Winter Storm warning, hiking and Wild Animal Sanctuary

Right after the last blog post, we had a winter storm warning issued for our area here in Boulder. We woke that Monday morning to a beautiful snow-laden landscape! The roads were too warm to keep the snow, so they stayed just wet. We must have gotten about 4-6 inches on the grass, in this area, and I’m sure the mountains got more! I guess I got my snow fix! It was beautiful, but now we are back to 70-75 degrees F, beautiful weather for more walks and hikes.


The past 2 weeks we have hiked to Crater Lake near Nederland in the mountains (that was just before the snow!), Mount Sanitas west of Boulder, and the Enchanted Mesa trail of the Chautaugua in south Boulder. We’ve done babysitting with the grandkids (Jeni’s daughters), bike-riding and of course, being the foodies that we are, have found some great area eateries. I’ve walked almost every day, have seen some great amazing sunrises


and sunsets, and recently we visited the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Keenesburg, Colorado, which is northeast of Denver.

So we had planned a hike up in the mountains and drove about an hour to get there. When we got there, the Lost Lake at the Hessie trailhead parking lot was full, and we needed to drive back to the  small town of Nederland, to take a shuttle back to the trailhead. We got back to town and visited the Information Center. The attendant there gave us other options and a map. So chose Crater Lakes Trail near the Moffit Tunnel. Didn’t look too bad on the map. So we ate some lunch and drove out to the trailhead. Well, we started at 9200 feet of elevation! And I was pretty short of breath the entire 2+ hours that we hiked up an additional 2000 feet of elevation over 3 miles. So the entire hike was 4 hours, and 6 miles. My body hurt! But the views were spectacular (below) when we got to the lakes. Apparently there is one more lake, a higher up climb, but we didn’t do that. This was enough for this weary ole’ body. But I’m glad we did it. I have an app called AllTrails, and we usually check that for level of difficulty “easy”, “moderate” or “hard”. Well, we didn’t check before we did this hike, but when we got back, I did, and AllTrails notes this trail as “hard”! Next time, I’ll pick the trail!

We also hiked to Mount Sanitas just west of Boulder (below). I chose this hike, because the level of difficulty was “moderate” on my AllTrails map.

 

Another hike we had, level of “easy” was the Enchanted Mesa trail at the Chautaugua trail (below). This trail is located where the Chautaugua park is. Still some elevation, but more of a nice hike. But my body still hurts! HAHA.


The Chautaugua movement was an adult education movement in the US. highly popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Chautauqua (originated in New York) assemblies expanded and spread throughout rural America until the mid-1920s. The Chautauqua brought entertainment and culture for the whole community, with speakers, teachers, musicians, entertainers, preachers, and specialists of the day. The popularity of the Chautauqua movement can be attributed in part to the social and geographic isolation of American farming and ranching communities. People in such areas would naturally be hungry for education, culture and entertainment, and the Chautauqua Movement was a timely response to that need in the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Here is the link: Chautaugua Colorado

Located at the base of Boulder’s Flatirons and one of only 25 National Historic Landmarks in the state of Colorado, the Colorado Chautauqua is one of only a few remaining chautauquas in the U.S. It is considered THE western representation of the cultural movement that swept the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and is the only site west of the Mississippi that has been in continuous operation since its founding and with its original structures intact and used for their original purposes. It was a pretty impressive area to see.

One interesting find after a day of hiking is the Dushanbe Teahouse in Boulder. Dushanbe Teahouse Boulder. It was completely built by hand without the use of any power tools, the Teahouse was constructed in Dushanbe, Tajikistan as a gift to the sister city, Boulder. It was dismantled, shipped around the world and rebuilt as a symbol of friendship. Here are some of the elaborate ceiling and walls:

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We also visited the Wild Animal Sanctuary just north east of Denver, and east of Boulder. The Wild Animal Sanctuary is the oldest and largest nonprofit Sanctuary in the world dedicated exclusively to rescuing captive exotic and endangered large carnivores, providing them with a wonderful life for as long as they live, and educating about the tragic plight faced by an estimated 30,000 such animals in America today. Below, a couple prides of lions in their 20+ acre area. Here is their website:  Wild Animal Sanctuary


Above, the Welcome Center of The Sanctuary, which sits on 720 acres, and is located about 50 miles east of Boulder, near the town of Keenesburg. It shelters more than 450 Lions, Tigers, Bears, Leopards, Mountain Lions, Wolves and other large carnivores, it is the first sanctuary of its kind to create large acreage species-specific habitats for rescued animals. (Since January, 1980, The Wild Animal Sanctuary has responded to more than 1,000 requests from private citizens and government agencies to rescue animals from across the United States and around the world. The residents here, were abused, abandoned, illegally kept, or were victims of other terrible situations.). They recently rescued about 25 lions from Bolivia when the government made the circus’s illegal.


It is amazing to see these beautiful animals, enjoying the life of luxury after having been in such dire circumstances (plaques along the walkway describe how these animals lived, and how they were rescued).

The right side of this sign notes examples of Tiger rescues:

  • Two tigers were confiscated from a man that kept them in a horse trailer for nearly 5 years.
  • Five tigers were confiscated from a person that used them to breed and illegally sell their cubs as pets.
  • One tiger was purchased as a pet when he was only 3 days old, and was subsequently kept in a small cage in his owners back yard for over 7 years.
  • Two tigers were kept in a barn for many years by a man that was raising them on his fur farm in order to kill them and sell their skins.


About 1 1/2 years ago, they installed a 1.5 mile walkway above the sanctuary grounds, so you look below to watch the animals. You can leisurely walk to the other end, watching the animals in their own habitat, it was quite amazing.

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What a whirlwind!

What a packed week! It’s hard to believe all the places that we’ve driven to and things we’ve done, since the end of the last blog (only 12 days ago)!

From Washington, we drove south to southern Oregon to a town called Jacksonville. For only 1 night there. It’s located between Medford and Ashland, Oregon. Our AirB&B was like a little cottage, it was adorable!

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We found a little wine bar there and did some wine tasting that evening. The next morning, on to Middletown, California, to another AirB&B for 2 nights. Long driving days. We thought we would be closer to Napa and wine tasting, and were a bit disappointed in the limited wine tasting opportunities. It IS September, and not high tourist season, so many of them were only open on the weekends. We did find a vineyard and ranch, WAY out into the mountains, called Six Sigma Vineyards (seemed like it took us forever to get there, on dirt roads!). It was pretty good wine, but that’s the only one we found.

Next stop…on to Lake Tahoe where my good friend, Sandy, lives on the north side in Incline Village, Nevada. We had a wonderful 2 days with her. We visited the city of Genoa, Nevada, which boasts of having the oldest bar in Nevada. Of course, we had to check it out with a beer!

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After visiting Genoa, we headed to Gardenerville, Nevada, where many of the “Basque” sheepherders settled. Apparently these shepherds came from the basque region of Europe (from Wikipedia: Ancient DNA cracks puzzle of Basque origins: DNA from ancient remains seems to have solved the puzzle of one of Europe’s most enigmatic people: the Basques. The distinct language and genetic make-up of the Basque people in northern Spain and southern France has puzzled anthropologists for decades). I never knew this was a completely separate European culture! Early Basque immigrants to America were for the most part single men who came seeking sheepherding work. Many arrived by railroad, with little or no English language skills. For this reason Basque hotels and their restaurants were frequently located near the train station, and some of them still are. Mostly are located in the Northern Nevada and central valley of California. So Greg did a google search and found J.T.s in Gardenerville.

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The granddaughter of the original immigrant still runs the restaurant, and she came over and talked to us about the Basque culture. 

So dinner went like this, it was served “family style” with a bottle of local restaurant wine included with dinner. They first brought a large bowl of homemade soup and a ladle to help yourself. After the soup, they brought a pork and beans dish and an ox-tail stew. AMAZING! OH, and a salad. Then we each ordered a meat: sirloin, lamb, chicken or stroganoff. Sandy and I each ordered the lamb, and Greg had the stroganoff. AMAZING! Oh, the homemade wine was pretty darn good too! THEN, to top it off, ice cream for dessert, and coffee. The entire meal was a very nominal fee, and we took leftovers for Sandy’s dinner the next day. It was an amazing experience! And highly suggest if you ever have a chance to find a Basque style restaurant, TRY IT! Here’s the link:

JTs Basque restaurant

From Sandy’s in Nevada, we drove the long day to Logan, Utah, to visit and stay with Gregs high school friend, Tony. What a desolate drive! On one stretch of the desolate road, we were running low on gas and was hoping and praying that we’d find a gas station! Well, we did, but it was still pretty desolate out in the middle of no where!

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Our final long day arrival in Logan, Utah: a rewarding, beautiful sunset.

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During our stay in Logan, Greg and Tony (and his dog Keno) hiked Logan Canyon, and we all 4 (Greg, Tony, Keno and I) hiked Providence Canyon. Beautiful area.

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Toto didn’t care all that much for Keno, she’s a big blood hound with lots of energy and just wanted to play with Toto. After a while, although she was curious, she left Toto alone.

Finally, we moved on to a more permanent location. From Logan, UT, we drove to Superior, Colorado, which is maybe 10 miles from Boulder, CO. During our drive, we drove through snow-not fun! I guess I got my “snow fix”!

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We will stay at this AirB&B for the next month, visiting Jeni and family, and getting in lots of hikes. Today, we hiked to Gem Lake in Estes Park (trailhead):

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It was a great “saunter”, as John Muir would put it, with amazing views of the snow covered mountains.

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We had lunch at Gem Lake.

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As we were leaving the parking area of the trailhead to Gem Lake, we noticed all these cars parked on the side of the road! There was a huge herd of elk hanging out under an area of trees! The bull elks were moving around and bellowing. It was pretty cool to see. Not too sure these photos do it justice, but here they are:


After Gem Lake we found a little local microbrew, Cut Rock Brewing Co. in Estes Park, for our celebratory glass of local beer, it was pretty darn good!


Finally, I found a cute little Yoga Studio in Boulder, “Yoga Loft”, where I’ve signed up for the next month (unlimited classes).

It feels good to stay in one place! I don’t think we want to do anymore 1-2 overnighters. I think in the future, we will stay in one place by the month. It’s nice to just unpack and and be “home” for a while.

 

 

 

First week adventures…

We left MN on Monday morning. The back of the CRV full, the roof carrier full of pretty much all our belongings that we will be living with the next 6-7 weeks, when we return to MN.

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Drove to Rapid City, South Dakota (uneventful drive), and Tuesday we drove to Bozeman, Montana. The snow-covered mountains were beautiful!

 

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From Bozeman, we drove a LONG 11+ hours to make it to our first Air B&B in Mossyrock, Washington. Our Air B&B is located in a very secluded, very quiet area.

Mossyrock is a very small town. We chose this location because it is 1.5 hours south of Mount Rainier, and 1.5 hours north of Vancouver, Washington (a place we may consider buying property at some day). Mount Rainier is where Gregs brother, Geoffs, ashes are. In 2015, the family spread his ashes there (Geoff passed away in 2012, very suddenly. He lived in Olympia, WA and loved Mount Rainier).

So first order of business after arriving in Washington, was to get our Washington Drivers License, and register to vote. So on Thursday, we headed to the Drivers License office located in Lacey, WA (just outside of Olympia). SO…..as I’m standing at the counter the lady looks at me and says, “your drivers license is expired”!!! WHAT??? Yep, it expired on my birthday this year. I never got a reminder in the mail, but then again, we were in the Caribbean until April, and it probably got forwarded to Kenny, or Kenny never got it. Well, that’s water under the dam, now I need to get this fixed. How? you ask? WELL!! I needed to go to a driving school (located 6 block away, thankfully), and take both the written and behind the wheel tests! YEP! Can you believe it! Well, it had to be done, I couldn’t be without a drivers license (as it was, I’ve been driving for 4+ months without one!). So, I take the written test, got 9 wrong (could only get 8 wrong to pass), so I had to take it AGAIN! At the instructors availability and she was busy. Needless to say, I passed with only 2 wrong the 2nd time. THEN I had to take the behind the wheel test, again, at the instructors availability. So, this was a all day affair, but I passed, then had to go BACK OVER to the Drivers Licensing office to get a drivers license. That went easily enough. But what a day that was!

The next day, we drove to Mount Rainier to visit Geoff. We drove first to Paradise Inn at the base of Mount Rainier, this was one of Geoffs favorite places. And I can see why. If you’ve never been here, I highly recommend it. It is a beautiful chalet built in 1917 without one nail. Great beautiful craftsmanship!

After having a beer there, we drove down to where we spread Geoffs ashes, had a beer for him, and had lunch. A beautiful spot that I’m sure Geoff agrees.

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The next day we drove to Vancouver, Washington, to discover the town. We rode our bikes on the trail paralleling the Columbia River, saw sailboats, and apparently they have sailboat races on Tuesday nights during the summer! Vancouver had a good feel to it, so far.

Aquataurus and Irma

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Last week we were anxiously watching the path that Hurricane Irma was taking. Since Irma left the Caribbean, we have seen the devastation she left behind on some of the beautiful islands that we had visited in the past which include the USVI and BVI. Before this, we had even considered sailing up to the USVI and BVI in the coming sailing season. But now, I don’t think they’ll have the resources for sailors, let alone their own population. That being said, we will probably stay in the southern Caribbean this coming season.

As you can see from the map above, Antigua and Barbuda were in Irmas path and were some of the hardest hit islands, with 90% of the islands destroyed. So Irma’s path was further north than where Aquataurus is located on the island of Martinique. We feel very lucky! We have sailing friends down in the Caribbean that we have been in touch with, and they are safe. There are others who have not fared as well, loosing their home/sailboat (but they are safe). We pray for those sailors as well as the locals who inhabit the islands. They count on tourism for their livelihood, so this will be difficult for them to rebound from. Below you can see Nanny Key in Tortola on the BVI, before and after photos. Total devastation. We’ve been here years past.

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As we inhabit our home for the last days of our time here, we look forward to travel in the US, visiting family and friends before we return to Aquataurus for a few weeks in November and December, back to the US for Christmas, then for the sailing season in January 2018. The hurricane season lasts until the end of October, so we continue to watch the weather. Until next time…

 

Website (not this blog!!) to be inactivated

Well, my lnwellness.com website has come up for renewal on Sept 28, 2017. I’ve decided that I’m going to let it lapse, and will not renew it. Therefore, this blog will be the place for people to stay in touch with us (not my website).

So it’ll remain live, until Sept 28, 2017. Just thought I should let everyone know. At that time, I will remove it as a link here on my blog, as well.

Ok so I’m having an emotional moment

As I sit on our porch, looking over our gardens, I think of all the work we put in. And I’m getting sad about leaving our home. Today the buyers sign the final papers, then we will be renters in our former home, for 2 more weeks. I look at the pergola, and think about Greg and Kenny building it. I look at our beautiful waterfall and think about our friend Marv building it. I look at our pavers of the patio and think of our friend Dave laying them. I look at our home and think about Greg and I designing it, 18 years ago, and contacting (our now friend), Todd, to build it. 

I think of the animals that have passed through our yard! Just this morning! Ben the bunny (I named him/her). Have seen him/her a few times this week.


Can you find him above? He’s at the end of the waterfall.

So many memories, so much love. I look at all my flowers, plants, and think about planting them.  I look at some of the plants I got from my mom, and think about her, and bringing them home from her house and finding a place to plant them. I look at the water lilies in the waterfall and think about getting them from my sis, Tammy.

Wow, yea, this is an emotional blog, but it’s an emotional time for me right now, as my final days in our home are limited.

BUT, life moves on, and the next adventure is about to begin! I will always hold a very special place in my heart for this home, the place where Greg and I started our life together, built together, nurtured together and grew in love together.

So, until next time…