Sunday, June 30, 2013

Camping in the rain

...soothes the soul. Or at least mine. Seriously. The last three weeks at work have been rough. Rough meaning trials almost everyday... and a ton of overtime hours.

It also meant that it was time for an escape. To recover. To recuperate. To enjoy a few days out of the ridiculous heat we've been experiencing. So... Jay and I and Mary-Margaret and a couple of her friends headed up outside of Nederland, CO to find a place to camp.  We were originally headed towards Rainbow Lakes Campground.  On the way we saw some of the most beautiful skies...

However, when we got up there on Friday evening, it was all full!  So, we dug into our Colorado Campgrounds book and headed towards Ward, CO.  Which we hoped had 3 other campsites to check out.  We headed into the Brainard Lake Recreation Area.  The campground up there was full too... but we did find one of the many "non-designated" camp spots that can be found all over Colorado.  A fire ring and flat ground works out perfectly for us!  Mostly because it was getting really dark by that point, and none of us wanted to try looking in another campground.

We quickly set up tents by flashlight and lantern and threw all our gear in the tents.  We had JUST managed to grab some food stuffs out of the cars when it started to rain. So we all piled into mine and Jay's tent to hunker down, eat some food and drink some beer.  Good thing too!  Not 10 minutes after the rain started... the HAIL started! Yes, hail. I've never experienced hail in a tent before. And I am happy to announce that all tents made it through the hailstorm unscathed. The ground looked like a dusting of snow had fallen.  The rain/hail let up enough for everyone to disperse to their own tents and we all settled in for a cool night in the mountains.

The next morning we all ended up getting up pretty early. Breakfasts were had, and we took a look around our impromptu campsite in the daylight.  It was really pretty!

We then packed up our camp and headed into Brainard Lake park to get in some hiking.  We got started really early and were pleased that we had the trail almost to ourselves!

 The conclusion of our hike was at Brainard Lake itself. And it was totally worth the hike!!! The lake was gorgeous. We had a chance to sit down, have a snack... and I even took off my shoes and socks and stuck my feet in the ice cold lake. It was lovely!

 I think we were out there for about 15 minutes before another set of storm clouds moved in.  We made for the shelter area above the lake... and boy are we glad we did! This storm came with rain and HAIL again. AGAIN!
you can see the storm clouds taking over

MM and I!

look at all the hail!

hail in action
Whew! It was quite the storm.  When it appeared to have passed we all made the executive decision to head back to the car along the road... rather than trying to head back on the trail.  This turned out to be a good decision for two reasons; 1) it started raining and hailing again after we started walking (we found another shelter to hide under for that one too)

we chose the road. It was a good road. 

 2) WE GOT TO SEE MOOSE!!!!  If you know me, you know that I have wanted to see a moose in the wild FOREVER. I've been to Alaska. Montana. Yellowstone. And live in Colorado. NO MOOSE.  BUT, Jay has awesome eagle eyes, and as we were trekking along the road, he spotted one.  Which turned out to be 4! Yes, 4 moose. Holy craptastic batman. Unfortunately, they were just far enough away that my pictures didn't turn out great. But I got one good one:

That totally made my day... and it signaled the end of ours. We headed back to the campsite...where we managed to throw up a tarp shelter just in time for another rainstorm to move in.  Food, card games and beer took up the remainder of our afternoon.  It was lovely.

The rain ended up clearing up and Jay and I took a hike around our campsite.  It was really pretty scenery.

Jay and I being goofballs

We packed up this morning and headed back home.  It was nice to shower, throw in laundry and love the kitties.  But... it was FABULOUS to be in the mountains for the weekend.  Refreshing to my soul.  Can't wait for our next trip up... now to decide where?

Hiking Adventures part 1

Hopefully this is just part 1 of many... since it is planned to go on many hikes this summer!  I have a new hiking buddy, (not a new friend, just new to hiking together!) Anne!  After discussion, we decided that we wanted to go hiking together. Sunday mornings. As often as possible.

We started last weekend by heading up to Mount Falcon, just outside of Evergreen.  It was a great start to what will be a summer of hikes!

My Best Friend's Wedding not just the title of a movie. It actually happened! This past weekend, Heather and Pontus celebrated their marriage (technically for the 2nd time).  It was held at a beautiful location in Breckenridge, Colorado. The weather was perfect, the food was delicious and the people were the best part.

Heather's friends (and mine too!) Matt and Merrit came out from San Fran for the wedding and crashed with Jay and I.  We made sure to take them on the scenic route up to Breck... stopping in Idaho Springs for some Tommy Knocker beer and heading over Loveland Pass to take in some breathtaking views.

Then it was off to Main Street Breckenridge to meet up with all our other friends in the giant Victorian house we rented for the weekend.

Saturday, I was up at at 'em bright and early... to tackle Heather's hair and make-up, getting her dressed and wedding ready.  I also acted as Officiant for the ceremony and weaseled my way into becoming Miss Stacey's assistant photographer.  Stace was the OFFICIAL photographer for the wedding, but she was awesome enough to allow me to snap some shots. I can pretend to be a good picture taker :D

Monday, June 17, 2013

Chalk + downtown Denver = Art!

At the start of every summer, Larimer Square in Denver is the host of the Chalk Art Festival.  Artists from all over Colorado (and even some from around the U.S.) come downtown and stake their claim to a 4x6 foot square on the street of Larimer or 14th.  And the art grows from there.  The things that can be done with chalk! It makes me wish that I was an artist, so that I could get down on the ground and color and blend with the rest of the artists. 

 Instead... I play the proud girlfriend of one of the artists!  Yep, thats right, Jay's artistic talents (to which he is amazingly modest about) are put to the test in chalk.  He and his friend Nate hunker down for 2 days and come out with some of the most colorful, whimsical art.  I love watching the two of them create art out of chalk.
This year's work:

the finished product

the boys and their matching shirts
Sadly, the chalk has long since been washed away.  So we'll just have to wait until next year to see what is created.