Gift from locust tree
Tell all the truth but tell it slant. ~ Emily Dickinson
Was Emily the original spin doctor?
Hope everyone had a spooky and chocolatey Halloween. Welcome to the second-to-the-last month of the year. Here’s a pretty foliage-quilt picture for your Monday.
And yes, I am having a little trouble adjusting to this new week and month.
In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. ~ Albert Schweitzer
I’d also extend thanks to autumn’s vibrant foliage for doing the same.
final colorful hurrah
splendor in last gasp
Last week we drove two hours from home for a two-night camping trip in the White River National Forest. We hoped to get a first-come-first-served site at Cataract Creek Campground, in large part because of the multiple hiking trails there. Minutes before we arrived at our destination Zippy exclaimed, “Oh, that’s not good!”
He’d just realized he hadn’t brought any shoes. All he had were the Tevas on his feet. He didn’t want to drive back to Silverthorne and shop for shoes because he didn’t want us to miss out on getting one of the five camping sites. So, we went ahead and were fortunate to claim a great site. This was our view:
After getting settled at our site, we hiked around Lower Cataract Lake where we saw the moose. It was about a three-mile hike, mostly level, and comfort-wise, Zippy had no problem wearing Tevas (with socks). The biggest issue was the worn-out velcro on the straps that required frequent readjustment.
The next day’s hike, however, would present more of a challenge. We’d planned on hiking to Eaglesmere Lake which was about an eight-mile round trip from the campground with an elevation gain of 1,850 feet. Zippy insisted he could do the hike so we got ready by late morning and headed out . . .at the same time it began to sprinkle. The rain wasn’t a problem because the early part of the hike was in the forest. So on we went, me lagging behind Zippy and Emma because I couldn’t refrain from taking photos. Everywhere I looked there was yet another beautiful sight.
We encountered a couple from the campground as they headed back. They hadn’t hiked to the lake but turned around partway there. We chatted and continued on. And on and on and on as it sprinkled rain, off and on.
“How much farther?” I asked.
That’s when Zippy remembered that he’d printed out trail info before leaving home but had forgotten it in the van. Cool. We’d also neglected to use his phone to take a photo of the trail map at the trailhead. I’d photographed one the day before with the camera and that image was now buried below many, many photos I’d taken since. Who had time to look for that? Zippy did remember the info saying that there was a downhill before the lakes.
Eventually, Zippy had had enough and sat on a log. (He didn’t tell me until later, but the pad of his foot was blistered below the skin.) I, however, was determined to make it to that damned lake. We’d come so far and I wasn’t going to miss out. So we divvied up the trail mix, I replenished his water bottle from my camel back, and we synchronized watches, noting the time I left. Zippy said he and Emma would wait there 20 minutes. What wasn’t discussed was whether he’d head back to the campground or follow me.
On I went, hiking fast and hoping each curve in the trail would reveal the downhill taking me to the lake. As I cruised along, I came upon a sign post. I checked it out (but didn’t photograph it then ) and continued to bear left where there was a visible decline on the trail.
Soon, I heard water and figured the lake must be fed by a waterfall. Down, down, down I went until . . . a creek. No lake and no sign of the trail. It’d just ended. I stood there on the rocky outcropping above the water, exclaiming WTF over and over, as I thought about how I’d just given myself a whole lot more of uphill. There was nothing to do but turn around and head back up the trail. Several minutes later, there were Zippy and Emma coming to find me! I was very happy to see them. Zippy wasn’t sure which way I’d gone at that sign post but decided it was correct to bear left. He started to worry I’d gone to the right but then saw my wide toe-box footprints and knew he was on the right track.
I told him I’d since realized I should’ve turned at the sign post, but we both agreed there was nothing on the sign to indicate Eaglesmere Lake. Wrong! When we got back to the sign, Zippy noticed the faded white arrow pointing to the right. Aargh! I still wasn’t willing to give up on seeing that damned lake so we went up the trail a ways until it was obvious there was still a long way to go. The sky was darker and thunder had been rumbling off and on throughout the afternoon so it seemed extremely foolish to push on. We agreed we’d come back next fall and do the correct hike.
We hiked miles back to the campground, rain pelting us. The one and only smart thing we’d done was bring rain coats and gloves. Emma, however, got water in her ears and had to shake now and again. By the time we made it back, Zippy and Emma had gone about nine miles and I’d hiked ten. We were wet, muddy, and cold. But in light of all the stupid things we’d done, we were very lucky that was the extent of our discomfort.
We’ll see Eaglesmere Lake in 2022!
From parched and cracked soil
a leafy bouquet erupts
now sharing the trail
I took this photo almost exactly one year ago, a fair representation of what the contoneaster in my yard looks like right now. So why didn’t I just step outside to get a current picture? Because it’s smoky. Still. And I don’t want my lungs burning. Again.
I can’t emphasize enough how damaging these months of Colorado wildfires (not to mention the fires raging throughout the western US) have been not only to the environment but to our collective health, both physical and psychological. Trapped indoors while the climate crisis worsens and those in power do absolutely nothing to avert worsening disaster. Colorado has a Democrat governor and Democratic-controlled House and Senate. But hey, Vote Blue No Matter Who.
Anyway, Happy Monday.
Yesterday was a beautiful autumn day, sunny and in the low 60s. Zippy and I spent the afternoon working in the yard, trying to catch up on our much-neglected gardens that have run amok. The sun shone through the leaves and I paused in my work to capture this vibrant image:
I made a conscious effort to fully experience the colors and balmy temperatures, because there was a huge weather shift on the way. This morning we woke to about 4 inches of snow on the deck railing (currently 8 inches or so).
Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny with a high of 51 degrees. Welcome to Colorado.
On Sunday I worked for hours cleaning up my flower beds, but took time out to aim my camera at the lovely fall foliage
and the backdrop of blue, blue sky.
These leaves are neither fully here nor there in coloration, but are in transition.
Just like me and my project.
BIRD BRAIN is so much closer to being ready to face the world than it was a few weeks ago,
but there is still work to be done.
Right now BIRD BRAIN is a healthy and happy green, but I hope to crank up the intensity
and also bring out those glorious yellows and brilliant reds.
Hokey, but true.
Zippy and I had a lovely trip although it felt as if
our alone time whizzed on past much too quickly.
Much like these aspen trees Zippy photographed as I drove
us back home over Independence Pass.
(I purposely left the image ginormous to give the full effect.)
Wishing everyone a leisurely-paced weekend…