Sunday, April 25, 2010

Springtime in the Rockies Craziness

I have lived in Colorado for many years now. I don't know why I'm surprised when spring is such a mess. It starts with snow off and on in March, April, sometimes into May. The flowers finally poke their heads out of the dirt, only to get slammed with snow. Fortunately, so far this year, they haven't been snowed on. But we've had really cold, windy days, and two days of a lovely rain.

We usually have one really nice day each week, giving us hope. Yesterday it was very cold and windy until about 3:00 in the afternoon when suddenly, the wind blew all the clouds away, probably to Nebraska, or maybe up to South Dakota, where it's snowing today. Wherever it went, the later afternoon was beautiful. We went to Greeley, a few miles east, for a birthday party, and the trip back to Loveland was beautiful as the snowy peaks showed their faces for the first time in days.

Springtime always brings lots of work for DC, as he gets the yard ready for the summer. One constant, every year, is some sort of problem with the sprinkling system. This year as he prepared to start the system, he discovered some leaks. As he dug and searched, he found this going on --

This tree is probably 30 years old this year - it was probably 4 inches in diameter when we planted it. It is huge --

---as are the roots --

As he dug to find the problem, he found this ---

These roots were entwined with the black sprinkler hose, causing leaks in these two lines --

The sod is sitting in the yard in a wheel barrow, waiting for sunshine, or at least no rain or snow, so that he can get back to the job.

We had company last week-end - a friend of DC's from his youth in Wisconsin. This man became a friend of mine through CaringBridge, when his wife was dealing with lung cancer (non-smoker's) last year. He wrote beautifully about the journey, and I wrote comments often. He wanted to come and visit us (and DC's sister as well). Last week-end the opportunity presented itself in an unusual form. He offered to make the trip out here with a friend whose mom had died of cancer, who needed his support.

We had hoped to show off our beautiful state and enjoy a day trip. We did enjoy the trip, the weather certainly did not cooperate. I wish I had counted how many time DC said, as he drove through the canyons, "Now if the sun were shining, you could see . . . " It got to be humorous.

We went through the Boulder Canyon up to a ghost town called Gold Hill. It's not technically a ghost town any more, because some hardy souls have decided it would be a good place to live and are repopulating it in the last few years. This caught our eye right away when we parked and got out of the car ---

Needless to say, there were no birds in the cage!

There are several buildings that are on the National Registry - it would be fun to eat here sometime.

Interesting old building - antique Sinclair gas sign.

Just a view of "Main Street"

The old fire engine --

On occasion, as we tooled around that day, you could spot a peak above the clouds. It was beautiful, no matter.

We took the Peak-to-Peak Highway over to Estes Park, where we had lunch at our favorite little restaurant, The Big Horn Restaurant (formerly Cafe - came up in the world, I guess)

Believe it or not, all these years I've lived in Colorado, I have driven by the Stanley Hotel hundreds of times, but never gone in to have a look. We remedied that situation after lunch. The Stanley Hotel was built by the creator of the Stanley Steamer.

It is a beautiful hotel with amazing views. I would love to stay there sometime - I want one of those rooms with the balcony.

The hotel has been open since 1909. It is a very popular wedding/reception destination. I love this beautiful piano, and this "Music Room."

The stairways are lovely -

One of the rooms was being cleaned, so I grabbed the chance to take a couple of pictures.

If you're a Stephen King fan, which I'm not, you probably know that his book The Shining was based on this hotel. It seems that there are many ghost stories connected with the history. The mini-series (which I didn't watch) was filmed here, and this mock-up of the hotel was used for the outdoor views, in my understanding. The second picture gives you a bit of perspective of the size.

As we were getting ready to leave, one of those wonderful serendipitous moments occurred - Kristen's favorite elementary teacher ever (5th grade) walked in with her family - they were scouting out wedding sites. What fun to see her again.

Our last photo op was a few minutes besides the fireplace on this cold and gloomy day -

Thanks for going along on our little day trip - I know it's too long, Grammy!

Have a wonderful week!


Linds said...

You do live in a beautiful place, Dawn! Hopefully you will get better weather soon. Just as well your husband is able to fix the sprinkler system - we don't have many of them around rains to often!

Linds said...

"too" for goodness sake! When will I learn to check!

Nadine said...

The hotel was beautiful (I loved the stairs and the view). Looks like you all had a fun day.

Sammy said...

Wow, I love that ghost town!! Amazing!

You live in such a beautiful place.

That hotel is gorgeous. I'd like to stay there too!

Good luck with the sprinkler system! UGH!

Denise said...

Thanks for stopping by..... Taking care of both my parents was not something that I thought I would ever do...... I thought maybe one of the other siblings would help or that one would go and there would be the need to take care of just one of them...... Mercy what a ride...

Your pictures are beautiful and what a beautiful place...... The ghost town pictures were so interesting.. Nothing like that around here!

Have a blessed week!

Linda said...

I think it was a lovely day despite the weather Dawn. You absolutely must stay in that hotel at least once - ghosts or no!
I wish we had thought about installing a sprinkler system. Instead I just run out every once in a while to move the sprinkler!
Have a blessed week Dawn.

Glenda said...

Hi, Dawn! Enjoyed seeing your part of the world! I especially liked your photos of the peaks . . . so beautiful even if the sun wasn't shining. Also loved the beautiful staircases in the old hotel. It's amazing what we sometimes fail to see so close to us! Glad you had a fun day!

Amy said...

Absolutely gorgeous Dawn! Makes me want to take a trip to CO and go see the sites myself.

I love to see mountains. One of my favorite parts of our trip to Yellowstone was the Tetons.

Thanks for sharing!

Brenda said...

What fun pictures! So you didn't get any of the snow. We did either tho' north of Springs got slammed I hear.
My brother got married in Estes Park, but I don't think they stayed at that Hotel. I did hear that about Stephen King.
Have a great week.

Hootin' Anni said...

Who says your posts are too long? Why they should be horse-whipped! [kidding of course]

All this...ALL This road trip looks so familiar! I can honestly say, "been there, done that". And the Stanley Hotel....we used to go there to eat dinner sometimes through the summer months.

Ahhhhhh, Estes. Love the area.

The snow? You can have that tho. Of course, you know that coming from me.

And the sprinkler system? Bud is gonna have to do the very same. I had it set in the raised flower bed against the backyard privacy fence and the water....water, water everywhere!!! And it's in the same area that he repaired just last month. Go figure. I'm thinking either his patch work didn't take 'hold, or a new leak formed. Goodie!!!

Have a great week Dawn.

Hootin' Anni said...

Hi again...this is kinda a "P.S" this morning. The movie on Lifetime? It is VERY good. Sad. But, good.

And if you're really interested in it, go here and there is a place to add a 'reminder' for you when it'll be aired again.

A Hint of Home said...

What a gorgeous hotel. I would love to walk through that place!
Looks like you all had a wonderful time together.
I hope you have some beautiful weather for awhile.

Judith said...

Hello again, Dawn,

I tried and tried to find your e-mail address, to not only thank you for the great trip of more of Colorado, but especially revisitiong Gold Hill, and the famous old Standly hotel.

I wanted to e-mail you about a trip my psychology class and instructor from ACC did there in the eighties, but I can't find your e-mail, so if there's some way to get it to me, I would so appreciate that. My trying to leave it here would take away from your post, about the Stanley, which by the way is outstanding. So please bear with me, til I can do better, and I so appreciate your staying in touch.

Keep those travel logs coming. It's great revisiting almost anywhere in our great state.

grammy said...

What great fun to have company....even if it was cold
glad you still went and experienced the mountains (o:
It snowed Sunday night pretty bad on the way home from Bible Study (Carter Lake area). I have never walked in the Stanley either. Do they care if you just go in and look around?
The tulips have finally had a chance this year...they almost always get Smashed ...before they come out.
that was really weird...but expected I guess, about the roots and the sprinkler system...good luck

Needled Mom said...

Aaahhh....sprinkler woes! That looks like a real pain!

Your pictures are just stunning, Dawn.

I am feeling the itch for another road trip!!!! We love that Boulder Canyon area and Estes Park. We have stayed several times at the Lodge on the lake and have always said that one of these trips we will stay at the Stanley. We have eaten lunch there and it is just gorgeous. Thanks for the view of the rooms!!! Did you know that it is listed in the haunted places to visit? Creepy! Are the elk still as troublesome as they used to be?

Thanks for sharing such a delightful trip with us.

Gigi said...

Hey - THIS Grammy enjoyed every second of the trip!! Thanks for sharing all your pictures - they were wonderful! Our best friends used to live in Gold Hill - North Carolina! You could actually see the gold dust in the street...

I think I noticed that I'm not in your blogroll either...could I be? Please? :)

Gigi said...

Yep, I'm a follower!! See the pic of me and my Sweet Hubby in your "follower's block?"

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

I enjoyed that trip!

PEA said...

Ah yes, tree roots can definitely cause problems!! We had to cut down a few trees that were in our backyard a few years ago because the roots had reached the house and were starting to come through the cement walls of the basement!

Ok, what was that cat doing in the bird cage???? lol Not something you see every day, is it:-)

Oh wow, how I would have loved to have been with you to visit Gold Hill, what a quaint little place and glad to see that it's beginning to see life again after almost being a ghost town!

And the Stanley Hotel...oh yes, I would love that place indeed! lol Especially since it's considered haunted. Look at those wonderful views from the balcony, wow! I've seen The Shining quite a few times and how awesome that that's the hotel it was based on. Can you imagine being able to stay there, I'd love it, everything is so gorgeous inside and outside. I so enjoyed your day trip:-) xoxo

Sharon Lynne said...

Wow. That was fun! What a beautiful hotel! I liked how you slipped into a room for some pictures. Good move!
The room looked so peaceful.

Your weather is scary. I keep switching around the clothes in my suitcase. It looks like there will be snow on Friday.

If you get our storm, it will be light. We had one light day of rain and the clouds are moving your way. That's probably the "Friday" snow.

Midlife Mom said...

Hi! Sorry I haven't been around much, we have had some problems here. One of our dear friends, my mothers best friend, fell last week and broke her neck. They don't expect her to live so it is a day by day situation. My mother is terribly upset as you can well imagine so I am keeping a close eye on her. No, she hasn't received her cd yet but maybe today. We did sit out on the sunporch one afternoon and listened to mine and she enjoyed it so much! She said, now that's MY kind of music! :o) She will be really pleased when it arrives and it will be a nice surprise for her.

Poor Kev, I hope he is feeling better by now! I wasn't familiar with the town that they went to. Warmer weather will be here soon and that will be a help for him, well, except for the black flies!!

I haven't had any problem leaving a comment so I don't know why NM is.

The Stanley Hotel is beautiful! I didn't know it was connected to one of Stephen Kings books but I don't read his stuff either. Love all the beautiful pictures that you took!!!!

We haven't had to turn on our sprinkler system for three years as it has been so wet here. Probably when we do there will be leaks everywhere!!! At one of of other houses we had weeping willow trees and those roots got into EVERYTHING! We finally had to have them cut down.

Must get going, duty calls. Oh btw we got a foot of snow in the mountains a couple days ago!!!