Sunday, July 22, 2012

Wildflowers at Capulin Spring in July

Showy Daisy
 Yesterday, I led a wildflower walk at Capulin Spring, a favorite bird-watching place in the Sandia Mountains.  I had only one person to accompany me and he is also a volunteer wildflower interpretive guide for the Forest Service's Sandia Ranger District.  Wish we had more people with us. The walk at Capulin Spring after three weeks of monsoon rains was spectacular!

After two years of rehabilitation to this picnic area, the disturbed meadows and walkways were alive with beautiful flowers.

Cutleaf Coneflower

Cutleaf Groundsel

Hooker's Evening Primrose

Showy Goldeneye

Fanleaf Buttercup or Crowfoot

Beautiful Fleabane Daisy


Snowberry (fruit)

Richardson's Geranium

Cutleaf Coneflower in various stages of flower opening

Red Elderberry/Flor de Sauco  (fruit)

Cutleaf Coneflowers and Bee

White Checker Mallow below the bird log

Wood Sorrel
Velvet Umbrellawort, member of the 4 O' Clock Family

Scarlet Gilia/Skyrocket


Western Yarrow

Whipple's Penstemon

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Secrets of Life from the Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

In the warm July sunshine, I watched the delicate aerial arcs of the Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly that danced among my flowers.  This small creature's softness and ephermality completely overwhelmed my senses for the moment.  It's bright butter colored wings with elegant black and blue trim looked so perfectly placed here among the green leaves and the purple, red, and yellow flowers of my garden. 

Her whole life in her winged form lasts no more than two months.  Her life is one based on sensuality...
adjusting to shifts in the wind, floating amid the warm up currents of summer air, sensing the sweet aroma of the Buddleia blossom,  pulled in by the rich color of the Western Wallflowers, tasting the delicate nectar of the penstemon, gently grasping the swaying poplar leaf to safely lay her eggs. 

Always in the present moment, never does it restlessly drift from one thought to another as we of a higher order may do.

She gets what she needs.
She is where she needs to be.
One with the world, she is.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Rocky Mountain Vacation with Family

Breckenridge, Colorado

Grandpa and Grandma with Max
It's summertime and time for family vacations.  On July 7th, we headed to the Town of Breckenridge, Colorado, for a long anticipated vacation with Ron's daughter, Margaret, son-in-law, Jeff, and our 19 month old grandson, Max. We picked up the family at Denver International Airport (DEN) after their non-stop from Moline, IL arrived on-time. A heavy rainstorm hit soon after we hit I-70 in Denver and we edged our way through traffic slowed down by the rain. About two hours later, we checked into our timeshare condo in Breckenridge. The baby furniture was there as ordered from Baby's Away.

Jeff and Margaret with Max

Everyone was a bit beat (especially Ron and I who had departed at 6AM that morning from Sandia Park, NM and had now driven about 8 hours that day) so we ordered pizza delivery and I prepared a green salad.  We got to read to Max his favorite book: "Where is my T-R-U-C-K?" - several times over - before Max went to sleep.

On the Gondola to Peak 8
Mom and Max in the Gondola

Ron, Margaret, Max and Jeff at Peak 8 Funpark

Next day, we enjoyed a trip to Peak 8 via the Breck Gondola.  Ron and I watched Max while Jeff and Margaret ascended the rest of the mountain via the chair lift.  Max is a darling child and easy to care for.  He's a bit too young for the activities of the Peak 8 Fun Park but he enjoyed picking up rocks and placing them in the trash can.  We met a family from Syria who were biking and Max got to get into their bike trailer for a ride.  The family lived part of the year in Texas and were here on vacation, a welcome respite from the worries of their war-torn nation. Sunday night we dined at home on fried chicken, mashed potatoes, cooked carrots and salad.  Max has a great appetite and will try almost anything you offer him. Then we read his favorite book about Tommy and his lost red truck.  Margaret and Jeff took a evening walk to explore the town of Breckenridge while Max slept.

Peak 8 at Breckenridge

Max loved the rocks

On Monday, Max got to take a bike ride with his parents on the bike path along the Blue River. He quickly fell asleep. Later that day, Jeff and Margaret went hiking up the Mohawk Lake Trail by themselves while Ron read Max's favorite book about Tommy's lost truck. That evening, Margaret and Jeff got to take a parents' night out while we babysat and read Max his favorite book about that red truck. Jeff and Margaret enjoyed dinner at the old Victorian house that is currently the Hearthstone Restaurant and an evening walk in the town of Breckenridge. We were happy to watch Max while Jeff and Margaret enjoyed a little Mom and Dad time. Afterall, their 9th wedding anniversary is July 19th, so they deserved a little time to themselves!

On Tuesday, Ron and I drove Margaret and family up to Boreas Pass just southeast of town. The wildflowers were blooming everywhere so it was a treat for me. There were many bike riders and hikers on the narrow dirt road of the former South Park narrow gage railroad route and when we finally arrived at Boreas Pass Summit at 11,492 feet elevation, we were amazed to see that so many mountain bikers had made it all the way up.

Margaret and Jeff at the start of Boreas Pass road with the town of Breckenridge behind them

Goose Pasture Tarn just south of Breckenridge with the Tenmile Range in background

Tansy Asters

Margaret at Boreas Pass Summit

Jeff and Margaret at Boreas Pass

The Section House at Boreas Pass Summit

At the start of Boreas Pass Rd., we stopped to visit Engine No. 9 that once traversed Boreas Pass

The rotary snowplow engine was also on display.  This is how the narrow-gage railroad cleared the tracks of snow in winter

Max loved the"reh-reh"

The old Section House used by railroad workers is still there, now used by winter sportsmen (Right click to open link and enlarge to read sign)

The Continental Divide where rivers on the North American Continent drain either west toward the Pacific Ocean or east toward the Atlantic Ocean

Right Click to open link and enlarge map of the area

Right click to open link and enlarge to read sign 

Mariposa Lily, also called Sego Lily,  blooming along the Boreas Pass road

That afternoon. Ron treated Margaret and I to massages, plus Margaret enjoyed 30 minutes of oxygen-therapy to energize her at the high altitude of Breckenridge which is 9,600 ft. in elevation. That evening we enjoyed dinner out at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co..

Max enjoyed fish and chips

On Wednesday, we took Margaret, Jeff and Max back to Denver International Airport for their return to their home in Iowa. We will miss them all but we were so happy to spend some time with them in this beautiful Rocky Mountain setting. Ron and I tried to follow US 6 route home instead of
I-70, but much of US 6 is superceded by I-70. We did enjoy driving through the mining towns of Idaho Springs and Georgetown and then taking the Loveland Pass to the Arapahoe Basin to Keystone instead of taking the Eisenhower Tunnel route through the mountain.

Thursday was a special treat for me as Ron paid for a Fly Fishing Clinic for me. Vicki and Steve from Boston and I with our guide, Troy Booker from Mountain Angler, practiced our casting techniques and then got into waders and boots to fish the Blue River just south of Breckenridge. I hooked a rainbow trout but lost him with my tackle. I very much enjoyed the experience and pledged to do more fishing in the future!

Vicki on the Blue River

Casting for a Rainbow Trout

Steve from Boston

Vicki from Boston
Ron and I went out to dinner at Southridge Seafood Grill for some seafood fare.  We then walked to a show at the Breckenridge Backstage Theatre - a comedy called Completely Hollywood (Abridged). But Ron was beginning to feel unwell and on Friday morning we decided to head home early.  I started feeling ill on the way home and both of us were incapcitated totally by the weekend with nasty colds. However, the memories of our Rocky Mountain vacation with Max, Jeff and Margaret will always be there to make us feel great happiness and joy.