Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Goodbye Jeep Cherokee

We finally got around to selling the Jeep Cherokee. Since we bought the new Jeep, it has sat in the parking lot only to be started once in awhile and moved. We bought it in 1997 and it was the first car that I loved! I wasn't even interested in a new car until Jeep started making the Unlimited, so that all 5 of us could fit in a real Jeep. All four of these photos are probably on my blog somewhere, but I thought I'd make a little tribute since the Cherokee has been such an awesome and faithful vehicle that we traveled about 150,000 miles in over the last 11 years. This first one was taken when we chopped down our Christmas tree in the national forest last December. The Cherokee even made it over Imogene Pass last summer.

Gold King Basin.

This was the morning we left Oklahoma to move to Telluride!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Irreplaceable Friends

Well Ari and Kristen are on their way to L.A. and will be living near his family and the school he will be attending. I'm so sad we didn't have more time with them. Kristen and I come from similar backgrounds and instantly had a strong friendship bond. Ari was in the Marines so there was never a shortage of things to talk about with Jay. We all feel that God brought us into each others' lives for a reason, and we'll always keep in touch. Thursday night the Marshal's Office had a going away dinner at Rustico, which is where we took these pictures. It was only the second time we ate dinner with them at Rustico since Emilio's is our usual place, sometimes Shanghai. Hopefully we will be going to visit them sometime next year, maybe over spring break. Ari and Kristen's new condo is very close to the beach and to Disneyland. I would love to take Maralee to Disneyland while she is still young enough to be excited about it. I'm pretty sure Garrett and Savanna would be excited, too. Kristen is crazy about Disneyland and plans to have a season pass. It was a very sad good-bye, but I am excited about what God is doing in their lives, and Telluride will always be here if they decide to come back. :) I wish them the best with Ari's school and Kristen's new job in the restaurant biz!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

First Week of Fall

There are a few aspen trees changing color around here, but I think it will be another week to 10 days until the autumn colors are at their peak. I thought the leaves were changing a little later than last year until I looked up my photos from a year ago. I will be driving over Last Dollar Road within the next two weeks for sure, and Owl Creek Pass if I have time. There is still lots of green around Aldasoro Ranches. Now this is actually a shot of Wilson Peak that I've never taken before!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Strange View

I was just thinking about how I don't have much to blog about this weekend when I happened to look out the window to see the clouds above Ajax. The sun was shining so brightly on Ajax, but directly above it was this dark cloud, then a beautiful white, fluffy cloud above. Well, you can just see it for yourself.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Telluride Blues and Brews Festival

The 15th Telluride Blues and Brews Festival is our town's official end of summer. After this weekend, town will be pretty quiet until ski season starts the week of Thanksgiving. We woke up Friday morning to see new snow on the peaks, making a beautiful backdrop for the festival.

I bought a 3-day pass this year. Jay has to work everyday of the festivals, but I took off work so I could enjoy it this time. The festival food was awesome! I bought the wontons a few times.

Savanna climbed the rock wall twice at the medium level of difficulty and made it to the top both times.
The crowd is here enjoying the warm weather. It was so warm in the sun that shorts and tank tops were comfortable during the daytime, but as soon as the sun went down a jacket and hat were needed. I think I took this picture when I was listening to Back Door Slam, a group from the Isle of Man. They were my favorite!
Everyone had to stop what they were doing to look at the moon Saturday night.
The girls enjoyed the kids area of the festival. Garrett didn't get to go in with us because he is old enough that he needed a full-price ticket. I don't think he cared about blues music, anyway.
Here is the stage with 9,000 people packed around it. That's actually a lot smaller number of people than the Bluegrass Festival.
The next two are night shots of Etta James and the Roots Band performing Sunday night.
This is a video of Etta James performing At Last, one of my favorite old songs. What a voice!! She is almost 70 years old, but can still put on a great show.

Telluride Miners Volleyball

Sixth grade is the first year that kids can play volleyball for the public schools. Savanna was ready to jump in and learn how to play after watching the Olympics this summer. My pictures didn't turn out great. The lighting isn't good in the elementary school gym for photos, but I thought I'd share some anyway. Savanna is in the center in the photo below. Here is Savanna right after serving. I think this one didn't make it over the net.

Savanna and Bailey, right after Savanna hit the ball.

Savanna is front and center here. She is number 11.

We did lose this game to Nucla, 23-25, but I got a great video of Savanna!! She served six times in a row and scored 5 points. I was quiet here because I don't like to hear my voice recorded, but thankfully the parents around me were cheering for her!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

First Snow of the Season

I knew it was raining when I woke up this morning, but after opening my sleepy eyes and looking out the window, I saw that it had snowed on Ajax! September 10 is officially the first snow of the season. I knew it would probably warm up and melt away, and I was right. I took several photos today as the weather and view changed.
It only snowed at the higher elevations above timberline. It was brought to my attention today by my friend Phil that a true Coloradoan calls it the "timberline" and not "treeline" like I mentioned in a mass e-mail I sent out this morning. I knew that didn't look right! Furthermore, my friend Steve posted a bulletin on Myspace about me reporting the snow, and he had also posted it as timberline. Even though the definition of the two words are the same, I'll call it timberline from now on so Phil won't call me a newbie.
The snow completely melted off of Ajax.
Now there's barely any snow left up there, but I'm sure there will be more in the next few weeks!

Ajax Peak

Even though Wilson Peak is my favorite mountain, I definitely take more photos of Ajax Peak. It's the perfect backdrop to anything you do in Telluride. Jay hiked Ajax last summer on a day that I was stuck at the computer working, and Monday of this week I decided I was ready to hike it with him. The hike begins at the house at the top of Bridal Veil Falls. From there you have to hike up Black Bear Pass to the Ajax trailhead which is next to the steps.
Here is Jay on Black Bear Pass with the Black Bear Mill behind him.
We couldn't have asked for better weather. It was sunny and a great temperature.
There are three mining cables above the steps of Black Bear Pass. The trailhead for Ajax is between the second and third cable.
There is a "swing" from one of the mining cables that someone has taped duct tape on and apparently you are really a Tellurider if you have been on this swing. I definitely did not want Jay to do it, but what did him in was me saying, "You're almost 40 years old!" He tried it out first by hand.
Then of course he decided he would try it on foot. I had my cell phone and was prepared to call for rescue if necessary.
I do not in any way endorse swinging from 100-year-old mining equipment. These photos are for entertainment purposes only.
This is what the trailhead for Ajax Peak looks like. There is no sign, but watch for the cairn on the left side of the road.
The poor wild flowers are withering away. These actually looked like they were crying.
The house at the top of Bridal Veil Falls is in this photo. Can you see it? You might have to click on it to see the larger version.
I think it's autumn above timberline.
There are two Jeeps on Black Bear Pass in this one. Again, you might have to click and view a larger version to see them.
Silver Lake was across from me here, with Lizard Head Peak, Mt. Wilson, El Diente and Wilson Peak above. Silver Lake is another difficult hike I would like to do sometime.
Looking down on Imogene Pass and the ghost town of Tomboy.
Are we there yet? No, seriously....
This looks like a scary and difficult trail, but this part was actually easy. It was the steep switchbacks before we got to the rocky part of the trail that were the hardest.
Mt. Sneffels is just right of center here.
Right before the summit there is a huge grassy area. Jay even mentioned it looked like we should run around singing, ♫ The hills are alive with the sound of music! ♪ I was a little bit dizzy, so I refrained from running and spinning around for fear of falling off the cliff.
The view of Telluride from the summit is amazing. You have a nice view of some of the ski runs on the left above town and the large green patches on the east side of town are mine tailings that have grass grown over them. The mine tailings look bigger than town from up here.
The summit of Ajax is 12,785 feet. We had an elevation gain of almost 2,500 feet in just 2 1/2 miles. I'm still breaking in my boots and my feet, so I had some blisters by the time I got to the top. On the way down, I had severe knee pain to look forward to! I think a steep hike is somewhat like childbirth. You forget the pain you went through because the sense of accomplishment and the reward was so great at the end that you're ready to do it again before you know it. Jay thinks Ajax is a good practice for doing something harder like Uncompahgre Peak. Maybe next year I can try it.
There is a yellow bottle at the summit with scraps of paper stuffed inside that you can sign as an unofficial register. The pen in the bottle is out of ink, so if you happen to be hiking up Ajax, please take a new pen to leave in the bottle!
My favorite red spot is to the right of Jay, the summit of Imogene Pass. Ajax isn't high enough to see the "sea of mountains" like Jay and Garrett saw from the summit of Uncompahgre Peak. It would have had to have been a 13er or 14er to see that.
It was really strange to be able to see Imogene Pass and Black Bear Pass at the same time. You may have to click on this to see a larger version, but both roads are visible at the far left and far right of the photo.
Time to go back! We had to pick Maralee up from school by 3:10 and we were on the summit at 12:30.
That's Trico Peak left of center. This part of the trail looks easy, but it's so steep in places that it becomes slippery. We were side-stepping and using our hiking poles a lot. Ajax Peak is a pretty significant hike in the Telluride area, and I couldn't find very much information about it. If you are interested in seeing many more photos of the trail, click HERE.
Autumn colors above the timberline.
There is a lot less water flowing down Ingram Falls now that the time of snow melting has slowed down. It was no problem finding rocks to step on to keep from getting our feet wet.
The Black Bear Mill is the last photo I took on the way down. Having to hike back down Black Bear Pass after hiking Ajax Peak is totally exhausting and was killing our knees. I was ready to hitch a ride with whatever vehicle might pass by. Going up and down three flights of stairs to do 10 loads of laundry today has been awesome for my knee recovery.
We keep losing friends to various parts of the country, and just found out about some that won't be returning this winter, but Jonnie is back from Australia working for the Marshal's Office and his wife Katie will be back soon and wants to go hiking!! Maybe we can make it back up to Blue Lake before the winter weather is here to stay.
Here's a video of Ingram Falls, much calmer than it was when I stood in the water earlier this summer.