Thursday, June 26, 2014

Why we live here…….

We finally took a break from the house stuff and local activities and headed out for some exploring.   We drove over to  the Elk Mountains and made a nice round trip thru the scenic byways and small towns   This area is popular for hunting and fishing and outfitters are eager to take you out.  

We had no trouble finding deer.     In this shot, we had to wait while 4 bucks ambled across the road.   I wonder if it's unusual to have bucks hanging out together……..we saw other deer as well but none of the feminine gender.   Maybe they were home tending the children.  This buck had only one antler.

We also drove over to the north rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP.    The south rim is closer to us but we had heard that the other side was more dramatic.    We found this short trail with a small  pamphlet guide in a box at the beginning with markers along the way.

Few wildflowers along here except for the cactus flowers.

The trail was relatively flat and led us to the rim where the views were breathtaking.   I'm never sure if I should trust the engineers who decided to make observation outcroppings that seem to balance in mid-air.   I don't like heights as well.

It's hard to capture the dimensionality of the views but this is the Painted Wall, a massive structure rising from the gorge floor where you can see the ribbon of the Gunnison River.

The Gunnison was running wild and full.    You could hear it as you started on the trail and I'm sure it was deafening if you were down on a raft.     They do have rafting tours of the gorge but this year, the runoff is very high and dangerous so it will be awhile before the tourists can sign up .

As we continued our drive, the wildflowers became more abundant.   Still no columbines…probably mid July or so.

There are 3 dams/reservoirs in this area.     That is the actual color of the lake and the surrounding mountains.    In the distance  are the San Juans.

The next day, we joined the Cobble Creek Hiking Club.    The hike of the day was to Spirit Gulch.   It is south of Ouray and the trail head starts at 10,000 ft.    It is listed as Easy/Moderate with a distance of 4-6 miles roundtrip.    There were about 11 of us , plus 3 dogs.    We've found that there are various hiking levels in the group and altho we started out together, the more ambitious and eager souls, quickly moved out ahead.     The rest of us enjoyed the views.

The trail starts out level for a brief distance and then starts to climb up an old mine road.    ( it is currently closed to vehicles.)

We expected stream crossings but not of the depth and strength of the current.    Altho the pictures don't do these justice, the water was very cold, quite deep, full of oddly shaped rocks and very forceful.    No one fell in but we all had very wet feet.     There were 4 wide streams to cross.    At first we gingerly picked our way  but by the time we hit the 3rd one, we just waded in.   And then we had to ford the streams on the way back.

We had lovely views of Red Mountain the entire trek.

There is an old mine up there and a few dwellings scattered about.

Spirit Gulch.  Some of the group continued up on the trail to the upper right.    But the rest were happy to enjoy a respite from the climb and enjoyed the view.   At over 11,000 ft the air gets pretty thin unless you are just lounging in your cabin.

Above tree line, the flowers are smaller.   No columbine on this trip either….still too early.

Heading back, there was a small alpine lake.  Red Mountain again above us.    We climbed to about 11,500 in all.

Coming down was slow as the road had loose rocks and was slippery.  
It was a great day and about 4 miles.    We ended it with a well-earned lunch at Kate's in Ridgeway.   We'll take you there for a good meal when you come out.!     We'll also take you to Spirit Gulch if you want……..

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mindless chatter……..

NO pictures.   You'd think, with a brand new house, new stuff and new community and new views, that I should manage to show you something.     But no, the camera seems to be collecting dust.  

I'm going along on  the Hiking Club's jaunt  on Wednesday and will definitely share my views as well as early wild flowers that we hope will be out.  

We're moving right along in the furnishing dept and the fishbowl look is still prominent but we did make a decision.    Shutters should be covering the windows within 10 days.    I vacillated between blinds and shutters but finally decided that I might not need any other window treatment if I went with shutters.    We'll see…….

I don't have an end to the duck story.    The last time we saw her, she was on the golf cart path and looking a bit sad.    The golfers and maintenance workers did drive around her so I'm assuming she was still alive as the golf course crew likely would have carted her away.    There are some tall grasses nearby and we looked briefly hoping she wasn't there.     While I'm writing, I"m also watching a busy hummingbird at the feeder.  

Played PB last evening and a friend managed to take a tumble and rupture his Achilles.    Others heard the pop but he only had brief pain.   I was able to palpate a growing bump on the tendon and off they went to the ER.    Montrose is less than 20,000 with limited orthopedic services so he will have to wait a week for surgery.    I think I would hobble somewhere else and get it done.    We do hear good comments about the medical care tho.        

Playing bad golf  but enjoying it immensely.    The course is fairly flat but there's enough water to keep you alert.   Cobble Creek meanders about and it's never in the right place when you need to hit over it.   I plan to join so I can play unlimited rounds.    It's mostly empty after 5 and makes for a good walk with a few clubs.  

Finally found a good book club.   The list of books I want to read is way too long.    We discussed "The  Art of Hearing Heartbeats".   Good but not great altho once  I heard the dissection  of it, I had a much better understanding.    I'm currently reading the latest book (#8) in the "Outlander" series.    Not as good as others IMHO.

Our landscaping should begin sometime this week.    I get all kinds of ideas on my morning walks but ours will be simple for now and Randy assures me that hosta will grow just fine in our shady areas.    But then neighbors just down the street, (over wine last night after PB) , said that they get deer in the winter and they do quite a bit of damage.    They had a buck make himself comfortable on their patio.   They also have prairie dogs show up ….. I only see an occasional rabbit and lively birds.  

Enough of my nothings…….Life is good and this was one of our better ideas..  !!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Music in the mountains……...

Wasn't that a pretty moon last week?…..this pic doesn't do it justice but coming up over the Cimarron Mtns it was quite majestic.     And shining in our naked bedroom  windows, it woke us up with the bright light in the wee hours.  

The days have been warm and dry…… except for Saturday afternoon when I went to play golf with friends.    By the time we hit the 9th hole, it was 60+ degrees, dark gloomy clouds and winds so strong that hitting a ball seemed hopeless.    We scurried home before the rain.    The winds are still very gusty and legend has it that the winds stop when the snow is off of Horsefly Peak.    I'm not sure which one is Horsefly but there's still a lot of snow on the caps and it snowed in Telluride on Saturday.

On Sunday, after my coach and I played 2 hours of pickle ball with 4 others….(I'm slowly catching on  but not ready for prime time ), we joined friends at the Ridgeway Heritage Festival, highlighted by a 2 hour-long concert by Michael Martin Murphy.  His most famous hit is probably "Wildflowers" and his themes are the outdoors and cowboys.    He talked more than he sang but it was an enjoyable time among the families and cowboys.   It was a charity event for the Ouray County Ranch History Museum and we passed up bidding  for an autographed Stenson hat which went' for $250.

In the early morning hours, we heard a very loud odd sound.   It was impressive and upon investigation later, we found this wounded female mallard duck on the patio and a mark on the big window.     She looked stunned.          And then, a large brightly colored male mallard strutted up and took advantage of the situation.    I was astounded and tried to shoo him off but he was occupied.    No pictures due to the mature subject.       Later she managed to hobble over to the cart path and has remained there.    I doubt if she will make it.  

We had more furniture delivered today just as the alarm system decided to announce a FIRE !!   There was none but we couldn't turn off the system which was deafening and the electrician finally came over and deactivated it.    Just glad it didn't happen at 2 am.  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood…...

Jon drove by the other day but we missed him.    He did take a picture  as he passed overhead at probably 37,000 ft or so.  The triangle indicates where the Montrose Airport is, about 5 miles north of our house.    He came back in the middle of the night but we didn't leave the light on for him.    Next time, I hope he stops.   

 Slowly, slowly the empty echo in the house is dissipating .     I finally found a reasonably priced area rug for the living area.    It is very plushy and soft and just what I was looking for.  I suspect it can hide a lot of sharp Legos and sticky snacks.    I'll find out in July !!
Life is good out here in the West.    Too bad we didn't discover it 10 years ago…..oh yeah, we were working 10 years ago……   But now we lead a wonderful life of leisure and adventure and new people and places…..and it's the right prescription for living our days to the fullest.     Just hope the joints can keep up.       P continues his days of pickle ball.    He's scheduled to play in a tournament the end of the month.   I'll be a good cheerleader.       I do play but I prefer the golf course.    I'm playing 18 on Saturday…. I will probably walk the course as I bought a nice push cart from my neighbor.   

There are any number of activities going on around here….and they make us feel very welcome.     I joined the Hikiing Club.    They go out twice a week and have a huge directory of local hikes (within a couple of hours) ….from the benign to the strenuous and difficult.     They also go on "Adventures"  where they stay for a couple of days and explore a more distant area.    In a month or so, the wildflowers will be in full bloom and it is truly magnificent.   
Yesterday, we headed to The Black Canyon of the Gunnison Natl Park, about 45 min down the road.   The sky, at first sunny and nice, soon turned darker and by the time we arrived at the trail head, the rain and lightning began.       The 9 of us, 5 women, 4 men pondered the situation and then opted for the alternate plan……...

Back down to the Coffee Trader in Montrose for a gathering under a huge locust tree and proper refreshments.   (It was sunny down there )     This wasn't mine but I wish it had been.

Today, a few of us  are  heading to lunch at a garden center with a nice restaurant in Delta….about 30 min north.    On my morning walks, I see all the roses and peonies and day lilies and lupine in full bloom.   Our landscaping isn't in yet  but I'm planning in my head what I want besides an aspen.    And, fortunately, once it's in, we can just enjoy as there is a service that takes care of it all.  

Enough about us……we'd like to hear what you are up to.    And when you are coming to visit…..

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Getting settled…slowly

 So, I'm a bit slow in updating the blog……maybe I'm just slow  period !    Actually, there is not a lot going on that is blog worthy.    Yes, I could use the fancy camera and take some art pics or nature photos ( deer nearby…. birds that I don't know the name of….close up of all the pollen floating around in the air ) but mostly, I just enjoy the views rather selfishly.   I did put up a hummingbird feeder yesterday and already we have them coming for a drink.   Once the landscaping is in, I hope to find something they enjoy snacking on.
    We spend our days on the PB courts, searching online for furnishings, dusting (never ending), enjoying the new gas range, thrilled that our tap water is really good ( Becca, it's NOT Florida water )….  and driving to Grand Junction where there are stores … big box stores and stores with stuff that I might or might not need.   BUT, there is no Pottery Barn or Panera for at least a 6 hour drive !!    BUT, there is a Mexican restaurant on every corner….and that is a very good thing.

We now have cable and fast internet.   Today the "Budget Blind" guy visits …. the decorator quotes were very high so we are hoping he comes in a bit more reasonable.

The community is just what we were looking for.    Already, we know names and faces and people welcome us by name.      Montrose has that midwestern friendliness that we remember from our growing up years only this is the Western variety with Levi's the accepted dress everywhere and big Ford 150 trucks are the preferred mode of getting around…..Suburu's are also popular and of course, Jeeps.       Cows and horses and llamas and goats and sheep abound in the fenced open areas.    Children live in Cobble Creek and it is a delight seeing them on their bikes and fishing on the pond.   We have missed the mix of ages and seeing babies smiling in grocery carts makes me happy.

So, here's a couple of pics….  I promise to do better.       This is a bad phone photo taken at the tea last weekend.    From Lt to Rt….. Pam, my next door neighbor who lived here for 5 years with NO neighbors and now she's surrounded.    Next is Karen, a former school superintendent from Denver.    Next is moi, and then Susan who along with her husband Gary, had their Real Estate business in Denver for over 30 years.    We all play at golf.

 Susan and I went out and played 9 holes the other day……I won't reveal my score but the greens are undulating and fast and 3 putts were the norm of the day.    I know there is a learning curve and I will eventually find the best approach.     P and I tried out the driving range yesterday….aside from hitting balls, we also knew the others at the range so chatting took up some of our time.       That's one of the big adjustments here……we meet familiar faces everywhere.   It's rather nice and comforting not to be a stranger.

Here's a pic of the new couch…..and the cocktail table and the now working fireplace.    I am really happy with the contemporary look….ceramic rocks and a straight line of flames that burn yellow and spiky ….  I couldn't capture the look so I'll have to try a night shot.      The couch is like a wide wale corduroy….. It looks better sitting on it than wearing it !!  Today, we will get the matching loveseat.
I've ordered 2 lamps and a dining light and will return them all…..just not what I thought .    Very frustrating.  

I'm back to walking and this is my view.    The mountains look closer than in the picture.    The weather is perfect….dry and sunny and 90 doesn't seem that uncomfortable.   BUT, you must wear sunscreen since we are that much closer to the sun ( 6000 ft closer ) and you will burn quickly.   And staying hydrated in 20 % humidity is a must.

The RV is cleaned up and emptied and sits in storage just down the road at
the campground we stayed in for the past couple of weeks.   The personnel are very nice and we feel it is secure there.  We hope to get out and do some exploring once we get somewhat settled.

And, congratulations to my brother Tom who just bought a beautiful home in the foothills of the Sierras.    Surrounded by the pines, it looks like a perfect setting for  him and Regina.    I guess the need to be near the mountains is genetic. !!