Friday, August 8, 2014

The Flora, Fauna, (and Family) of Colorful Colorado

I love traveling. In the act of stepping outside the familiar I feel free. Last year's trip to Scotland with my husband is a perfect example. The two of us explored the country freely, unencumbered by our regular commitments to community and family. This year we were blessed to bring our entire family to Colorado, one of my favorite places on earth!
That's what I'm talking about! This Colorado view of Blue Lakes is stunning!
The first time I saw the Rocky Mountains I was 7. Mom, Dad, my sister, and I drove out for a family vacation. This flatland Kansas gal was overwhelmed and amazed when I saw the mountains for the first time. Through all these years, they have stuck with me. Many people prefer the mountains in the winter, when they are snow covered and somnolent, but I prefer them in the summer, alive with color and movement. Maybe that's because that's how I saw them initially, but I am always stunned into silence by the beauty of the mountains. With all the hiking, geocaching, rafting, and horseback riding, we were able to enjoy a great deal of the flora and fauna of the mountains, and I'm excited to share it with you!
Leafy Bracted Aster


Indian Paintbrush

Blue Columbine, the state flower of Colorado

Geyer Larkspur (I think)

Best of the worst. No idea what it is, but it looks like a pussy willow. I'm sure it's something else, but I couldn't identify it.

Cultivated in Breckenridge, CO.

Another cultivated flower (poppy) in Breck.

Alpine Golden Buckwheat? Again, not sure.

Yellow Columbine


Cultivated Pansies

Yellow Columbine
While the flowers were absolutely stunning, there was plenty of animal life to enjoy as well. The most exciting glimpse we caught was of a female moose. Unfortunately, no photos were captured, as it was extremely fleeting, but I was thrilled nonetheless!
The back of Flame, my trusty steed!

My cutie on her horse.

Another cutie with his horse!

This deer was photographed sporting a tracking collar
near the trail head for Mohawk Lake.

This little guy was found downtown in Breckenridge, along the river.

A yellow-bellied marmot! Found at the trailhead
to Mohawk Lake.

Mountain Goats! Found at Blue Lakes Monte Cristo.

And Mountain Goat Fiber to spin, collected caught
in the branches near tree line.
Yes, we saw many beautiful animals, including a fox, lots of hummingbirds, a bluebird, and the ubiquitous magpies of Colorado Springs. One bird I found on a hike I wasn't able to identify.


The biggest blessing of all was to share in all these adventures with my family. We met Brett's family in Breckenridge and enjoyed making memories through all our adventures and food. Lots of yummy food!
Waiting to eat at Relish.

An unexpected treat in Leadville, High Mountain Pies!

With two tables and one small counter, we took up 2/3 of the joint!

I hope I can return there some day! It was
fabulous food!
Towards the end of the trip, we drove down out of the mountains and headed to the lovely city of Colorado Springs where my daughter and I remained a few extra days to spend time with my sister and her family.

Sis and I

 My sister suffered a nasty accident less than a month previous and had just come out of surgery to repair her ACL and meniscus. Thanks be to God the ACL was successfully repaired, but the meniscus was not salvageable. Instead of the hiking we had planned on, we ended up spending a lot of time in wonderful conversation in her living room. It was therapeutic for both of us. While the kids cavorted we caught up on life. It was a great time. We did manage to do a small bit of car sightseeing, and Sis drove us to the incomparably beautiful Garden of the Gods. There was a storm building, and I managed to capture a few nice photos of it.
Garden of the Gods.
After our tour, we were able to pop through and see Glen Eyrie castle, which is managed by the Navigators.

Glen Eyrie
Our alpine adventure is over now, but the memories will last forever. I'm so thankful to have a loving family on both sides. I'm thankful for the time we were able to share and the experiences we were able to savor. And I can hardly wait to return!
Cone flower from Mom's seeds in my sister's garden.

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