A second day on the road…

yesterday we headed north… today we decided to forgo a local hike and explore south of us..   I took a minute to confer with one of my coworkers about directions, and he said ” there is a very good chance that you will see some wildlife along the drive on that road”   he was referring to route 27 which branches off of the Pourdre Canyon road..  this would be our first time on that particular route…       he was right, but we did not have to wait till we turned on rt 27.. just a few hundred yards down from  Glen Echo Resort, we spotted our first bighorn sheep  ..   big-horn-sheepthese guys are our neighbors!

tons-of-turkeysRt 27 is pretty scenic…  and we saw wildlife..  we are used to seeing wild turkeys in PA and New England..  but this was a ton of turkeys..  could not fit them all in the frame!

ski-fencenow we know what folks do with used skis!   this fence, along with the decorative mailbox, suggest that a very artsy person lives at this address…

we saw a sign for  the Bobcat Ridge Natural Area..  had to explore that, so we turned off the road and found these guys…

deer-at-bobcat-ridgeand then drove on to find that the Bobcat Ridge Natural area is an incredible resource maintained by Fort Collins..   home to rattlesnakes,snake-sign

bear, and mountain lions..


bobcat-ridge-3 we did not happen to run into any of them, but we were on the lookout.   What we did find was an amazing trail system that included this historic cabin…

cabin-at-bobcat-ridge it has quite the story.. built in 1917…  must have been a tough life!

we will add this to the list of places to revisit before we head back to PA in April..  lots of trails to follow…

and now we are sitting in a popular coffee shop in Longmont, CO..  this seems like quite the town..   just enough time to spend a few minutes to explore before we have to head back to Glen Echo..   I suspect that we will head this way again..


Off to Wyoming!

on-the-way-to-laramieTwo days off, and time to explore…  a few years ago my son, Erik,  spent a semester at the University of Wyoming in Laramie.    We took that opportunity to take a train trip across the country to visit with him.  We have lots of fond memories from that trip, but near the top of the list was our visits to Coal Creek Coffee, a very cool and inviting place to hang out while he was in class.    The pic above  is the front range along route 287 on our way north.


downtown-laramieDowntown Laramie..    we spotted a Verizon office on the way into town and stopped to take care of phone business and then headed to the cafe where Janet surprised me with a somewhat late, but very thoughtful Christmas present!

coal-creek-cafeyup.. my very own mug to bring home with me!   We strolled the streets, and spent some interesting time in antique stores..  and then headed back to the cafe  for a second cup of tea before stopping at the grocery store on our way back to the Pourdre Canyon and home…   a great day on the road!

Mountains – we are surrounded!

The workweek for us finished last evening with a delightful gathering for dinner with folks we met from our hike last week…   we did not have to set the alarm for this morning, but Janet was up with the early morning sun, and we enjoyed two cups of tea.. and some cookies.. on the couch with Sunny… and, after that healthy breakfast, we were off!    We headed west towards Cameron Pass.   Not too far along, we stopped to catch the view and to walk down to the river…   the sky was blue, and the temperature was a bit over 40 degrees…


but we were climbing…   Glen Echo, our home for the next 4 months, is located at around 7000 feet.  Cameron Pass is around  10200 feet…    the blue sky gave way to clouds, the temps dived,  and the snow piled up!


we met a couple of guys who were preparing for back country skiing at a rest stop along the way.   One of the fellows had quite a dramatic beard / mustache  combination, and he looked just a little younger than the rock making up the mountains that surrounded us..  but he enthusiastically told us where they were going, and how all around us,  there was a serious threat of avalanches..  but he knew where to go..   and he encouraged us to try one of the trails with our cross country skis.. we wished him luck and got back in the car!


my poor attempt at photography with my phone simply does not do the setting justice, but these are the scenes that we see on calendars in gift shops 🙂


it is good that it is a weekday .. not too much traffic on the road… we were reaching top speeds of about 35 mph as we continuously gawked at the scenery that unfolded around each curve in the road…

and then, the mountains gave way to a huge wide flat area.. lots of ranches..  huge piles of stacked hay, and lots of cattle … and only a few miles left till we reached our destination of  Walden..   claim to fame  is the moose siting capital of Colorado..


We ate lunch at Moose Creek Cafe, but we did not see any moose 😦    enjoyed some nice conversation in the cafe with some fellow diners who were headed to Steamboat Springs,  and with the waitress..  and then we turned back towards home…


we stopped at the Moose visitor center for  Colorado state forest state park.. and saw a moose, but it was inside and not breathing…   however all was not lost… just outside the center was the beginning of a cross country ski trail.. and we were prepared!


the grooming was a little old or non existent in some places, but what a beautiful place to put on skis and  to breath heavy in oxygen depleted air at 8,000 feet!   We did rather well for our first day on skis this winter…   and we will sleep well tonight!    We did see some interesting tracks along the way, and it is quite possible that some moose were peering out from their hiding place, wondering why these crazy humans were out in the snow..     I suspect that a fact of life is that  moose have had greater success seeing us  than we have had seeing them!



Libraries… who would have guessed?

As workampers,  we have experienced a renewed appreciation for libraries.  No longer the large quiet rooms filled with books and a few magazines we were introduced to as kids,  they have grown and adapted to changing lifestyles over the past few decades.  We were amazed with the facilities in Northeast and Southwest Harbors on Mount Desert Island in Maine… no stern librarians from the past there.. instead, we were welcomed by friendly staff, and we were encouraged to take full advantage of the programs that they offered during out stay as workampers at Mount Desert Campground.   I continue to receive  weekly emails from the Northeast Harbor Library, and we look forward to frequent visits there when we return to Maine in the spring.

One of the first things that Janet did when we arrived here in the Poudre River Canyon in Colorado was to look up local libraries.   She discovered one in the village of Red Feather Lakes,  a 20 minute drive along a dirt road that zigs and zags and climbs another 1000 feet in elevation ( with very few guardrails) .    Red Feather Lakes is a popular destination during the summer months, but there is not a whole lot to draw folks there at this time of the year..  there is a small general store, a hardware store, a couple of real estate offices,  and a library!

We were welcomed and given the grand tour when we visited last week,  and we met Darlene, a member of the staff who is in charge of the hiking club.. a library sponsored group.. just what we were hoping for.. the opportunity to meet folks in the area who believed that the way to survive winter was to get out and enjoy it!   Yesterday, we joined them for our first hike.  There were 8 of us (plus two dogs)  and  we discovered that we shared lots of similar interests from hiking, to music, to woodworking.. .

blue-sky-dowdy-lake-hikethe sky was blue for the most part, as we began the hike, although there were a few dark clouds to the west..  lake-dowdy-2our original destination was Mt Margaret, but we settled on a  final destination  of  Dowdy lake .. no more blue sky!lake-dowdyit is a bit difficult to tell from this photo, but the rock features,  some of which are in the middle of the lake, are quite interesting..  we were told that this is a great spot for kayaking..

janet-and-me-on-our-first-colorado-hikewe paused at the lake for some photos.. yup, that is my wife, Janet and me..   before tracing our footsteps back .. During the return leg,  we stopped for a break and for a wonderful treat of hot chocolate..  this is not the first outing that Darlene has led!

hot-chocolateshe was well prepared!     the dogs did not know what they were missing…

It is great that we were able to hook up with a group.. unlike the trails in Acadia, there were no blazes on the trees..   I guess that it is fairly easy to follow the trail when there is no snow, but it sure helped that we were with locals at this time of the year!   We look forward to spending time with these folks during our stay in Colorado…

Internet Cafe

When I hear the word cafe, I picture a street in Paris with tables on the sidewalks, around which patrons sit with tea and coffee, talking about the days events… some of the conversations are animated, some intimate, but communication is evident everywhere, and the spirit is animated…

today we ventured into Fort Collins with a shopping list and with the intent to find an internet cafe so that we could connect with the world.  our access to internet is somewhat limited where we are living, so it seemed like a great idea to kill two birds with one stone..

Fort Collins is quite a town..  a destination for sure..  and the Starry Night Cafe serves great tea.. but the experience is as far from the image that I described in my opening paragraph as one could imagine..    on the way in Janet asked me if they had internet available..  the answer was self evident..   every single person sitting inside was connected.. in fact,  no one was talking at all.. no political arguments, no  lovers sitting in the back corner smiling at each other whispering sweet thoughts,  nothing but folks sitting in chairs, staring at screens in front of them..   and then i heard a voice, but when i looked up, it was a fellow talking on his phone..

of course, we  fit right in 🙂   here we are in colorado, connecting with the world but not our neighbor..  But last night was different.. we were invited by the owners of the resort where we are working to join with a bunch of locals to play a game called Bunco…   we had a great time, met a few couples who live close by the resort and came home feeling like we had made the first step towards understanding what life in the Poudre Canyon was really like!

And now for the pictures..  the views were stunning on our way into town.. we had our first snowfall last night..  rt-14-1the tunnel through the rock that everyone includes in a photo essay of rt 14  !

rt-14-2 no place to pull over for this one.. had to take it while we were driving…

rt-14-3the views can be overwhelming at times!


so, what is the most stunning thing about this drive?   what did you notice?  lots of rocks,  high mountain peaks,  the poudre river nearly ice-covered…   how about guardrails?  did you notice those?   🙂

ok..  the guy sitting next to me just woke up from his nap… time to put this “device” away and have a romantic conversation with my wife..  isn’t that what cafes are all about??

The Dreaming Chair

dreaming-chairThis chair has been in my life for as long as I can remember.  We recovered it a few years ago … that was the second time that it underwent a transformation.   It would be a challenge for me to describe the original material when the chair was in our house on East Broad street in Quakertown, but I am quite sure that spent time  sat on my mother’s lap in this chair as she read stories to me.   When we moved to Alan Lane, also in Quakertown,  my mother had the chair re -upolstered  with a  fabric that suggested a colonial theme.  It was during this time that I recall using the chair as my primary reading location..   I was young, and skinny, and I had a particular way of curling up with a book that would never work these days..  but I read and a dreamed, and I read some more..  I read sailing stories and dreamed that I would one day sail.  I read travel stories and dreamed that I would travel..  I read a lot!

About three weeks ago I sat in this chair, along with Sunny the cat who has laid claim to it, and read the most recent postings on workamper.com ,  a site that lists jobs similar to the one that we have at Mount Desert Campground during the summer season.  I noted one that listed a job in Colorado which included housing.. just the ticket since our trailer is in Maine and we don’t have a truck that would pull it more than 10 feet!    I read the ad to Janet and she said.. ” give them a call”.  So I did.. and here we are, three weeks later, loving life at Glen Echo Resort  in the Poudre River Canyon, 40 or so miles outside of Fort Collins..   life is good!  ( especially when you have a wife who supports dreaming 🙂  )

Of course, it certainly helped that the owners were sympathetic to the idea of bringing Sunny along..  so now,  he is the Colorado Kitty..  and he actually did quite well along the way.   cat-in-loaded-carThis is Sunny,  in his little fort carved out  in the middle of all of the belongings that we could possibly stuff into our Subaru!

cat-n-the-motel This Sunny enjoying his first ever motel stay..  He actually did quite well considering his age of 15 years..   he has proven that cats can be flexible!


life on the road can be pretty good!

odometer-readingWe made the trip in three days of driving..  1,749.4 miles from our home in Bear Creek , PA

cottage-gerThis is our little home for the next 4 1/2 months.. very comfortable.. and  close to work..  like a 30 second walk 🙂

view-from-gerThis is one view from the campground..   we are in the mountains.   7,000 feet of elevation..     the drive from Fort Collins  to this location is absolutely spectacular..   it is a challenge to try to capture it in a photo, but we will try to do it in upcoming posts..

We will be back in PA for approximately two weeks before we will need to head to Maine for our third season at MDC..  just enough time to check on the house,  visit with family and friends,  and maybe to spend a little time in the Dreaming Chair..  and who knows what will follow?     jt