Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Week in Review

Well, actually, it's a review of the last couple of weeks -- we've had one really hot day, two or three perfect days, and several wet and cool days. Never a dull moment around here. The Big Thompson River is running really high and fast, but so far no flooding down here.

I've actually been up to Estes Park twice this week - really quite hard to believe. The first time was with my two dear friends from high school in Nebraska. These two are like extra sisters to me, and we've seen each other through a lot in the last 25 years since we've connected here in Colorado. One is back in Nebraska, but has a cabin out here in the mountains. The other one lives about 20 miles from me. We get together as often as we can.

Monday we spent about 6 hours catching up, and had a lovely dinner at one of our favorite places above Estes Park called The Bald Pate Inn. It has a fun history, so check it out if you're interested. They have the most delicious soups, salad, muffins, breads, and pies.

The inn is old and rustic, made of logs, and has sloping wooden floors which add to its charm. They employ several college students every summer from all over the country, in fact the world, who are majoring in Restaurant and Resort Management. It's always fun to visit with these young people who are enjoying their stay in the mountains for the summer. I just learned that the book and Broadway play on which the name of the inn is based is inspiration for an outdoor drama they do each summer in their amphitheater. I'd love to go back up there and see it, but it doesn't look like it will happen this year.

A couple of days later, DC and I headed back up there with his sister who lives here and his brother and SIL who were visiting from Georgia. It was one of those cold, wet, gray days down here. But as we headed up, we broke through the clouds and in fact could see them below us as we climbed. The elk were out in great numbers on this day - we even saw one at the top of the mountain, which is highly unusual this early in the season - he was eating brown grass when the ones down below were dining on succulent greens.

You can see brown trees in this picture - they are victim to the pine bark beetle, which is destroying so many of our forests. It is very sad. They haven't figured out a way to stop it yet.

As we got higher, we found our picnic spot and enjoyed a bit of sun and warmth (if you sat right in the sun). This was in the Lawn Lake area, where a devastating flood roared through in 1980, due to the failure of a dam. It did great damage to Estes Park, just 4 years after the Big Thompson flood, which started below Estes, but caused tourists not to be able to get there for a couple of years. So they suffered about 6 years or more to their tourist economy. Here you can see reminders still evident.

But the area was beautiful and we enjoyed ourselves, along with many others who were out with the same idea. Many of them were spotting big horn sheep up on the rocks in the trees, but I never was able to locate them.

We proceeded to the top of the world via Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous highway in the US. There was so much snow up there this past winter that the opening, which is usually around Memorial Day, was the latest in 20 years. Driving between the plowed banks felt as if you were going through a tunnel.

I took this one outside my window. I love the puffy cloud and deep blue sky above the snowbank.

The road had only been opened for 5 days, the first several were so the workers could get up to the gift shop at the top and get it ready for the onslaught of tourists. When we got there, the shop was doing a booming business in souvenirs and lunch. It was SO cold, though sunny, up there. The wall of snow that had been scooped off the parking lot was amazing.

I stayed in the car and "let" DC take all of the rest of the cold pictures - I seriously thought the wind was going to whip him off the edge of the world at one point. I just love the shadows of the clouds floating above the snowy peaks.

Two weeks ago, we went into the mountains at the southern part of the state, up to our church camp. The occasion was especially poignant for our church, for it was the groundbreaking for a new chapel which will be named after the young man, Dan Walker, who died three summers ago while he was working there for the summer. The chapel will be so beautiful and in a setting unparalleled in its beauty, facing Pikes Peak.

Dan was a wonderful young man with a huge future. Though he is gone from us, the ripples of the impact of this chapel will be even more huge.

Dan's family turned the first shovels - mom, dad, and 3 brothers.

Kevin and Angie had quite an adventure getting to Maine. Thirteen states, 2500 miles, 45 hours in total - all driven by Kevin. Just a few miles down the road, their brand new wheel alignment proved to be inadequate - they turned back around to Cheyenne and found that the company in Fort Collins had done absolutely nothing - $168 worth of nothing. Amazing. The same company in Cheyenne did the right thing and fixed it for them, and were very kind in the process. They hit lots of construction, causing big delays. Trying to make up for lost time, Kev got a speeding ticket in Lincoln, Nebraska. They finally made it to their destination where I'd made them a reservation (they had no phone bars throughout the day) until 1:00 a.m. The second night they made it as far as Cleveland and stayed with the parents of one of the TC students. It was such a blessing to spend time with these neat people, and very refreshing to them - all of them. When the phone worked again, Angie found out she had 3 calls from the jobs she had applied for - all asking her for interviews. A fourth one came later, so she had 4 interviews coming up on that Monday. I loved the way they took it all in stride and just enjoyed being together.

On Thursday they made it to Utica, New York and had a good night's rest. The next day they got to see Niagara Falls on the Buffalo side - such a treat. They enjoyed the beauty of that part of the country and felt like tourists rather than weary travelers. The friend with the truck had gone ahead, because he had to be back at work.

They finally arrived at TC in Winthrop, Maine Friday afternoon and spent the week-end with the pastor in whose home they are staying until they can get into a place of their own. This is wonderful except for two things - ticks and black flies - oh, and no bars on her phone. But it's all sorting itself out. She had 4 interviews on Monday and one more on Thursday. Three of the 4 on Monday offered her positions - I don't know if she's heard from the 5th one, but she accepted the one on the Ob/Gyn clinic in Lewiston, Maine. It was a tough decision for her - several of them were very inviting. Talk about feeling desired! We are so proud of both of them. Keep them in your prayers if you think of them, because there's a lot of "settling in" ahead of them.

I know this is way too long, but just a little update on the kiddoes -

Miss Emma is on her second round of pink eye, and miraculously none of the rest of us has caught it. She had it in both eyes and kept saying, "I have a pink eye." Katie would then say, "I don't have a pink eye," in the tone of voice that indicated she couldn't figure out why she didn't, since they always do the same thing together.

I love listening to them when they don't know anyone's listening or watching - they love to sit at the table for a long time after the meal, making games with their toast, their silverware, and anything else they can make into a toy. They also make a huge mess in the process! That hot dog bun ended up into about 100 pieces on the floor. Oh, well, that's what brooms are for.

And just for the pure fun of it ---


Amy said...

I love love love the pictures of the mountains. So beautiful!

Congrats to Kevin and Angie.

Needled Mom said...

Your trips to Estes park look divine! I cannot believe the amount of snow that you still have up there. It makes me want to take another road trip.

That pine bark beetle is so devastating. We had a huge fire near here a few years back that was aggravated by the dead trees from it.

I am so happy for the kids. They should love it where they are and it is wonderful to be so loved!!!

Pink eye has been making the rounds here too. Those drops really burn and I feel sorry for the wee ones with it.

Hope it warms up a bit for you and for us!

Maine Mom said...

Wow, look at those snow banks!

I'm so glad that Kevin and Angie arrived in Maine safely. That is so great that Angie had so many interviews lined up and so many job offers. What a blessing! I hope Angie settles into her new job quickly and I hope they are able to find a home of their own soon.

PEA said...

How wonderful that you were able to meet up with your two friends and have lunch at such a beautiful spot! I read the history behind the Bald Pate Inn and oh how I'd love to see all those keys...imagine, people have left over 20,000 of them!!!

Your gorgeous mountain pictures reminded me so much of when I was in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Rockies go through there as well and driving up to where there's still snow was awesome. One drive we had made was to the top of Whistler Mountain, an experience I'll never forget:-)

Wow, Kevin & Angie certainly did have quite the trip back to Maine! I thought it was so cool that they got to see stop in Niagara Falls:-) Congratulations to Angie on finding a job, fingers crossed that it all works out well for her at the one she chose.

I can well imagine how much fun it is to listen to the twins when they're talking to each other. Shawn says Lily talks non stop to her dolls. lol

That's how I look when I'm brushing my teeth with my electric toothbrush!!! hehe xoxo

PEA said...

Oops, forgot to mention something. Whenever you're typing and then it mostly disappears, just right click and click on "Undo", it will all come back:-) xoxo

HOOTIN' ANNI said...

Love the dental hygiene photo!!! And the snow....oh the snow. My sister drove from HER house on the western slope to Windsor over the mid May week, and she was telling me about Eisenhower tunnel with blizzard like conditions and down 1-70 to Hwy 287 to cut and lose some was raining heavily!! Then, back thru Telluride for Memorial Day [graves]....and more heavy snow falling!!! I ever glad I'm not there any more.

But....LOVE your Big Thompson photos. Such pretty country. I have scanned some older CO photos and will post them soon.

Thanks for commenting on my kitty paw post today!! Hope your week ahead treats you well. So far, the comment issue on my little corner of the world is working right now, so I'm taking advantage of the situation. :o)

PS...the one iris from you is blooming so beautifully!!!

Linda said...

This has been a wonderful visit Dawn. I am just astounded by the wall of snow! We are absolutely sweltering here - so the snow actually looks rather inviting! In truth - I don't like being cold, so I probably would have stayed in the car with you.
It is all so beautiful.
Great news about Kev and Angie. I'll be praying they settle in well. It all sounds so good.
Those little girls are just too cute. Love the pictures.
Have a good week dear friend.

grammy said...

That was a lot of I feel somewhat caught up with you. You did not mention if you have the girls a lot this summer. Pink eye is such a pain.
We drive by the bald P. Inn for the fun of it when we are at Lily Lake... never stopped to eat. Is it you need reservations? I have no desire to drive Trail Ridge anymore. As I get older...I get a car sick alltitude headache going up there.
Glad you got to be with you girl fun.
Glad your DIL got a good job. Hope it all works out for them.

Gram said...

Glad to hear good news about the kids. Estes Park is one of my favorite places in the world. I am going this weekend with my friend who is coming in from Fl. Can't wait. I love the keys at the Bald Pate Inn.

HOOTIN' ANNI said... seems I'm trying to play catch-up again. Too bad the roses don't do well in shade [as you stated in my comment yesterday]...but I must admit SHADY YARD spells relief for me right now. LOL

Sharon Lynne said...

Beautiful pictures. I'm so glad DC braved the cold so we could see the beauty!

Maybe we prayed too hard for Angie to get a job! That is wonderful! It sounds like they are off to a good start. And there will be many more adjustments. But if God led them there...he will make a way, and open doors for them. Once again, as always, a mother has to leave her children in God's hands.

And pray.......