Monday, July 27, 2015

Colorado Wildlife

Post by Loretta

We have been in Colorado for the past month and have enjoyed all it has to offer!  The scenery is totally amazing, the mountains majestic, and the weather is mostly perfect.

This posting is going to be primarily a photographic display of some of the wildlife we have encountered on our journey while in Colorado.  Hope you enjoy!


Adorable Fawn

Where's Mama?

These White Pelicans were doing a synchronized dance.  They were in a circle and would all go heads under, then heads up - all at the same time.  We watched for about ten minutes and they were continuing as we left.  We speculated they were catching small fish.

White Pelicans
Bottoms Up!

White Pelicans
In Colorado?!?

Heads Up!

Red Tailed Hawk

While observing these Opsrey and taking photos, only ONE baby was noticed.  However, when I downloaded the pictures, I was delighted to see TWO babies in the nest!  But you will notice, the baby is about as big as the Mama, so they are almost juveniles instead of babies.  Look carefully for the second one in the background, laying down, in the last two photos.

Mama and TWO Baby Ospreys
(Look Closely on the Left)

Osprey Eyes
Mama has yellow, baby has red

Practicing the Wing Flap

Male Ruddy Ducks have a blue bill during summer breeding season.  This was the first we had seen with a blue bill and we watched as he put on quite the display for the females.  It was totally fascinating!

Ruddy Duck with Blue Bill
(Breeding Color)

Cute Little Chipmunk?

Blue Grosbeak

Yellow Headed Blackbird

Swainson's Hawk

Gray-Headed Junco
with Insect

We have seen thousands and thousands of Coots over the years, but this is the first time we ever saw a BABY Coot.  Who would have ever thought they looked like this?!?  Isn't it just precious?

Mama and Baby Coot

Baby Coot

And for the grand finale - a most beautiful male Elk with a huge, twelve point set of velvet covered antlers.  He was in the Rocky Mountain National Park and was a gift to me for my first trip there.

Male Elk

Posing Twelve Point Male Elk
in the
Rocky Mountain National Park

These are only a few of the Colorado birds and animals we have had the privilege of seeing.  We will be sure to include more photos with future posts.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Small Town in a Small World

Post by Henry

Our current location in the San Luis Valley of Colorado is kind of remote.  That’s not a complaint.  We prefer remote locations.  We’re out in the country at a quiet little campground with views of big mountains in all directions.  It’s absolutely beautiful. 

The View from our Camp Site
Looking West

The View heading North

If there’s a downside, it’s that you have to travel a long way to the grocery store.  And when you DO go, you need to make sure you don’t forget something important (like coffee or beer) or else you have to go without (Gasp!) or make another trip back.  Our choices for grocery stores here are fifty (50) miles south to Alamosa or thirty (30) miles north to Salida.

Part of the fun on our journey has been checking out new places.  Sometimes we discover cool towns that seem like they would be a great place to live.  And some places are……….not.

Salida turned out to be a very cool place in more ways than one.

Looking at Salida from Arkansas River Bridge

It’s a small town with a population of 5,000+ people.  The bustling little downtown historic district is alive with people, eateries, assorted shops, and Loretta’s favorite kind of shop - consignment.  It appears to be a very dog friendly town as we noticed folks walking their pooches everywhere, including in the shops and eateries, too.

The first day we visited, they were getting ready to kick off the 67th Annual Whitewater Festival, known locally as FIBArk - First in Boating the Arkansas.  The headwaters of the Arkansas River flows through town and this year, the water was unusually high due to the spring snow melt and above average rainfall.  

The Raging Arkansas River
Where there is normally a riverside sidewalk under the balconies!

The riverfront park had a stage for live music, and tents set up for various vendors.

So we were wandering around town and while Loretta was in one of the consignment shops, I parked my butt outside on a bench and was looking at something on my phone when I sensed two people come around the corner and stop in front of me.

Then came two questions:

“Are you from the Atlanta area?”

“Yep” I responded, kinda stunned.

“You work for United Distributors?”

“Yep, that’s me” I said, even more stunned.

This is an amazing moment!  Here I am, 1,500 miles away in a small town in Colorado, being recognized by someone who used to work for the same company I worked for!  James retired almost two (2) years before me, and last year he and his wife, Mary, moved to Salida after falling in love with this enchanting, small town and to be closer to their son and daughter, who have been living in Colorado for over ten years.  Another uncanny coincidence - James and Mary are Loretta's parents names!

James and I didn’t know each other at work very well, as we worked in different departments in separate buildings, but here we were in Colorado, James and Mary, Loretta and I, striking up a friendship and acting like we’d known each other for years!

Henry and James Enjoying a Cold One

And it got better from here.

We got together later that same day at the riverfront park to catch some of the live music and support one of the events’ sponsors, Eddyline Brewing.

FIBArk Music at the Park

We went back on Saturday for a full day of festivities in Salida, starting with the local farmers market.

At 10:00 a.m. was the Whitewater Festival Parade, complete with marching bands, clowns, antique cars, fire trucks, and everything you would expect at a small town All American event.

Start the Parade!
Save the Planet
Greedy, Pooping Pink Pig
No More Taxes!
Eat More Fish
Riding High in Colorado, USA

We watched some of the whitewater kayaking competition, with participants from all over the world.

Kayaking Fun
Going for It!

The day culminated with the four of us having dinner at a restaurant overlooking the river, and were joined by their son, Robert, and daughter, Caroline, and her husband, Dan.

Phew!  What a day!

Since then, we’ve spent more time together.

We traveled up to Leadville to attend the BBQ & Brew Festival, which was another full day in a historic Old West town.

Music in Leadville, CO

Recently, we hung out with them for a day in and around Salida, first going to the local Arts Festival. Afterward, we hiked to the top of “S” Mountain, which got our heart rate up and gave us a bird’s eye view of the town and surrounding mountains.

"S" Mountain in Salida

James, Mary, Loretta and Henry
at the top of "S" Mountain

We topped the day off being treated to a delicious cookout at James and Mary’s house, which is located within walking distance of downtown.

And one final outing began with James and Mary coming out to our campsite and then on to the little town of Saguache (pronounced Suh-watch) for a very tasty lunch at a local diner, which included homemade coconut pie (yum)!

Want a bite?  Temptation...

Afterwards we walked through the town.  In the park, they had pictures of the town back in the 1800's, and the town still looks just the same as it did back then!

Mary and Loretta talked briefly with this gentleman, who was working on a 1920's model Linotype machine.  He prepares the local newspaper to this day on this machine which first belonged to his grandfather, then his dad, and he continues the legacy.  

A Bygone Era

We’ve certainly enjoyed spending time with our new friends, James and Mary.

I’ve been told there are no coincidences in life.  Some things were meant to be.

It all started with the closest grocery store being in Salida.  And checking out the cool, little town.  And me sitting on the bench outside of the consignment shop at that exact time on that particular day……..