Saturday, August 31, 2013

More photos

From the past 3 weeks:

Sprague Lake, RMNP
Chipmunk getting a drink, RMNP
Sheep Lakes sunset, RMNP
Double rainbow from our deck
Sprague Lake, RMNP
Young elk near Cub Lake trailhead, RMNP
Hummingbird at Glen Haven General Store

Friday, August 30, 2013

2013 NewFO Challenge - August Update

Wow, is it really the end of August already?  Time really does fly when you are having fun! We are living in Estes Park, Colorado, for a few weeks and I haven't done a lot of sewing but I have two starts this month. Here is my temporary sewing area.
Sewing on the dining table
The NewFO Challenge with Barbara over at Cat Patches is easy to do, especially when one is on the road - just start a new project each month! You may want to stop on over and see what everyone else has started this month.

I began a baby girl quilt. Not sure if I'll need it - two family/extended family babies are expected but we don't know the sex so I'll just be ready!
Baby girl quilt
I began the 3D Mini Table Runner. I won the kit from treadlemusic. It is so cute and went together fast!

3D Mini Table Runner
Before we left on this trip, I did get a few things finished.
I finished this baby quilt that I began in July.

Baby boy quilt. It really does lay flat! 
I helped grandson Mack finish his quilt.
Mack showing the 'wild' side of his quilt.
And my BOM is up to date. I forgot to take a picture.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ya can't roller skate in a buffalo herd

Yesterday began with a beautiful sunrise.

Sunrise from our deck
We decided to go on a little longer hike. So we left for Cub Lake, a hike we take almost every time we are in the area. It is almost 5 miles round trip. We got to the trailhead early enough to get a parking place - Yay! Shortly after we started, a local man about our age caught up with us and hiked with us for about 1/2 hour. About that time we started hiking adjacent to where the December, 2012 fire took place. Oh my! The pine beetle infestation is a major problem here - so many dead trees. Add to that a forest fire due to a careless camper - so very sad! Notice the south side of the lake (left side of picture) - every tree is burned from the fire or dead from the pine beetle.

Cub Lake
The scenery was very different for us but we still enjoyed being on this hike. This duck was super friendly as I sat on a rock. 
Friendly Duck
New growth is evident in most areas. Such pretty wildflowers against the charred logs.
New growth in burned areas
On our way back down the trail, we heard about and were watching for a herd of elk near the trailhead. About 1/2 - 1/4 mile from the trailhead, we spotted them. Ray set up his tripod near a boulder field. We were on one side of the rocks and the elk were off in the distance on the other side. Ray was taking photos and the elk were calmly moving and grazing, when all of a sudden, we were surrounded! The closest elk were 12-15 feet away! My biggest fear was that one of the babies would get on one side of us and its mom on the other. There were two boulders near us that we would fit between where I don't think the elk could get us. It would have meant leaving packs and camera equipment but at least we I had a plan if needed! Ray was busy taking pictures!
Cow elk showing a little interest in us.
Young bull elk
Eventually the herd just passed us by. Well, mostly. The Big Guy eventually followed - glad we waited for him to pass too!
Big Guy - definitely the King of this harem
As we continued down the trail we encountered another bull, almost as large as Big Guy. This one was too close to the trail for us to pass by. After waiting a while, we chose to get off of the trail and climb up some rocks to get around him.
Bull Elk - in need of a harem
Our day ended with a little rain, more sunshine, and this beautiful double rainbow.
Double rainbow from our deck
"Ya can't roller skate in a buffalo herd" but you can get surrounded by a elk herd!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

USA Pro Cycling Challenge

Stage 6 of the  USA Pro Cycling Challenge, the 2nd largest bicycle race in the world we're told, came through Estes Park yesterday! It was quite a deal - the Village has been preparing for quite a while. Parking barriers went up Friday morning. The main street was painted. The local paper was full of news of the race. The small downtown park was full of fun things. The party started Friday with all kinds of fun activities.

The cones were removed right before the racers came through.

We walked downtown about noon. It was fun to see all of the people and the party atmosphere. Eventually we found a spot on the curb and sat down to wait - we had a good spot and could see what was coming. Around 1 pm, police officers and volunteers began clearing the street - everyone had to be behind the curbs which were painted red. 

The Stage 6 race, the last King of the Mountain competition, came up the canyon from Loveland, going through Drake and Glen Haven. If you've ever been to Glen Haven, you know it is hard enough to drive a car up that road with its very steep grade and tight switchbacks - I can't imagine riding a bike up there! After coming through Estes Park, the route took the riders on a few mile loop south, and then back through Estes Park. Then the cyclists went down the Big Thompson Canyon and ended in Fort Collins.

Eventually an SUV with microphones came through and gave us information - who was in the lead, how fast the riders would pass us (whoosh!), and how fast their support cars would be traveling right behind them (like the Grand Prix!).  The announcer said there were two groups of riders and cars about 2 minutes apart, and we would see the racers right behind the Colorado State Patrol car. 

Then a vehicle came along and set up the signs for a sprint - right in front of us! The race director car passed, the route director car passed, a few other race vehicles went by.

The crowd was ready and the noise volume really went up when all of a sudden, a State Patrol car with lights going came into view.

Then came some State Troopers on motorcycles, more State Patrol cars and more motorcycles. And CYCLISTS! 
My hand!
The lead group had about 15 cyclists. They passed like a gust of wind - yes, we could feel the breeze!  After the support vehicles and more State Troopers in cars and motorcycles, the peloton arrived. Wow! 

Over 100 riders in a pack! It didn't take long for them to pass either. And all of their support vehicles. And more State Troopers. 

We then headed east about 2 blocks where they would pass in the opposite direction. We had a little trouble finding a spot and decided to go thru the McDonald's parking lot and up the hill. As we started to go thru the lot, that first State Patrol car came around the corner. We knew we had to find a spot fast. So we climbed and stood on a 3-4' wall on the back side of some bushes. It was perfect! We could see the bikes and cars come down St. Vrain as they turned onto Highway 34. 

The leaders
 They were MOVING. 
The Peloton
The Peloton from our other camera an instant later
Some of the support vehicles came around the corner in pairs - on a wide one lane turn lane! 

There were now 3 groups - a smaller leader group, the peloton, and a small group of 5 or so following. Somehow the support cars stay right behind the right group.

And just like that, it was over! I think it was about 2 pm. The riders rode almost 77 miles yesterday. Stage 7 is today in Denver and then this race is history.

Friday, August 23, 2013

A great week with friends

Some friends from home spent this past week with us. 
We had great weather and kept busy with sightseeing, 
hiking, an outdoor concert and shopping. 
Let me share a few photos.

Adams Falls
Bighorn Sheep

Great scenery
All four of us
St. Malo's Chapel

 After staying at The Stanley Hotel, 
Stephen King wrote "The Shining". 
Part of the TV mini-series was filmed here.
The Stanley Hotel

One day on a hike near Alberta Falls, 
this bull elk stepped out in front of us - maybe 20 feet away! 
bull elk 

We saw many of the Plein Artists. 
Competition painting has been going on for over a week.

Plein Artist at Bear Lake


What's next? 

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge (2nd largest bicycle race in world), Stage 6, goes thru Estes Park tomorrow. That means a few thousand extra people will be around! We will be on foot all day - and hope we can see some of the bicyclists.

Yesterday we reconnected with a friend from a few years ago! Hope to find a time for a longer visit.

There are a number of events/concerts coming up that we plan to attend. 

And there's lots more hiking. As John Muir said, "The mountains are calling and I must go."

Eye Spy:
Black Bear - 1 
Big Horn Sheep
Many small creatures!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Some more photos

The photos today are mostly from the photographer in the family. Right now we have friends visiting - we are having fun and keeping busy.
This cutie sat and posed for us.
At the Alluvial Fan
St. Malo Catholic Church
Near Wild Basin, RMNP

Near Wild Basin, RMNP
Copeland Falls, RMNP

Bottoms up!

Sprague Lake right after a brief shower.

Eye Spy:
Black Bear - 1 
Ground Squirrels 
Numerous Dragonflys


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