I love, love, love being in the mountains; there is so much variety in the weather. Here are two versions of the view from the back porch of Little House in the Rockies, close-ups of the mountain range behind us. What a difference a day made!
A winter storm dominated the view in the first photo, and only Palmer Peak is visible. The snow-filled sky cloaks the higher summits of Mount Silverheels behind it.
The next afternoon, the broad expanse of this part of the Front Range is exposed, with Palmer Peak dominated by the higher mountaintops behind it.
A snowstorm came and went between these two photos, and we were snug and warm in our little cabin, watching.
Watching the storm roll in, watching the snow hide the mountains, watching the birds take a few last seeds from the feeder.
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.
We 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.
Undeterred, 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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I 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.
Even though the skies were gray, we took home some nice photo memories of the trip.
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.
Watch this space for more adventures, and a post about our spring excursion on the train.
Now it’s time to talk about the breakfast they prepared. It was seriously good.
Here’s how it came down.
We were taking separate flights from our respective home airports and meeting in Denver to drive a couple of hours to our little cabin. Our flight arrived a couple of hours before theirs. The Grill-Meister texted them before we took off: “We are going to grocery shop while waiting for your plane. Any meal requests? And/or food preferences?”
The text response from our new daughter-in-law, to be known here as “The Girl Who is Always Hungry (or just Hungry Girl): “I will make a breakfast quiche if you get the ingredients!”, with the photo below.
We were all over that idea!
And so, yesterday morning, here’s how our marvelous brunch was produced.
The finished product was wonderful – rich, creamy, filling and yet healthy-tasting with the tomatoes, herbs and spinach. It is a recipe that could be tweaked easily, with additions or substitutions like artichoke hearts, grilled vegetables, roasted corn or breakfast meats.
We were fortunate at Glover Gardens this summer to celebrate a wedding. Our oldest millennial tied the knot with the young woman we always knew was a keeper. Woohoo!
The newlyweds are at Little House in the Rockies in Colorado with us for a long weekend and made a wonderful breakfast quiche this morning. During our meal on the back porch overlooking aspen trees turning yellow and snow-capped mountains in the distance, they put me on the spot. Knowing I was going to post their recipe and the resulting deliciousness (watch this space!), they asked when I plan to give them Glover Gardens Cookbook aliases, along the lines of my husband’s: The Grill-Meister. Today! Here’s what they chose:
The bride: The Girl Who is Always Hungry. This is an excellent moniker for her; she seems to eat about every 2 hours without gaining weight. I could make a jealous comment about metabolism, but I try to take the high road here in the Glover Gardens Cookbook.
The groom: The Best Eater. Seriously, this is true. I’ve been in this young man’s life now for about a dozen years, and he trumps everyone in my circle when it comes to an adventurous palate. But he combines his bold and courageous approach to new foods with a love and appreciation of the standards, the comfort food, the mundane, even. He just appreciates a meal. And he doesn’t gain weight, either…
You’ll hear more about this dynamic duo, starting with the marvelous quiche they made for breakfast this morning. But I wanted to introduce them to you first.
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!
drink up before your journey;
~ thanks for stopping by ~
This hungry little beauty zoomed up to the feeder at Little House in the Rockies within two minutes of my filling it, and then posed for me for a moment. The early bird gets the bright red go-juice! Migration is just a month away for this Black-Chinned Hummingbird.
Mindfulness is so easy in the quiet of a mountain cabin.
Tarryall Reservoir, its waterfall and creek are magnets for us when we are in Colorado at Little House in the Rockies, in every season. On this trip, we saw a proud old Ford truck parked near the waterfall, which inspired a haiku.
Solid old Ford says “Sure, I’m a little retro, but I’m still ready!”
Sometimes I feel that way myself: a little retro, perhaps, but still ready. Bring it on, world!
Cline Ranch State Wildlife Area is located on Highway 285 in South Park, a few miles north of Como. It features three miles of upper Tarryall Creek for fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing.
We visited during our trip to Little House in the Rockies over the weekend, and fell in love.
We spent more than an hour in 12 degree (Fahrenheit) weather exploring the frozen tundra, which is dotted with vibrant native grasses even in the dead of winter, and taking in the awesome majesty of Tarryall Creek. The video below is 17 seconds of pure wonder, the sights and sounds of an indomitable creek that flows beneath the frozen surface. (Hover over the video for the Play button.)
For more of the Little House in the Rockies / Colorado series, click here.
And you can learn more about the Cline Ranch State Wildlife Area here.