An Elevated Experience

Yet another day of fun and new sights happened yesterday, which was good. I’d gotten irritated that the Cowboys football game stopped showing on the television here, because the team was doing “too well.” I went off to climb the hills around here, and just when I discovered it was perhaps too muddy, Cathy asked if I wanted to go with them to Leadville, Colorado to have dinner at one of their favorite restaurants.

Basically, I just wanted to see more of this stuff.

Well, Leadville was the last of the places I’d really hoped to get to see on this trip, so I turned right around and came home to change out of my muddy attire. Why did I want to go there? Well, it is the highest-altitude community in the US where people are living. And it has a cool history as a spunky mining community with not only saloons and that kind of fun, but a Jewish temple and a more museums per capita than any city in Colorado. Here’s an example:

The House with the Eye Museum. See the eye?

Of course, the scenery all the way to Leadville was beautiful. I was surprised to discover that, as the crow flies, it’s pretty close to Breckenridge. But, you have to go around all these mountains to get there. It’s fine with me. I enjoyed looking at mines, trees, hills, and rocks, though we picked a bad time to drive directly west, and I picked a bad day to decide to wear my glasses that don’t adjust to the sun. Enjoy some sights, though:

When we got to Leadville, I felt as if I’d found MY place in Colorado. It sure looked like a lot of hippies lived there, judging from the art, statues, rainbow flags, and brightly colored houses. Plus, there were houses here that non-wealthy people could live in. And double-plus, there are 360-degree mountain views. Awesome is the RIGHT word for it.

There were so many fun paint jobs, stained glass windows, gingerbread, and all that fun stuff.

I found myself amused when I went to see the highest-elevation high school, hospital, churches, Odd Fellows Hall…you name it…in the US. I really loved the look of the town and the different sights. I’d love to come back to go to some of the museums and ride the narrow-gauge railroad that’s up there. I keep coming up with excuses to return here, don’t I?

Finally, we went to dinner, fashionably early as always. The restaurant, Treeline, was beautiful and in an old building.

More important, though, they had amazingly good food. I had a pasta with lamb, where the lamb was marinated in red wine and olive juice. Huh. I wonder how venison would be cooked that way? There were also crispy and saucy grilled vegetables that I loved.

There was SO MUCH food, and such good wine! And the prices were very reasonable considering the quality and quantity. I’m so glad Cathy and Ken brought me! That sure zonked me out, though. The good news is that I didn’t have to get up so early this morning, so I have been very perky so far today at work.

Take care, friends. I appreciate all the feedback that people are enjoying my photos. I know some of you are really struggling (especially Anita, who just moved all her stuff to Cameron and has to supervise the moving of my stuff the next two days). If I could give everyone a fun and stress-free weekend like I had, I’d do so!

Found the Troll, but It’s COLD at the Top of the World

Thank goodness I was feeling better today. The current theory is I had low blood oxygen for a couple of days. It was the last day of those extra-early meetings for a while, so I was all energized to help people out and get work done today. Nonetheless, when Cathy and Ken said they were coming to get me this afternoon, I did not say no!

Yay, it’s a troll!

They are such great tour guides, and they seem to like to show off the area as much as I like to see stuff, so it was a fun time for all. First, we headed over to the Illinois Creek Park where I couldn’t find the troll before. There was a well-marked sign that I had completely missed before, pointing the way to the troll, whose name is Isak Heartstone, and has only been there a short while. He’s by a Danish artist and made of recycled wood.

Wooden guy in the snow

It was pretty icy today, but we slid our way to the big guy. Not too many other people were there, so we could admire his beauty. I love how he’s holding a tree in his hand.

We were sliding in this picture.

Next, Ken drove us to the other side of Breckenridge, where we took a ride on the free gondola that takes you up to some resorts way up in the mountains (but not all the way up). The scenery we saw was so wonderful. You pass over a wetland that must be great in the summer and becomes cross-country skiing area once the snow gets deep. It was just right today, with some ice and some flowing water.

We looked and looked for moose and elk but didn’t see any. The woods were beautiful anyway. I enjoyed wandering around the ski village at the end of the gondola ride. They even had another statue of Ullr. The first day of ski season was booming, but not overly full of folks. I hate to think how crowded it will be later. I’d not be there.

Back into the Subaru we went, headed to the ski sites that we didn’t see last week. I think I grew tiresome repeating, “It’s so pretty” under my breath. After a stop to get water (because Cathy had skied in brisk wind this morning and was all dried out), we headed out to their favorite ski area, which is Keystone. It was a lot of fun to look at all the beautiful river and statues there. Lots of people were skiing, so I enjoyed all the people in their outfits as they warmed up at little fires and went to drink beer. It was quite stereotypical, but still fun to see. I can see why Cathy likes it there. There will be a LOT of slopes to ski down as it gets colder and snowier.

We then headed up and up to the Arapahoe Basin ski area, which is the highest one in the US, or world, or something. It’s way up there. Lots of young people were at this resort, where there was a lot more snow. But, were we as high in the Rockies as possible? Oh, no.

Arapahoe, really up there

It was a bit snowy, but the roads we were on were so full of forest and mountain vistas that I never wanted to stop looking. Those lodgepole pines with snow nestled in their branches had me grinning constantly. I could tell it was getting colder as we went up and up on what must be one of the prettiest drives I’ve ever been on. My pictures do not do it justice.

Ahead of us, I kept seeing the mountains rising up above the treeline, all rocky, snowy, and windy. Suddenly, Ken pulled into a parking area. We were on the top of the world! Of course, I wanted to take some pictures of the Continental Divide. Cathy wanted to take a look at skiers who started from there and went down the whole way (one of their sons has done it). We got out and, um, it was a bit brisk.

The winds were so strong it was hard to walk, and it was blowing bits of ice at us. Ken stayed in the car, and I didn’t blame him. But by gosh, I was going to go look at the highest part of this pass. Who knows when I’d be back?

What a cool place.

It was not hard getting photos, but we did our best. I had one very warm hand and one cold one that took pictures. For some reason I thought this was about as fun as fun gets, and kept laughing, even though I’d only ever been colder during Champaign, Illinois winters. What a treat!

On the way down, Cathy and Ken showed me where those skiers who started at the top of the world ended up. They just sort of shoot out of the woods right where the road is. There, people wait for them, or they hitch-hike back up to do it again. That’s extreme snow sports for you.

Hitchhiking back up

We went back down and saw another ski resort, but I am running out of names. Update! Cathy reminded me it’s Loveland Ski Area. This one was near Interstate 70, which we took on the way back. It was good to see it in daylight! The sun was coming out from behind clouds, and it was magical.

Were we done? Nope, when we got back down, we went to Silverthorne, Colorado, next to Dillon, where we drove through the neighborhood where their golf course is. They often see cool animals there. We did not see anything, but the golf course sure was pretty in the sunset hour (as were the amazing homes, where I did see two more elk statues).

By then, we were getting hungry, so we tried out a tiny new Mexican restaurant hiding in a shopping center in Dillon, Lili’s Bistro. We were the only Anglo folks that evening. The food was elegant and delicious, though the place looked nothing like any Mexican restaurant I ever ate at before – all gray and minimalist. My mole enchiladas were quite good, as was the salsa and spicy shrimp appetizers. We had such pleasant conversations that only the hard chairs inspired us to leave. I’m glad we took a chance on the new restaurant!

Mole enchilada, slightly used.

Now to rest, try to finish that baby blanket (hint, it’s turning out GREAT), and get ready for some hiking tomorrow. After a pretty hard few days, I am very grateful to my kind friends for giving me such a fun afternoon.

Suna Seeks a Moose

I was sitting in my condo, knitting on my sad baby blanket and watching a very depressing football game. It occurred to me that I could do something fun instead. So, I set off for “a little walk” around the neighborhood, to go down the road I hadn’t been down yet. It was pleasant outside, so I just wore a t-shirt and light jacket thing. That would be fine, I figured. And I wore my normal shoes.

I needed to be cheered up by some electric purple pansies or something!

I did pretty well for a while, walking like a person going for a little stroll. I even went and sat on a ski life chair, to pretend I was skiing.

I have on sunscreen.

But, of course, I saw a trail. It said to look out for moose, and I said to myself, I’d like to go find a moose. And yes, I know they are big and scary. But, off I went. It started off a nice, dry trail, so it was fine.

A nice, dry trail. Still okay for my regular shoes.

Then, I turned and it was muddy and a little icy. I believe I was on the ski slope. In any case, I eventually found my way to another trail and another, and had a wonderful time looking at trees and mountains.

I followed some woman who went right when I probably would have gone left and headed back, and I’m glad I did! There were lots of wooded areas where I looked as hard as I could for moose, but just saw a crow.

There are lots of these. Must be fun for kids.

Then, I was absolutely delighted to see that I had stumbled on the trail to the “lake” I’d seen on the map, which turns out to be a beautiful reservoir with a nature center around it. It was crystal clear where there was no ice, and I was happy to realize there was a trail going all the way around it.

You can see how clear the water is. And how beautiful this place is.

It had gotten a bit cold given my inappropriate choices of clothing, but I figured if a woman in a wheelchair could make it around the trail, a slightly chilly woman could do it, too.

So clear!

I was rewarded with some fine views of this one mountain I kept taking pictures of, the runoff from the reservoir, and views into the woods (where there were absolutely no moose). There were just a few people there with me, so it was almost like I had the place to myself.

A couple of young folks were fishing for cold fish.

Actually, there is a remarkable lack of any wildlife here. I am so used to seeing so many animals, insects, and such, that just seeing a couple of birds has seemed weird to me.

I found my way back down by locating an actual road that went by giant fancy houses. And that’s where I finally found my moose!

MOOSE!

Its antlers even moved in the breeze. That was a fine moose. Down the road just a bit was a house with other statues, including this beautiful one, which I think is their mailbox. I just love the look on the cowboy’s face, along with his faithful cowdog or wolf.

I enjoyed the walk back, since the GPS took me through some little shortcut trails. Right after I turned onto the Primrose Trail to our building, I saw something on the ground. Holy shit, literally. It was moose shit. I looked it up.

It’s either a moose or Fiona.

So, yeah, I walked over 5 miles only to find the dang moose have been right on my road. I’ve sure enjoyed the funny things that are happening on my vacation. Thankfully, tomorrow I’ll have friends to hang around with, and Tuesday, too!

So, I had gone to the end of Four O’Clock Road, hiked to the reservoir, then gone back down that Westridge Road. I’m staying at Valdoro.

Maybe, if I’m around people, they will tell me that I should dress appropriately, carry my sticks, and wear boots when I go out, no matter how short of a walk I plan to take. This is my kind of solo vacation, one with plenty of alone time, but also with random friends from all parts of my life showing up every so often.

Y’all Won’t Believe THIS Coincidence

Do you remember reading about how much fun I had just wandering around Breckenridge, Colorado day before yesterday? And do you remember that I got very excited when I walked through a residential area and saw that a house had a big bird feeder and I hung around there trying to get photos of the pretty birds?

The Steller’s Jay I saw

I remember thinking what a really nice bird feeder those people had, and how much I liked all the stuff they had on their deck. It looked like such a nice, comfortable home, and I wished I could watch birds on that deck. As I walked back to town, I was so grateful to those folks for letting me see a new bird.

Well, today, I was reading Facebook comments about my earlier blog post. You could have knocked me over with an intensely blue feather when I read this!

What??? (I scratched her name out because I, too, care about internet privacy)

At first, I thought she meant that was the same kind of bird feeder she had. But no, out of all the houses in this little town, I had managed to take a bird picture at the home of the ONLY person I know who actually lives here! I knew she’d moved away from Texas, but I forgot where she had gone!

This made me SO happy.

So, I may get my wish and get to look at birds from that lovely deck. Maybe I can get better photos. I’m just tickled to death! This whole “keeping up with folks on the internet” thing is really working out for me!

Speaking of Friends

My friend Kathy and I knitted and talked all morning until the shops opened, at which time we went shopping a bit more and had a wonderful brunch at a place called the Columbine Cafe. I had an omelet with a side of the first Colorado green chili that I’d ever had. If you get a chance, try it. The tequila sunrise was also delicious.

This woman can really knit by the way. That sweater has incredible subtle detailing and fits perfectly. I wove my scarf.

Our shopping was a great success, as I have holiday gifts all under control now. One shop we went into had some of the funniest dang cards, fridge magnets, and t-shirts that we couldn’t stop laughing. What we really liked about this place, and the other one we spent a lot of time in, was that much of the merchandise was unique and not the same old stuff you see everywhere. There must be a lot of creative and funny people in this state.

I think we are trying to blind ourselves. But we wanted a picture with mountains in the background. Note that I got earrings with crows on them that completely match my winter coat. I think they may be my winter go-to earrings. They are enamel on copper.

We both tried very hard to not go into the store with all the rocks, crystals, and jewelry under the one with the funny merchandise. But we went in. There, I discovered a treasure trove of turquoise jewelry, including some Sand Creek stones I had never seen before. It’s beautiful, light blue stuff. They also had a genuinely nice collection of old Navajo jewelry. I totally fell in love with a coral and turquoise piece from the 1960s, unsigned, as many old pieces are. I’m going to end up wearing this one a lot.

After we finished at the jewelry store, where I had heart palpitations from the beauty, we went for a little ride looking for a mine. We didn’t find the mine but did fine some beautiful scenery from the road that runs up into the mountains east of Breck. That was plenty great for me.

Then, Kathy was nice enough to take me to the grocery store to stock up after I ate a lot of my food last week. I’m probably good with food until I leave town.

Meanwhile, Back in Texas

I’m sure you’re craving photos of my animals back at the ranch. Lee has been really nice about sending me dog and chicken pictures. However, this took my breath away. I think Drew is the prettiest horse in the world, at least for me. Thanks to Sara for grabbing me a photo while she was at the trainer’s for her lesson. He is filling out so nicely. Ahh.

Back to knitting, relaxing, and wishing the time didn’t change tonight. I’ve got plenty to do and so much fun to look forward to in the next two weeks. I’m so grateful for kind friends who are willing to spend time with me when I just randomly show up near where they live!

Wandering Pays Off, but No Troll

I smile a lot when I’m spending time in a new place all by myself. I’m easily charmed by little things, which makes me have fun traveling, even without any big plans.

Wandering took me here!

Today was no different. I was really tired after work (I was trying to write software training material, which is always hard on the eyeballs due to all the fidgety screenshots). But I told myself I really need to do something fun each day, especially since it was sunny and not all that cold.

Stuff like this is out there! I must go see it.

So, I set out in my normal shoes and headed toward downtown. The normal shoes were there to supposedly keep me on sidewalks and off of icy trails. You can ponder a moment about how that worked out.

When I got to Main Street, I turned right, just to see what was down there. At first the most exciting thing I ran into was a gas station (you don’t see many around her in the land of the quaint). But then I spotted something good. It was a beautiful little steam engine! It was one of the ones used in the early days of the area.

I wonder if it’s heard of Thomas the Tank Engine?

There was also a little boxcar and tiny caboose that you could look into. I was giddy with happiness, because I really like steam engines. I had run into High Line Railroad Park. It’s probably a lot more fun in the summer, but I enjoyed looking at the narrow-gauge rains and train cars anyway.

I saw a sign pointing to the troll, which is a wooden sculpture that is famous here, so I headed through the ice-skating arena parking lot to find it. I used Apple Maps, but it was not where the software said it was. I didn’t fret at all, because my wandering took me to a beautiful woodland park along a pretty creek. I wanted to explore.

Want to know what my idea of rejuvenating surroundings is? This.

Hey, remember those shoes I wore? They weren’t exactly cut out for the trails going up, which I quickly realized when I saw very serious hiking dudes putting on crampons. Still, the bottom parts of the trail were mostly free of snow and ice (and I’ve learned to walk on ice), so I allowed myself to be surrounded by the huge trees, which smelled so good. That plus the happy sounds of the creek made me not care one bit about a troll, which I figure my local friend Cathy can show me when she’s back from Texas.

After some forest bathing time, I headed back. I didn’t realize how pretty it would be when I headed toward the mountains, so I almost gasped aloud. I had a great walk back, the highlight of which is a real Suna highlight. I found a house with a big birdfeeder and stood there for ten minutes watching birds, including just about the most beautiful thing I ever saw. This bird was BLUE.

I also saw a little woodpecker (not sure what kind), and those cute little chirpy things I hadn’t gotten a good enough picture of yet to ID. I figured it was some kind of chickadee, and yep, iNat told me it’s a mountain chickadee. And, of course there were crows. The pictures were too crummy to share.

I took the back road, French St., to downtown and got to see some nice places to live or rent, and some of the old houses as well. There are a lot of purple houses. I have to like a town with purple houses.

One house I admired the paint job on the corbels when I realized it was also a cute boutique having a sale. I got some tiny earrings and a surprise holiday gift for the relatives back home. It will win the most hilarious gift of the 2021 season, I’m pretty sure.

See the pretty teal accents on the corbels?

By the time I got home, the sun was behind the mountains, and it was getting chilly again. I made myself some delicious ravioli with fancy mushrooms in it. See, I can cook if I have a jar of sauce and refrigerated pasta!

I guess people get used to this. Not me so far. This is from the ice arena.

That was one successful day of wandering and surprises. Tomorrow I get a visitor!

Climbed a Mountain and Turned Around

Today was quite a workday, so I decided to go for a nice walk when I was done. The sun was shining, and the snow all melted, so I broke out the new hiking boots and off I went.

Going up! The clouds are so close!

I had planned to just walk along the road leading uphill, but I saw a sign saying there was a stable a mile thataway. I thought that would be fun to check out.

Well hidden, they are.

Unfortunately, there were no further signs, no roads, and no hints about where to go, so I just followed a muddy road heading up. It turned out to be the access road for the skiing on Peak 10 (that’s the names of mountains here, numbers) and the really, really big resort down the road. It’s as big as a town.

Genuine ski lifts

I decided that, since someone ahead of me had climbed the hill I saw, so could I. So, up and up I went. The trail was actually a ski slope, as I discerned from the snow-making machines I saw everywhere. I had a good time tromping through the snow, until I hit the deep parts that were higher than my shoes. I didn’t have on good tucked-in pants, so snow got in my boots.

I followed those footsteps.

But, panting as only a Texan in the Rockies can, I kept going. The scenery was pleasant and stopping to pant let me look at it. I kept going up about halfway, and then I saw this sign. I liked that sign. I’d climbed enough of Peak 10.

Easiest way down? I’ll take it!

So I turned around, just like Stevie Nicks, and headed down that trail. I was rewarded with a new bird I’d never seen before. It is apparently a Canada Jay. It was pretty and flew around a lot so I could see it well. What a treat!

I continued down the little trail and saw wildlife tracks everywhere. I saw rabbit tracks in more than one place, deer tracks of some kind, and what I am pretty sure were coyote tracks (no human tracks going beside them, and they were later joined by another canine). I don’t think it was a wolf, because the tracks weren’t very big.

I enjoyed looking at a little mountain stream, which was primarily snow runoff, but sounded pretty. As the trail ended, I tromped through a snowy area that must be gorgeous in the summer, because it was full of native grasses and wildflowers. By the time all that tromping was over, my feet were soaked, but I was quite happy.

I also spotted a disc golf course I might try going down later.

This looks less snowy.

As I made my way back, I went into the Beaver Creek Resort, which was dismal and sad as far as I can tell, but I guess it’s not “the season” yet, so no one is there but a few workers. There were a lot of areas under repairs. Maybe it’s on hard times since the pandemic.

Back at the Lodge (which still features the screaming child and its door-slamming relatives), I plan to enjoy a nice delivery dinner followed by knitting and a bath in the jacuzzi. That will get me all energized for tomorrow. My shoes and socks are drying and will be ready for more fun tomorrow.

I climbed pretty high!

I know I do weird things on a “vacation,” but I like just doing one thing a day and really enjoying it, rather than rushing to do a lot. And it’s been quite nice working here. No complaints, other than it rained all day at the ranch, so no pool work got done. Rain is good, of course.

Rocky Mountain, Literally, Very High

Hello from someone who has crammed an entire vacation’s worth of visiting an area into two days. I had a blast today traveling all over Summit County, Colorado, as well as a nice, long visit to Vail. I don’t think I would have ever imagined going to any of these spots in my whole life, so I’ve checked things off my bucket list that I didn’t even know were on there!

I am very lucky that one of the women who’s been on an email list/Facebook group with me for many, many years (since our children were young) retired to the area where I’m visiting a few years ago, and she and her husband volunteered to take me on a tour of all the ski resort towns around here. Cathy and Ken were fantastic tour guides and magically seemed to know the kind of stuff I’d be interested in seeing (mountains, water, quaint towns, tasty food, and some shopping).

As soon as I finished unpacking, Cathy came and got me. She took me to a beautiful spot where we went for a short walk with splendid views of the Dillon Reservoir, which is a HUGE lake way up high here! I was happy to discover that I wasn’t too winded at all. I only had to slow down once. It was interesting to look at the forest after all that reading I’ve been doing on them. There were signs of beetle infestations as well as some controlled burns.

Can’t deny it’s breathtaking, not just because of the altitude.

Looking out over the mountains, it was easy to see where fires had been and where there have been other issues. We were grateful, though, to see new trees coming up, vibrant and healthy.

After dodging a wedding party, we went for a tour of Dillon, including Cathy’s lovely neighborhood. Their house is very Western/Mountain in theme, because they bought all the furniture from the previous owners, who had the house as a vacation home and hardly used it. That was convenient, since they were moving from those horrible floods in Houston a few years ago.

Cute bench Cathy got thrifting on Facebook.

Their house is in a valley, but has amazing mountain views, including the Continental Divide from their game room. Anyone who ever wanted to visit them would really enjoy the home’s bedrooms (and the occupants’ hospitality).

That’s a view!

From Dillon, Ken joined us and was an absolutely perfect tour guide of the area. I learned a lot, and wow, I saw some beauty. The little reservoir we stopped at, which is at one of the trail heads of a hike they’ve taken in the past, was so pristine, clear, and serene. I could have sat there and looked at it for hours, but there was so much more beauty to see!

So pretty.

We decided to go to Vail, which was a scenic trip. We went over a super high point, up and up. You could see where there were avalanches, old mines, beautiful trails and so much more. It’s hard to believe they were able to build an interstate highway through there in the 1960s. I actually can’t imagine how the people who lived in the area in the 1800s coped. Mining could not have been an easy life.

We made it to Vail in time to eat at the Blue Basil restaurant, which was one fine experience for us all. I really miss eating “fancy” food with beautiful presentations and interesting ingredients, so I was in heaven. We all agreed it was one of the nicest meals we’d had in a long time.

After the great lunch, we spent some time wandering around Vail. I hadn’t realized it was a sort-of-planned community place. Who knew? There is a lot of faux Bavarian architecture, to fit with the alpine theme. It’s pretty, though, and certainly was a fun place to wander through. I’m glad I wasn’t there in mid-summer or mid-winter, though, because Cathy said it’s full of people then. I enjoyed the stores being open, but not too many people. Last year, when I was in Park City, Utah, most of the stores and restaurants were closed, so I’m glad the ski season opens a little earlier here.

I got myself the all-important smelly candle for my condo, and some darned important lotion for my hands, as well as a nice necklace from a local artist, on sale. I’d say that the highlight of Vail was the immense store selling every kind of rock, crystal, and thing made of it, that you can imagine. Cathy and I oohed and aahed at huge geodes, natural crystals, and jewelry made from every kind of stone imaginable. I am impressed that I left the place with no treasures, but it was like going to a museum, not a store!

We detoured through neighborhoods of the type you’d imagine in Vail. Thus house has a funicular to get up to it!

We came back through Frisco, which was okay, but I can be okay with not going back. I did like Dillon a lot, though. Then we went back to Breckenridge where I stocked up on wine, bourbon, and a few more groceries for the days I’m going to be pretty stuck in my condominium with no transportation. I even got some flowers. I’ll be fine, because I have a lot of pasta, yogurt, and ice cream. Oh, and coffee, of course! I am set up for Suna’s version of decadence.

Now it looks like a homey place to watch animal shows.

Anyway, it was really kind of the Steeles to do all this with me today. We will hang out some more later, too. I enjoyed getting to know Cathy better and meeting Ken, who I’d heard nothing but good things about in the past. They are such athletic people, too. It was fun listening to all the mountains they have climbed, cycling trips they’ve taken, and skiing they’ve done. And by the way, Cathy loves pickleball. I now know where all the pickleball courts in the area are.

Here’s where I’m staying.

Once again, the internet has brought people together who enjoy each other’s company and can have fun in real life! I’m so lucky to get out of the hermitage occasionally and see people (well vaccinated people, of course).

Olypmic Park Dog Gymnastics

Today was the last day for my second batch of visitors, but we decided to go have lunch before they left. We went back to the restaurant in Park City where I met the nice server who saved my phone, because Kathleen wanted to get a t-shirt for their Polygamy Stout.

I just pictured peace, quiet, and a raven while the drunken child went on and on.

They didn’t have any shirts the right size, but we did try the beer, and it was good. All the food was delicious, though the visit was marred by some rich, drunk kids yelling. They kept shushing the loudest one, and I swear it would have just been more fun to listen to him go on and on.

I mentioned that I’m almost out of yarn and would probably need to Uber to the local Michael’s to get something else to knit on (yes, I am capable of knitting with inexpensive yarn, if I must). Kathleen said they’d take me before they left, so off we went. Wow, the regular shopping center outside of town was hardly recognizable for the tweeness of the signs and mountain-y style. Best Buy looked its best, that’s for sure.

That’s the shopping center, off in the distance.

I didn’t find exactly what I wanted, but did get two contrasting colors to make the scarf pattern I found, but larger, as a wrap. Chris was really impressed by giant skeins of self-striping bulky yarn, and I saw a nice slip-stitch afghan pattern on the label, so I said I’d make him one if he selected the yarn. That would be a fun gift, right? I still have a thing to finish at home, so I need to get back in the groove and find some way to protect knitting from the dogs.

Inexpensive yarn for something to sit under and watch television.

As we were leaving, we realized that the Olympic Park from the 19th Winter Olympics was right across from the shopping center. So, since we happened to be there, we checked it out. The views were spectacular from the venue, and it was really fun to see where all the ski events took place.

We didn’t have time to see the museums or anything, but the outsides were pretty.

On our way back down, we passed lots of hiking trails just full of people, since the weather is well above freezing today. Then we saw dogs, lots of dogs. We just pulled over to the side of the road and watched at least a dozen very happy dogs on the leashless dog trail.

One dog was on the wrong side of the trail, but did not mind.

There was so much frolicking. They all seemed to get along well, and definitely loved the snow. They ran back and forth, play-bowed and leapt.

Running full speed

One black dog kept jumping into piles of snow and biting at the snow. That particular dog must have run a mile just while we were watching. It was pure joy. I kept picturing Carlton out there with them, except he’d be invisible.

Black dog in its snow pile.

What a great send-off for K. and C.! They decided to drive their rental car back, which meant I could give them some of the stuff I’ve bought, so I won’t have to try to pack it all. I feel like I may have dodged a bullet there. I will not be bringing home all the food they left for me, but I also will NOT need to buy any more restaurant food while I’m here. I’m all set for a week of working by day and relaxing in the evenings.

The weird Coke won’t be left over, however. Not bad.

And now that I figured out how to get my watch to track elliptical workouts, I will be able to keep the exercise up, no matter how bad the weather gets. Today, though, I’m gonna get more walking in.

Rocky Mountain VERY High

Not the drug kind of high, we enjoyed the elevation kind. This afternoon, we went to get more groceries, thanks to the Caso rental car. Being easily amused, Kathleen and I enjoyed looking at exotic Utah groceries, like peach and raspberry Coca-Cola. We tried the peach tonight, and it was actually pretty good.

That’s Park City down there.

After fueling up on a fancy coffee (and getting more mugs), we asked if we could take a little ride before the next snowstorm came. So, we took off to explore the Deer Valley area.

Mountains everywhere.

C. kept heading higher and higher up the roads. There were so many beautiful condos, giant houses, and spectacular views. Kathleen and I were like little kids looking at the scenery.

That’s a huge resort below.

Eventually we got to the end of one of the long and winding roads. We got out to take pictures. We were WAY up there. The temperature had steadily gone down as we ascended. And a gale wind was blowing. We were so high up!

You can see the wind whipping our hair.

But it was so beautiful. The ski slopes up there look really scary. All the houses are ski in and ski out but with the lifts not working yet, I’m not sure how one would get back up.

I believe this is the highest up I’ve ever been.

We did see a lot of people getting ready to ski, but I think they were going down cross-country trails. I hope. Plus, we saw a cool inclined train thing (funicular?) going up to the St. Regis resort way on top. That would be a fun place to stay, if funds were available.

See the little car going up? Cool.

We thoroughly enjoyed the huge trees and vistas all the way to Mirror Lake (where we took pictures a few days ago). I even saw a buck in the woods, but no moose. My heart was full of beauty!

Fancy house view with art.

By the time we got back down, we realized we’d made a circle around Park City. We didn’t even try! The snow had started falling, so we headed back.

Right outside the Caso condo this evening.

It’s beautiful out, but I think we wisely decided to cook in the other condo tonight. Theirs is also cozy! It will be a good night for a bath and more coziness back at my empty place. I’ll miss Anita, but I do have a couple more days for fun with the family.

Right outside my condo.

Plus the snow will make it easy to avoid crowds. There’s plenty of mountain fun with all this space!

Escape from Park City

Anita and I were trying to decide what to do today when there was a knock at the door. I wondered if the housekeepers came back, but no, it was someone else. She was all bundled up, but then I realized it was Kathleen! They’d surprised me!

Not Park City!

Much happiness ensued. Eventually we went on a ride in the car they rented. Whee! We went to Heber City and to Midway, both cute towns. Midway was extremely cute in an Alpine way. We had lunch and shopped at a very quaint shop.

Scenery

Then we drove around and looked at mountains and valleys and much beauty.

We sorta like snow.

There are lots of horses in this area of Utah. It was almost like being in Kentucky, only snowier. There were so many small ranches and pretty horses.

Hello, we’re horses.

The drive was beautiful. We saw so many hills, valleys, rivers, dams, and lakes. Anita, Kathleen and I ran around and squealed a lot when we made our stops.

It’s a lake! I’m huge!

Just gotta say surprise visits are good, and we are so grateful to our family got joining us for a few days. Now, enjoy some pictures!

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