Inches from my head was a critter scratching, skittering, gnawing, hellbent on creeping me out and doing a fine job of it. I wondered if it was looking for a secret passage through the propane tanks, storming the storage compartment under our bed, or using the headboard as a jungle gym. Wherever the intruder was, it was not the nature I’d come to commune with. Other pests we’ve picked up over the years have been more considerate-except that mouse that built a nest on our pickup’s engine and started a family overnight. The festive looking light strings I noticed under […]
When the American Civil War broke out, Jacob Evans joined the northern army, hoping to help save the Union. He was a teenager when he marched off with his regiment. They were rugged men battling fleas and lice in huts made of logs and dirt. Worse, when officers weren’t savvy enough to order the latrines to be dug downstream, sewage leached into the men’s drinking water. Many of the soldiers came from isolated farms and had little immunity against diseases we now immunize for. One sick soldier could wipe out a camp in short order. Ninety-five men died of disease […]
In 1884 Tom and Alice Glover drove up Colorado’s Grand Valley in a covered wagon to start a new ranch along the banks of Parachute Creek. Alice held their baby daughter Queenie. When they arrived, Tom pitched a tent for the family to live in that summer. Once the camp was set, he found a couple cowboys to help him build a ranch. While the men were building, Alice was on her own to make the camp a home. On wash day she carried water from the creek to heat in a kettle over a fire. She made her own […]
As I cooled my trail-weary feet in a Colorado mountain stream, I noticed a small creature flitting above the water about tree top height. A glut of recently hatched gnats no doubt inspired the critter’s erratic hover. The flier was bat-sized, a little small for a bird, and its flight was bat-like as well. Yet the evening seemed too early for bats. I watched for several minutes trying to distinguish bat or bird and finally got the right angle to see that the head was bird-like. Shortly after that, as I sat beside our camper, something flew just over my head and apparently clung briefly to the side […]
As a Colorado girl I learned about treeline or timberline, a high altitude border somewhere between 11,000 to 12,000 feet on the mountain where conditions get so harsh that trees can’t grow. A little over a year ago we visited Acadia National Park in Maine, and a ranger talked about Mt. Desert — so named because trees don’t grow on top of it. Mt. Desert can’t be more than a hundred feet above sea level. How can it have a treeline? Since then I’ve been noticing tree lines everywhere. Some run along the top of a hogback leaving one side […]
I bought this helmet (clearance priced) in 1975 when patriotism wasn’t cool. Steve and I have worn it for 42 years, off and on, and the only comment I remember about the design was a neighbor calling me a hippie –until last summer. Half a dozen ATV riders on Taylor Park trails thought it was very cool, an Easy Rider throwback! No one made me an offer though, so I’m still wearing it. Have a groovy birthday USA.
The promised grand opening didn’t seem promising. We couldn’t see a park from, the road was still under construction, and who ever heard of an Old West park? But the road opened, the planners did a bang up job on the play town, and there’s a hand pump feeding a waterfall of sluice boxes. I can’t wait to thrill a grandkid!
“We scouts raised enough money to stay on Grand Mesa for two weeks. The Mesa is the highest flat-topped mountain in the world. It’s beautiful country; forests of blue spruce, ponderosa pine, and aspen with flowery meadows in between. The flat top collects rainfall in three hundred sixty lakes and a zillion marshes. Those wet-lands make for a whole lot of hungry mosquitoes, but we scouts were tough. After two weeks of eating the fish that ate the mosquitoes that feasted on us, we were all blood brothers, and there was no mystery left in the circle of life.” Thought […]
I spent much of last year begging people to listen to programs I’d slaved over for months. I got a few takers here and there. Then I got my foot in the door with half a dozen libraries and the Colorado Springs Senior Center, and life is good! This year I let their schedulers know I’m rolling out my Whales presentation, and I’ve got five speaking date just like that. I’ve always appreciated libraries—Steve says I’ve never seen a library tax I didn’t like—but now I am profoundly grateful to libraries, not only for speaking ops but for so many of […]
Snorkeling the Under the Sea exhibit at the Denver Aquarium would have been more exciting if I hadn’t watched it on every round I’ve made as a volunteer guide. Still my view from the top revealed a number of things I’ve never have seen from the walkway. An interesting fish approached and took a big interest in my gloved fingers. I knew that no snorkelers have ever been nibbled in Under the Sea, but thanks to that visit, I also knew that the dive safety team’s decision to glove against fish nibbles was an excellent call. Active moray eels are easy to spot near exhibit windows, but in the quiet recesses they drape themselves in crevasses and over a […]