28 July 2016

No. 63: Another New Restaurant

No. 63: Another New Restaurant

A couple of weeks ago when the fire near the cabin got scary bad, I left town. Spent the night in Denver and then met friend Monica in Colorado Springs for the day. Monica and I met when we both had horses at the same barn. Sadly, the horses are gone but thankfully the friendships remain.
She was up from Texas escaping the heat, I was in the Springs to see her and drop off the stupid Mercedes again. 
It needed to have its repairs repaired. 
Yep, you read that right. 
Bunny hit a deer in my car (um, and her car) back in November but I didn't get it fixed until June. When I picked up the car from the body shop, the hood was so catty whompus the guy parked next to me asked if I was just dropping my car off. Um, no. They've had it for ten days and this was the best they could do. So, back to the body shop affiliate in the Springs and they did a slightly better job in slightly less time. I'm still not 100% happy. But then again, it's the Mercedes. I doubt I'll ever be happy. One problem after the other. 

Monica met me at the Broadmoor Resort, one of the loveliest hotels around. The fam stayed there once a million years ago and it was delightful. It also happens to be Monica's favorite hotel in the Springs and we had lunch reservations at the Broadmoor's newish restaurant Restaurant 1858 at Seven Falls.

Walking up to the Broadmoor.
It is soooo pretty. *

The Broadmoor has a bit of a scam going with this one. To get into the restaurant, you have to buy a ticket to the Falls. Since neither one of us had seen Seven Falls before, that was ok, but still....

Also, there is no parking at the Seven Falls area, you must take a shuttle from the hotel.  That's all well and good but the restaurant called Monica's Texas phone and left a message that they would be opening later, something we didn't find out about until we got to the hotel. (Because, duh, we were in Colorado.)  Then the shuttle ran late so we finally arrived at the restaurant over an hour past our original reservation time. That means we spent quite a bit of time sitting at the shuttle stop.

I made a new friend!

No worries, they still fed us!

Seven Falls is gorgeous. One big waterfall, 181 feet high, with seven distinct drops.  You can climb the 224 steps to the top or do what Monica and I did- ride the elevator up midway. That enabled us to skip 185 steps. We didn't do the last 39 steps.  And taking this info off of the Seven Falls website, I find it hard to believe we just skipped 39 steps. It looked like a WHOLE BUNCH more than that to the top.

My unprofessional pic of the falls. 
You can see the 7 drops though.

At the base of the falls is Restaurant 1858. It takes its name from the gold rush era. Although the Gold rush started in 1848, the restaurant went with a date ten years later. Who knows why?! I'm just repeating what their website said.
The restaurant is decorated in an old west Colorado theme and the food is fresh and locally sourced when possible.

Inside 1858.
We sat on the right. *

Monica's hamburger was grass fed beef. My nachos (hey, it's been a while since I've had any Mexican food-I had a hankering) were enormous. The food was great. The company was greater. 

It was a wonderful day spent with a dear friend. The restaurant was good but not one I would need to go back to.  The falls are beautiful but no more so than much of the free scenery in Colorado.

But it was an experience, and that's the whole point of my 60x60 list. 

* photos from their website

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25 July 2016

Where to start??

Where to start???

Well, I've been out and about.

A new restaurant along with a waterfall.  (#63)

An attempt at fly fishing.  (#58)

Had my Tarot cards read. Wow! That was interesting.  (#84)

And been to a new place for me: Aspen.  There was another new restaurant there. (More #63.)

Updates to come, just not today.

But stay tuned!

22 July 2016

An Update and No. 71: Have a Picnic

No. 71: Have a Picnic and a Fire Update

First the Hayden Pass fire update.

We are breathing easier.  Literally and figuratively. After a week of smoldering skies and whiffs of campfire smoke, the fire is mostly under control and the smoke has been washed away.
We had rain. And lots of firefighters.
The stats for today (Thursday July 21) are 16,414 acres burning or burned. It is still slowly spreading but mostly into the wilderness area. 
There are 589 people working the fire today. 
Fifty percent of the perimeter is contained. I don't think it will ever be 100% until it snows because the back of the fire (away from me) is in wilderness area that cannot be accessed. That just gets to burn until it snows. Or rains for a while.

It is hard to comprehend just how much area is affected.
Maybe these pics can give you an idea:

From the highway

And a pic from the dump, across the river. 

These pictures are the "under control" version of our fire. 
So, life returns to normal. Or as normal as it gets here at the Western outpost of Green Acres

Now, on to  No. 71: Have a Picnic.

To escape the smoke, I visited Liddy's house about 2 1/2 hour west of me, across the Continental Divide, in Lake City.

I love a picnic and my friend Liddy is a pro at them. She learned from the best, her mother. Growing up I have some great memories of picnics with Liddy's family. 

And so we picnicked. At the American Basin near Handie's Peak outside of Lake City. The American Basin is known for its wildflowers and this trip did not disappoint.

We had sandwiches, adult beverages (not for the driver...this was a Jeep trip that required 4 wheel drive) and Oreos. What could be better?

Liddy, me and the picnic basket.
Braids must be my picnic hair do.

Liddy's darling daughter, Emma, who was also our fearless driver,
with her pup, Milly.

Jake, Liddy's Westie, checking out the picnic offerings. 

And wouldn't this have been a great pic if someone hadn't accidentally 
put the black and white filter on their phone camera?!
All those flowers behind me....o well.  

The flowers were gorgeous. There were tiny white butterflies everywhere. The dogs frolicked. The people frolicked. There were waterfalls and baby Big Horn Sheep. It was a glorious day. 

A little waterfall

See why it's called a basin? 


and more wildflowers....

Mama Big Horn Sheep with Baby (Not So) Big Horn Sheep


No. 71 has had its basket emptied.

* photo by Lauren Murray...thanks! Lauren!

14 July 2016

Hayden Pass Fire Update

Hayden Pass Fire Update

(I know everyone has been waiting with bated breath for an update to Tuesday's post so here goes.)

O yay! We're Number One!
The Hayden Pass Fire is the number one priority forest fire in the United States. That's a dubious distinction, not one anyone wants.

Here's a map of the area that is affected:
My cabin is a little to the left and a little above the D in "Div A".

The fire can be seen from space. 
Astronaut Jeff Williams took this pic:

FROM SPACE!!! I think I see my cabin there. Eek. 

Monday afternoon the fire looked like this from my main road so I freaked and drove to Denver.

Fortunately when I returned Tuesday evening, things had settled down a bit. At least the smoke had. 
And the fire had not spread beyond a couple hundred acres. All good news.

This morning the sky looked like this:

Forest fires are like recalcitrant teenagers that have been sent to their room for the night. You think they are in there asleep but truthfully they are on their cell phone, texting up a storm, plotting with their friends on how to get back at you the next day.  The fire "lays down" at night (doesn't that sound sweet?) and then roars back to life about lunch time the next day. (again, like a teenager-neither one gets up early.)

So I went into town and I thought I would show you your tax dollars at work. 

As I come into Salida there is "fire camp" .

This is where the big trucks are stationed, equipment, people... and apparently the extra PortAPotties...all at the US Forest Service building. 

Some of the firefighters are sleeping in those tents, others are here:

Camping at the practice field of the high school. 

These guys bust their butts and then they have to go back to tents?? Poor babies. 
But from what I am told they eat VERY well. That's good. 

On the way back home, we have a news truck on Highway 50 from one of the TV stations along with a sign warning about poor (smoky) visibility in the canyon.

In my little bitty town there is the media staging area. 

It is at the Howard Volunteer Fire Department. They are feeding the people that have been evacuated three meals a  day. If you feel like doing something really nice, send them a donation. They could use it. 
Here's their GoFundMe link:    https://www.gofundme.com/haydenpassfire

Overhead the helicopters whump whump whump, carrying their giant orange buckets full  of water.  The helicopters scoop water out of ponds and then dump them on the fire.

I think it is really cool to see them. Carlos thinks they are terrifying.

There are seven helicopters and at least one air tanker.

Bulldozers are used to create fire lines, hopefully stopping the fire by making a break in the available fuel.  We are under the supervision of a Type 2 Incident Management team.  There are hot shot crews involved....the elite of the forest fire fighters. There are baby hot shot crews also- the hot shot wanna-bes.  Four different divisions are attacking this fire from three different sides. The backside is in forest land and not easily accessible. 

But you know what? We are very very grateful for the work of the firefighters. 
See? There's a sign on the highway thanking them...

Keep up the good work. 

Hayden Pass Fire by the numbers as of Thursday afternoon:

•The fire covers 14,788 acres. That's about 23 square miles that are burning. My cabin is about 5 miles from the fire. The fire was first visible on Sunday, quickly grew to 5000 acres and now has almost tripled in 4 days.  Do the math, this fire is traveling. Fortunately, not towards me. Yet.

•There are 442 people fighting the fire. Not a lot of people for 14,788 acres.

• NO structures or lives have been lost so far. Let's hope it stays that way.

•Estimated date for having this fire completely under control and out?  About October 1, 2016 or around the first snow fall.  Most of what is burning is wilderness area which cannot be reached. The firefighters are focusing on protecting property, livestock and lives. For now, the wilderness can burn. Not much else can be done.

•O! The best part? The fire is ZERO PERCENT CONTAINED as of right now. Zero. Which means while I feel very safe, I also realize that 6 or 7 miles is NOTHING if the wind changes direction.

Practicing my S'Mores recipes just in case!

(Fire numbers and map from Inciweb... a really cool website if you like to follow forest fires.)


12 July 2016

Where There's Smoke....

Where There's Smoke, Yep, There's Fire...

It's Monday night and I'm in Denver because Sunday afternoon my neighbor called and said "Look out the window, there's a fire." 
Uh, yea. There's a whole bunch of smoke over that next ridge. Where did that come from? It wasn't there 2 hours ago. 


I call another neighbor, message a third. The whole little grapevine is ringing and dinging. 

Turns out there is a forest fire about 5-10 miles away. The wind is blowing like crazy. The humidity is 12%. It's hot. Basically a perfect storm. 

The fire was first reported on Friday but when the forest service went out, they couldn't find it. Same with Saturday. At 2pm on Sunday they found it big time because all of the sudden it was covering about 5000 acres. 

Smoke was wafting through the air. The wind was gusting. The sunset was incredible, sun shining through smoke. Poor Carlos was glued to my side, most likely picking up on my anxiety. 


For most of us it was a very uneasy night last night.
Some of us slept just fine.


This morning was clear with only a tiny whiff of smoke on the horizon.

By noon, that had changed. 

By 2 it was even bigger. 

And by 3:30 when I was heading home from the store...it was just flat out scary. 
Five thousand acres had multiplied to 12,000. 

That's when I decided there was just no point in waiting until an official evacuation came. And maybe it won't come. If the wind stays from the west, we are golden. If it shifts, well.....if a fire can double in less than 8 hours, I'm pretty sure it can make that 5 mile leap to my house. 

I packed Carlos in the car, sent my sweet friend Diana a message to make up the guest room and closed up the cabin. All the goodies that I couldn't bear losing are with me. 

Named the Hayden Pass Fire, it is mostly burning on federal land in the Sangre de Cristo wilderness. There's plenty of timber and dead wood to keep it happily fed, and limited access to aid in putting it out. Before I left, helicopters were flying overhead dumping water. 

Tonight the fire will "sleep" when the wind dies down. Tomorrow morning? Remains to be seen. 

Cross your fingers and say a little prayer for all the houses, animals and people of my little area. I hope I  have a cozy cabin in the woods to go home to. 

For information on this fire, you can go to:

And if you get a chance, thank a firefighter. 
Especially those forest fire fighters. 


06 July 2016

No. 82: Shopping for what???

No. 82: Visit a dispensary

O! I had an adventure recently.

I am no longer a dispensary virgin. 

Because I am in Colorado, marijuana is legal.  To a certain extent at least. 

But I had never been into one of the stores. Until this past week. 

I confess I have some marijuana infused oil, given to me by a friend, that I use on my hands to alleviate arthritis. I don't have arthritis bad yet but I get the feeling I might. Or maybe not because I use this magic oil and it really really does help with any swelling or aches and pains. 

Anyway, for those of you curious but not able, here's how my little visit went down. 

Tenderfoot Health Collective
Sounds so wholesome, no?!

Inside the front door there is a lobby with some seating, magazines and a few doors. We were cheerily greeted by a couple of women who advised us all sales were cash only. Drivers licenses were required.


We were whisked through one of the doors into a long narrow room taken up almost entirely by a glass topped counter. Jars of buds were on display, an array of pipes lined the shelves, and there was an aroma in the air. Our knowledgable salesperson inquired as to what we needed. 


Since I was mostly along for the ride, my friend put in her shopping list, mostly creams and tinctures to help with pain. Maybe a few edibles were also purchased. And a bud or two. This is definitely not the marijuana of the '70s. Back in the day, $10 would buy you a "lid", basically a 1 ounce Baggie of stems, seeds and leaves. Now all you buy are the buds for about $12 a gram. One gram equals .0353 of an ounce. Inflation. Of course, you aren't paying for the heavy stems and seeds anymore either. 

Questions were asked. Suggestions were offered. I was amazed at how much I already knew regarding the use of marijuana for cancer treatment. A few of of my regulars at the coffee shop were cancer survivors and they frequently shared their stories. I have met people here who have used hash oil to help with the pain of their cancer or even to diminish the size of tumors. Truthfully I believe that marijuana should be legal everywhere at least for medicinal purposes. I have SEEN the results. I have experienced results with my hands. Used appropriately, marijuana can be a good thing. 

Once the products were totaled up, cash was pulled out. Only a certain amount can be sold at a time to one person so we both ended up with bags, splitting the product between the two of us to keep everyone in compliance. 

It's interesting that this is a very viable business with great success. But since it is illegal federally, none of the cash can be put in banks. It is taxed by the state and there is a tremendous amount of money going into the state of Colorado coffers from marijuana sales. In fact, Colorado collected more than $135 million in taxes and fees in 2015 and $35 million of that is earmarked for school construction projects. We were told rent is paid by money order or cash, as are employees, and the employees are not even allowed to have bank accounts if they work in a pot store. Seems all very medieval and backwards. 
Maybe it's time for a change? I'm thinking most states could use that kind of revenue. 

Bags in hand, we exited the store but of course I had to stop for a pic.

A bit windy out!

High times for sure. 

*photos from the THC website

04 July 2016

Happy Fourth!


A little snippet of the Star Spangled Banner from the United States Air Force Academy Band.
They played at Riverside Park in Salida, Colorado Sunday. My first time to hear them and they were AWESOME!!!

If the video doesn't show up, click here. 

Let freedom ring!

01 July 2016

No. 80: More Home Repairs

No. 80: Let There Be Light

A little carpentry, a little electrical, a little plumbing.
I decided No. 80 would be some electrical work. Need to be well rounded, you know.

At some point I'm going to be able to build my own house. Or at least repair it. 

The front light at the cabin went out. I tried to open the fixture to get the bulb out and discovered a stripped screw. Couldn't get into it.  This is an original fixture from before we bought the place. I had already replaced bulbs in the side yard light and knew they were about $8 apiece. I whisked off to the hardware store with the grand idea of maybe just replacing the fixture. Two new bulbs for the front (IF I could get into the fixture) would have been $16 and a new fixture was $26. Easy decision. 

The existing light. 
Originally the entire top half of the cabin was
painted that lovely shade of green.
Ugly fixture, bad paint job- what is there to love here? 

With neighbor Sue on stand by to call 911, I flipped the breaker box. I've never switched out a light fixture before but I have certainly seen it done enough. How hard could it be? Not very, as it turns out. 

With the power off I unscrewed the original fixture.  A dead and deteriorating wasp nest fell out which leads me to believe it wasn't sealed that well in the first place. Like most of the electrical work in this cabin it was done a bit on the fly. There was electrical tape around one of the connections and fabric tape (huh?) around another. 

It took no time to remove the original and then I attempted to install the new fixture which I had been sure was identical to the first. Oops. No.

Like my painting shirt?
Getting those wires attached....

(The scissors in my back pocket were for getting into the packaging,
not for any actual electrical work.)

The original screwed in at the center. 

This one had two screws on either side. Because the junction box wasn't recessed, the original owners had placed two pieces of wood on either side to make the light fixture level with the junction box. Of course, the screws on the new fixture did NOT match up to the screw holes on the junction box. And there was no wood, just air to connect to. A little wiggling and I finally managed to screw the fixture in at the top of the junction box and attach the bottom screw to a wood piece. There was a slight gap which was sealed with foam sealing tape. I figured the hubs used that with the back light fixtures, so it must be ok. Silicone caulk sealed the deal.

Trying to shove everything into the junction box.

The light works beautifully. The cabin has not burned down. Yet.

What an improvement!

I think I can, I think I can.....

Many thanks to neighbor Sue for taking pics and helping me make sure the breaker was off!