrass and Brews Festival on our 28 mile to Montezuma. There were three stages of music and so many distributers of beer and food through the streets.

Each mountain town has its own evening concerts in the parks or along the lake for free and weekend festivals. Our first month here went far too quickly.

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