Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Late Autumn Joy!

Happy Halloween!

I usually don't decorate that much for Halloween, because it is easier to decorate just for autumn and the harvest, but I could not resist this plastic skeleton when I saw him in my local Costco a few weeks ago.  A skeleton costume was my favorite Halloween costume to wear as a child. I think I was influenced by the popular song of the time, called "Dem Bones"-- you can hear the song on this YouTube link..

When I was a nursing student, our anatomy professor told us to buy a paper skeleton and use it as a study aid.  I bought a life sized one that hung on the door of my dorm room all year. After I graduated it became a favorite Halloween decoration for my apartment, and then my house, for many years.  I discarded it when I moved from New York to Colorado, so now, this plastic "Sylvester" Skeleton will become my new skeleton friend. He's much more durable than paper! 

A new family tradition for us to do with our grandchildren, is to visit Anderson Farms, in Erie, Colorado, and go to their pumpkin patch to pick out some pumpkins. There are many activities at the farm to enjoy, and my grandchildren love it, as you can see by the collage above! (Please click on the collage to enlarge it) Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate with us this year. We did not get the opportunity to take the hay ride to Anderson's pumpkin patch, as it began to rain heavily an hour after we arrived, but you can see the glorious views of the Rocky Mountains we had from the farm's pumpkin patch, last year, on this link,

Now that my husband is retired, he is enjoying helping me babysit out granddaughter when both our daughter and son-in-law are working during the day.  They had fun playing together in the leaves he raked this week.  It was pure autumn joy for both of them!

We actually had to delay raking those leaves this past weekend, because this big beautiful mule buck deer sat in our backyard almost continuously for two days! Just look at his magnificent 6 point antlers! He enjoyed eating the grass and leaves in our yard, and then sitting down to enjoy the sun. Since we live in a valley of the foothills of Colorado's Front Range, and have lots of open space nearby, we often have deer visitors, but this guy stayed the longest of any!. What a gift it is to see beauty like this in our own backyard!

Finally, we were included in a new neighborhood tradition this year.  Someone rang our doorbell one evening, and when we opened the door a plastic baggie of candy with an attached two sided note, told us we have be,en "Boo-ed!"  If you click on the collage above you can read what this means and how we had to share with others. Our block was fully covered, so we boo'ed friends who lived a few blocks away.

 It is hard to believe in will soon be November, and in the USA the Thanksgiving holiday will soon be here! I never decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving -- just one holiday at a time, please! Autumn is my favorite season, so I like to make it last as long as possible.  Do you do the same?

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sprague Lake, Bear Lake and Alberta Falls in Rocky Mountain NP

My husband and I visited Rocky Mountain National Park in early October to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary.  I showed many photos of the beautiful autumn colors we were fortunate to see in the park in my last post at this link. During our visit we also hiked around a few of the beautiful lakes in the park.  Sprague Lake, a 13 acre lake located along the Bear Lake Roadhas a half mile walkway around it that offers scenic views of  the Continental Divide Peaks of Taylor Peak (13,158 feet), Otis Peak (12,486), Hallett Peak (12,713) and Flattop Mountain (12,324).  The lake is named after Abner Sprague, who, along with his wife, owned a resort in this area from 1910 -1940, and introduced their guests to the pleasure of high water fishing and hiking in this area.

The opposite view from Sprague Lake, as we walked its perimeter.

Another view.

As we walked around the lake, enjoying the scenery, we saw a couple in the distance who were exchanging marriage vows!  Just look at the beautiful mountains in the background as we approached where thye were standing!  (I blurred their faces with an editing program to protect their privacy)

About three miles away from Sprague lake is Bear Lake.  Bear lake's elevation is 9,450 feet, and the trail around it is 0.8 miles.  The top of Hallet Peak can also be seen from Bear Lake...... well as Longs Peak (14,259 feet)! I love how I am learning to recognize the mountains in the park, and I love this view

A close up of the summit of Longs Peak.

As you can see by the informational placard and the trail sign, Bear lake is the starting point for many trails.

We decided to take a trail through the woods to see Alberta Falls. I am not the best vertical climber, and the first part of the trail was easy, but I struggled towards the end as the trail began to climb higher, by about 200 feet to 9,400 feet.

Happily, I kept hiking, and at last was rewarded with the view of Alberta Falls! The scenic 30 foot waterfall thunders down a small gorge on Glacier Creek  If you would like to hear Alberta Falls you can watch a short video on my facebook page at this link. Alberta Falls is named after Alberta Sprague, the wife of Abner Sprague, both of whom were early settlers of Estes park and owned a resort lodge that was located in the early years near Sprague Lake.  Their resort was torn down in 1957 by the parks department to return the land back to a natural state.

My husband and I enjoyed sitting by the falls for awhile, enjoying the sound of the water and the late afternoon sunlight that made the trees glow.

This was the only wildlife we saw on the trails along the lakes and waterfall -- the Golden Mantel Ground Squirrel! They look like chipmunks, but do not have stripes on their head. They are used to seeing many people on the trails and can be brazen, begging for food, but we always follow the rule not to feed the wildlife--there is plenty for them to eat in nature.

The most exciting part of our visits to Rocky Mountain National Park is when we drive up to the highest peaks and walk on the Tundra Trails, but I'll save that for a future post.  If you'd like to see our trip up to the "Roof of the Rockies" last year, click on this link.  This visit we saw the remnants of a snow storm in the high elevations that was there from the week before. It was so beautiful!

See you back here soon!

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