Tag Archives: colorado

Feeling Safe in Telluride

About ready to leave Colorado, but there was a switch in plans with the tires. We were still waiting on them, so we took a quick trip up the mountain to Telluride.

It was a gorgeous drive with Aspens turning an intense fall yellow, brilliant against a lush green background. We were both so mesmerized by the color, that I didn’t even know where to begin taking pictures, so I just relaxed and breathed it all in. I didn’t want to stop seeing, breathing, and enjoying every moment. I felt like the scenery was nourishing every pore of my body. It was one of those zen moments that demanded letting go of all external thoughts and  relax into the here and now.

When we got to the town, (so glad we came) it was time for some walking and fun.




Mountain scenery, coffee shops, cafe’s, outside eating, flowers, art everywhere, and a super dog friendly, dog loving town. Pia enjoyed it here. She was allowed to go into most shops, and received treats galore from every shop owner she met.





Know a few people back home, that would like this type of town. To be honest it was a bit refreshing after being in so many rural conservative little towns.



No need to go dumpster diving here…an always ongoing place to get what one needs.




Lots of colorful creativity everywhere one looks.


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A place to park the pooches near a restroom in the local park.




A bit of nature in the middle of town.


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And another reminder that if not you, then at least your civil liberties are safe here.




Kind of hated leaving…but the tires were waiting.




Mesa Verde


 9/12/14 – 9/15/14

We’ve alternated finding, ordering, and installing new tires for the Van with exploring Anestral Pueblo Civilizations – also known as the “Anasazi” or Cliff Dwellers.

A stark realization of the contrast of worlds. We think we are living simply in our little 80 square feet, but yet with propane, we still have a stove, and refrigerator, and a heater. We can fill up our water tank and still have running water. In the middle of the desert, we can go to the grocery store and buy ourselves pretty decent food. And we can go to a tire store and get tires shipped down 150 miles away in  a little over one day.

The Ancestral Pueblo people in contrast living here between 600 and 1300 AD in this harsh desert ecosystem, not only survived on really very little, but thrived at it. For about 700 years anyway.

Click on this gallery below and check out where these folks lived…and the incredible architecture!



Built with adobe clay hand hewn bricks and stones, into sandstone cliffs, high above the valleys and far below the mesas, sometimes crawling on hands and knees, or climbing the face of cliffs to reach their homes, neighborhoods, and villages.




The beauty of the harsh world they co-existed in still survives.


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They were People of the Land. Subsistence farmers, creators, gatherer’s, and artists. Aways one with their environment.




We are so fortunate that places like this have been preserved to help us modern Simplitarians and once been Back to the Landers ourselves understand where we’ve come from and where it began.






Once again humbled and awed by life.

Back to our own modest little campsite to rejoice in what we have and where we can go.



Mesa Verde National Park

 Ancestral Pueblo peoples


Black Canyons


A pause along the Gunnison River, then off to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

But first we stop off in Leadville for a break. Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the United States sitting at an elevation of 10,152 feet. One of those endearing old Victorian mining towns of which there are many in Colorado. It seems like such a contradiction – Victorian architecture and dirty grimy mining. But those precious metals from the earth enabled 19th century towns to embellish their buildings to no end.  And now thankfully they have survived as a bit of American history.






A few more stops over the pass and along the river. A few more snow capped mountains and cold water lakes.






A quick chat along the way with this cute little ground squirrel.




Then finally to the Canyon.

Nature continually amazes us. The unfathomable act of water creating this gorge millions of years in the making, is just mind boggling.

After being over two miles up towards the sky, we now find ourselves peering over half a mile down into seemingly bottomless gorges.

Below us here, the Gunnison River drops an average of 96 feet per mile traveling through this canyon. According to the park, in one two-mile stretch, it drops 480 feet.  Scientific minds could probably do some type of math with those numbers times those long years to come to cliff / bottom conclusions, but me, I just accept that Mother Nature is pretty darn cool.

The Earth.


Oh, and we shared our South Rim campsite this time with this young deer, who was obviously quite thirsty, and was able to figure out the calculations of how to get water from this human contraption.





Colorado Feathers And Fur


We spent the day in Estes Park, walking around, enjoying the weather,  gawking at store windows, visiting a book store, and generally relaxing away the day before we decided to find a place to sleep for the night.

We wound up heading south on highway 7 and came to  Olive Ridge Campground. Since the calendar flipped to September, and the kiddos are back in school now, we seem to have our pick of the choicest sites. We do the drive through, make sure no generators are in sight or earshot, size up the spot for levelness and find some Sun for the solar panel, and settle right in.

We find friends with feathers close by.


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Many of these little White-breasted nuthatches were also camped here, as was the Mountain chickadee in the top photo up in the header.

Cold weather has definitely settled in, and like the birds, we find ourselves continually heading south.  We moved camp again the next day to carry on with our slow progress to warmer weather, this time stopping at Cold Springs Campground, where we had another camping loop all to ourselves.

The entire time we were in Montana and Wyoming, with all the wildlife we saw, we never did spot a moose. Seems nobody was seeing any moose.

We asked the park ranger about this, and his theory and others in the know about these things, mostly seem to agree that after Montana and Wyoming suffered some intense drought years, (even though this year, everything is lush and green with water everywhere) much of the local moose population decided to hit the road and migrate to “greener pastures.” People in Oregon have seen a huge increase in the animals, as have folks here in Colorado.

While camping in Cold Springs Campground and talking to our camp hosts, we mentioned this to them and wouldn’t you know that those super nice folks told us where we could go to see the Colorado Moose immigrants.

Sure enough, a side trip to Brainard Lake up around 11,000 feet in elevation, brought us to not one, but three of these big fellows.


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Another day of our life on the road. Another piece of the wildlife inter-connections that has touched our hearts, and warmed our souls.

Wouldn’t trade this lifestyle for anything…

Oh, and have I mentioned…that we meet the nicest and most generous people while on the road?


Touring The Tundra

Rocky Mountain National Park

    (Trail Ridge Road)


I Love being High…

In Altitude that is.

It gives one a different perspective looking at life when you are over a couple of miles up into the sky.




Seems something is missing too.

There are very few trees up here.  We’re again above the tree line, driving across the highest major highway in North America, topping out at 12,183 feet above sea level.




But we found wildlife!


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Seems this is where all those herds of elk have been hanging out.


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Including this group of bucks, each with their own little defined circle of grass.







Massive barren rocks.




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A single

happy tree.

Quiet Colorado Morning


It’s a sunny cool morning…we’re camped here at about 9,000 ft. elevation again.

Pia is usually the first up in the mornings, and Fred and I have developed a bit of a routine, where one of us gets up, gets dressed and takes her out, while the other one relaxes a bit, enjoying the warmth and bed for awhile before rising. The late riser then rolls up the bedding and makes the bed into a couch, which quickly doubles our living space into a house. We for the most part, try to informally take turns with these tasks.

When I get up early, (depending on location and environment) I like to take  Pia for a nice early morning walk, so we can both get in some  brisk exercise to start our days.

This morning, surrounded by a beautiful aspen grove, we set off on a game trail, saw a glistening body of water between the shimmering leaves, and followed the trail down to a surprise lakeside, where we found ourselves with the lake completely to ourselves, apart from one small family of ducks way across the far end of the water.

Unidentified birds flittering about, peaceful, calm water, and a golden orange sunrise.

Lovely.  These quiet mornings are every bit as cherished as all the beauty and grandeur of the national parks and monuments we visit.

Walking back up the hill was a bit of a challenge though.  I forget about the altitude. Hiking uphill at 9,000 ft, for even just half a mile, takes a lot of effort.

But worth every step.