Dorothy Was Right: It Was In Our Own Back Yard (fall colors)

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I love Colorado.

I love it in the spring, summer, fall and winter. Although I haven’t noticed that much difference between the spring, summer and fall – it can snow like crazy in any of those seasons. A sage local once told me that he’s seen snow in every month in Colorado, multiple times.

I’ve had the distinct privilege of being in Colorado many times each year since 2013, because we have a tiny little cabin in Jefferson. But I’ve never been here during the prime viewing season for aspens changing color.

We planned our trip this fall with military precision. Web sites told us that peak fall color would take place the last week in September, and we were on it.

  • Plane reservations? Check.
  • Tickets for the fall color train ride? Check.

fullsizeoutput_171aWe were all set. And then we had our Blizzard on a Train adventure on the Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad, while in search of our blazing fall colors. We definitely had an adventure, an experience that we’ll remember for a lifetime, but not the fall color experience we were looking for. We missed it by a week, because these things happen in Colorado. Mother Nature decides to get a bit colder than usual in the Collegiate Peaks area, and the aspens dutifully shed their leaves.

fullsizeoutput_1734Undeterred, we set out today for a trek around Jefferson Lake. It was lovely. You can enjoy it with us here: Hiking Around Jefferson Lake in Autumn. But it was not the fall color mecca, either.

On the way home to Little House in the Rockies from Jefferson Lake, the closer we got, the more the landscape lit up with aspens strutting their stuff. The Girl Who’s Always Hungry said, “My eyes are happy!” She nailed it.

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Enjoy it with us, this bounty of beauty we found, right in our own backyard in Indian Mountain, our Little House in the Rockies “neighborhood”.

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This very last photo (above) is, quite literally, our “front yard” here at Little House in the Rockies. Our aspens are a little slow to turn golden, but the overall effect is quite nice. And our “back 40” is below, with the impending storm rolling in.

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There’s no place like home, like Dorothy said.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

 

 

Hiking Around Jefferson Lake in Autumn

When we are at Little House in the Rockies, we try to take in as much of the wonderful central Colorado environment around us as possible.

Today we visited Jefferson Lake, our first time in the fall weather. It is a beautiful, calm body of water nestled high among 12K+ mountains in the South Park National Heritage Area. We’ve been there before, in the cold, cold summer (we saw snow on the ground during 4th of July week in 2014), but hadn’t done the full hike or seen the fall colors.

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Jefferson Lake in the summer of 2014…brrrr!

This is a worthwhile trip! The 1.5 mile trail that circles the lake might be called an “easy hike” by experienced hikers, but I think “moderate” is a better term. There’s an easy part, but about half of the trail requires a little more endurance and careful footing – and hiking boots, definitely.

If you decide to do the whole circle of the trail, start on the more challenging side by going to the left and traversing the trail clockwise. When you get to the furthest point from the start, you’ll be able to walk along the “beach”, and it is all downhill from there (figuratively; it’s actually pretty flat for the second half).  The whole trail hike took us about 2 hours, which included many, many photo-op stops, as you can see.

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The verdict: Jefferson Lake is gorgeous in autumn.  Can you hear it calling your name? Find out more here: Jefferson Lake Recreation Area.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Blizzard on a Train!

Well, maybe not a blizzard, but pretty close! As our Girl Who is Always Hungry said:

We started out in fall and ended up in winter!

I recently blogged about our upcoming trip on the Leadville Colorado & Southern Railroad for its Fall Photo Weekend Special. Today was the day! We anticipated an adventure made perfect by gorgeous autumn weather and Crayola-colored aspen trees lighting the way along the special 3-hour version of this storied train ride above the Arkansas River Valley, starting in the quaint old town of Leadville, Co.

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Looking down the street from the depot; the sky is indicating some bad stuff might be coming down
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The depot

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It was an adventure, all right.  But we lost autumn in the first ten minutes of the trip. It was a winter adventure. In fact, we were joking that we got the Winter Photo Weekend Special for the same price as the Fall one.

fullsizeoutput_170aI was wearing jeans, a long-sleeved shirt, a vest, a heavy Eddie Bauer leather jacket, a scarf and a hat with ear flaps, and even with all that, I would be hard-pressed to think of another time I’ve been so cold. The aspen trees have been cold, too, and many of them dropped their leaves early in protest.

It started snowing about 45 minutes into the 3-hour journey, and never stopped.  It is September 30! And these weren’t just gentle little flurries; there were great big, wet snowflakes landing on our faces. The sky wasn’t just gray, it was umpteen shades of gray. (but not 50 – don’t go there).

Our next-gen millennial newlyweds took a video to document the snow situation.

But it was so much fun. There was hot chocolate. There were families, and dogs, and a tour guide with lame jokes that were funny simply because they were so lame.

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The tour guide was also the ticket-taker, a charming and self-deprecating 20-year old with a bright future
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A very nice Burnese Mountain Dog, perfectly “suited” for the weather (I’m no stranger to lame jokes, myself)
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The Best Eater, the Girl Who’s Always Hungry, yours truly, and the Grill-Meister (see how cold we look!!!???)

Even though the skies were gray, we took home some nice photo memories of the trip.

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Check out the gray clouds coming in over the top of the mountain

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Our next-gen millennial newlyweds, the Best Eater and the Girl Who’s Always Hungry; that’s the Grill-Meister waaaay behind them on the track

Would we do this trip again? Heck, yeah! Would we maybe wait to buy our tickets until we checked the forecast? Maybe. The bottom line is that life is an adventure, and you can’t schedule it perfectly every time. Sometimes, it’s ok to get cold, and wet, and miserable, then come home to a big, hot, toasty fire at Little House in the Rockies and make inside-the-cabin s’mores.

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Watch this space for more adventures, and a post about our spring excursion on the train.

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

 

 

 

 

Flashback to Colorado’s Fall Colors; Looking Forward to a Train Ride Along the Mountainside

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Photo courtesy of Leadville Colorado and Southern Railroad

Only two days until we head out to embrace all the beauty that fall has to offer in central Colorado. On this next trip to Little House in the Rockies, we’re going on a train ride, the Leadville Colorado and Southern Railroad. The Fall Photo Weekend Special promises “sweeping vistas of the Arkansas River Valley” and “amazing displays of gold, red and orange Aspen trees lighting up the mountain side”. I can’t wait!

In anticipation, I dug out some pictures to share from our trip in the autumn of 2014. Watch this space for more!

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Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Haiku: Still Life on Wooden Door

Looking through some of my photos, I found a couple of an abandoned building in the Cline Ranch State Wildlife Area near Como, Colorado. I took them in February of this year, and forgot about them.

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The abandoned cabin is strangely appealing

I’m sure the horseshoe was reason I snapped the picture of the door below; it speaks to the hopeful mindset of the cabin’s inhabitant, whoever and whenever that was. When I looked closer and saw the dried flowers (put there by someone else later, right?), I knew I had to write a haiku about the still life they form together.

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I realized the haiku would make the most sense on the door itself. Enjoy.

Wooden Door Still Life Haiku

Click here for another post with lots more photos: Cline Ranch State Wildlife Area. But beware, if you love a winter scene, these photos will stir your wanderlust and you may find yourself searching for discount airfare for Colorado in February…

Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook

Hey 19! Joy, Friendship and Future, All in a Few Frames

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Just getting started: our kids are colorful, but the “Welcome to Colorful Colorado” sign is brown…hmmmm…

Hey there, Glover Gardens followers, you might or might not know that this week, I’ve had the distinct privilege and pleasure of being in Southwest Colorado with three 19-year-olds from the University of Texas.  One of them is my son, known in the blog as “our last millennial” or the “Jazz Composition Major at UT”.

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Our last millennial, the jazz musician

Our “last millennial” wanted to visit  our Colorado cabin, Little House in the Rockies, with his two (amazing, marvelous, smart, pretty and nice) friends, but didn’t know the inner workings of our tiny cabin, so – presto! – I got an invitation to come with them.  I’ve been joking that I’m here because of a lot of C-words…car, chauffeur, cooking, cleaning, cash…but that’s not really the case. In fact, when I sprung the C-word theory on them, they chimed in with “charming, charisma, character, creative, culinary, courageous” … (although it might have been me that contributed a couple of those).

Anyway, it has been a marvelous week! They’ve gone off on their own (at my urging) to many nature-rich locales, such as Jefferson Lake, Pike National Forest, Tarryall Reservoir, Buena Vista and Leadville.  And I was with them at the breath-taking Royal Gorge, muscle-aching McCullough Gulch hike, and fun-making Breckenridge Main Street and gondola.

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At Royal Gorge, all full of life and cajoled by me NOT TO BACK UP!
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Before the big hike just south of Breckenridge

One thing I forgot to mention is that these kids, these 19-year-old future leaders, are very, very close.  They love each other, “warts and all” (not that I saw any warts). They are generous with each other while at the same time holding themselves and each other accountable. I only caught bits and snatches of their deep conversations (and wouldn’t dream of actually eavesdropping because that might pre-empt any future travels with this trio), but I am confident that they will be friends for the rest of their lives.

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Looking to the future together, friends forever

Here are a few more photos to illustrate our week, all taken atop Boreas Pass on an old Colorado and Souther train caboose, with apologies to my friends who have already perused my Facebook photo album, entitled:

Hey 19! – Colorado Road Trip

My lovely week with three 19-year-olds from the University of Texas who might one day rule the world (or at least make it more interesting, safe, entertaining and livable!). An added bonus is the amazing natural beauty of Colorado.

 

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Copyright 2017, Glover Gardens Cookbook