Archive for the ‘Colorado’ Tag

Living at the foot of the Rockies; tour guide

I took this photo from a trailhead in Loveland, looking west towards the Rocky Mountains while hiking on what is called, The Devil’s Backbone.

 

Looking west towards the mountains from River’s Edge Nature Preserve, Loveland, Colorado

 

A view of the white water rapids of the Cache La Poudre River northwest of Fort Collins after a heavy rain storm.

 

 

Our city is one of several along the front range of the Rockies where roads and highways leading up to Rocky Mountain National Park are most often congested with the traffic of tourists going up in the winter months to ski at popular ski resorts, or in the summer to hike the trails,  ride the white water rapids or just to enjoy the changing colors of autumn. After the summer months the bright golden hues of the Aspen trees cover much of the Rocky Mountain slopes before the first frosts. Estes Park, a town at the foot of RMNP is a popular tourist destination throughout the year. We have an abundance of hiking trails and mountain and water sports to choose from living along the front range with an often unpredictable swing in temperatures and climate.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2018)

 

Christmas in the Rockies

Longs Peak, RMNP, 14, 259 foot elevation, second tallest peak in Colorado.

A view of RMNP peaks off Trail Ridge road.

Lower elevation at the foot of RMNP, a clearing where herds of elk are usually seen grazing. Towards this time of night at sunset hours they will hunker down for the night. The sun was just beginning to go down, and the skies lit up with soft hues of pink and orange. These clouds seemed to descend down upon this peak, and I thought it was an awesome sight to photograph.

Elkhorn Ave. and The ‘Old Church Shops’ in Estes Park lit up for Christmas.

A view of the southeast side of  Estes Park. Notice the large star lit up on the side of the mountain.

 

Sometimes the Christmas season gets hectic with the business of shopping, decorating, program events, parties, and family gatherings. There are times when things came too soon and hurried right after the Thanksgiving Day holiday and often just having a moment to sit and relax with a cup of hot chocolate and a favorite Christmas movie seems like a luxury I don’t have or take time for and regret it later.

But, through the years we have tried to keep a few favorite Christmas traditions and even started new ones as we tried to prioritize what meant the most to us. Things like going up to the mountains to cut and collect our own greenery and pine cone branches to make our own wreath was a favorite event. Browsing through Christmas shops and antique stores to find a new Christmas ornament or antique toy to place under our Christmas tree was another.

But, our favorite thing is to just drive up to the mountains during the holidays and spend the day exploring the territory. This year we went up to Estes Park that sits at the foot of Rocky Mountain National Park, then drove up part way to Trail Ridge road. After the first snow storms of the season they close the first gate to the higher elevation areas when snow cannot be cleared and it becomes too dangerous to pass or drive through safely.

I took these shots above this last Friday (12-15) when we went up with our dog, Maggie, had a bison burger and fries at a favorite place and walked around town in Estes Park on our way down before returning home. Making a day of it makes it a special memorable outing. Colorado has not seen too much snow this season thus far, so it is pretty dry along the front range except for brief snowfalls in the higher elevation. Snow skiing is a very big sport industry here in Colorado so the ski slopes are waiting anxiously for some really good snows that keep them busy into spring. But, for those of us who are happy to find just enough to tramp through the white covered ground in brisk temperatures, and see Christmas lights glimmer off its white sheen it is enough to make our day.

I hope your Christmas will be merry and bright, memorable and special. Merry Christmas to all.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

 

Photo Challenge: Experimental

I took this photo with my iPhone 6 camera. I have not had this phone long. It was given to me by my granddaughter. She had lost it on a hiking trail, was rather new still, and though she searched for it then  she did not find it until two weeks later. Since she had immediately gotten her a new phone of the same model and make, she gave me this old one which surprisingly was still there in the same spot where lost and her dog picked up her scent on it. It was not broken or damaged, and still in excellent condition for me to use after transferring my phone carrier account over to this one. I experimented with the camera some while on a walk with my dog when the sun was going down over the lake when I took this. You can see just a tiny opening of color still from the reflected color and sheen off the lake through the trees, and a glistening wet look on the fallen leaves along the trail.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

via Photo Challenge: Experimental

The ‘spirit of Christmas’ in historic downtown, Loveland

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I took this shot from across the street of our downtown historic Rialto Theatre. The wind was blowing hard, but the temperature was only about 30+ degrees. Still, we knew the big freeze and frigid arctic blast was on its way into town. Thursday evening was the only good night before the snowstorm hit to walk around downtown, browse through shops and antique stores, then go to dinner at an old-fashioned diner where their specialty is their famous burgers, fries and shakes. Dinner was delicious as we sat by the window looking out onto the street at the traffic pass by under brightly colored Christmas lights. It brought back memories of years gone when we sipped shakes at the corner drug stores and drive-ins.

Although our town is well over 100,000 in population right now, it was only about 28,000 when we moved up here twenty-three years ago. But, the town has tried to maintain a small town atmosphere in the historic district just two miles from home. There is a nostalgic feeling to the old district, and the  ‘spirit of Christmas’ past, present and future in a Charles Dickens like setting. The foothills to the west of town and the towering Rocky Mountains thirty-five miles further west give Loveland the feel and look of an old-fashioned Christmas post card people used to send to family and friends that today can only be found in antique stores.  One of our favorite things to do is browse and shop for nostalgic things, toys and collectibles that I could imagine wrapped up under someone’s tree. Like family traditions kept and adopted down through the years, or things contemporary, old or new every town and place celebrates Christmas in their own way. Merry Christmas to you and yours from Loveland, Co.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

 

Winter comes to the high country

I watch clouds turn dark and ominous

as the season changes in the high country here.

Our camp fire crackles in the crisp autumn air,

and a whistling sound like a distant water’s flow

builds with intensity across mountain slopes.

Trees shed their coverings as gusty winds blow

leaving dry beds of pinecones and needles on the ground.

The front moves in and wildlife hunker down.

Dusk falls, temperatures drop, ice crystals form.

A dusting of snow glistens on the peaks.

We wait the coming storm.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Posted November 28, 2016 by Joyce in My Photos, My Writings, Photography, Poems, poetry, Seasons

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The annual quest for Colorado gold

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Every year when the leaves turn and Autumn arrives we head out, on our quest to look for the best places to photograph the changes in color and the Aspens turning a bright golden-yellow. And sometimes, a shot of something else will do too when we stop to explore along the road. The top photo is one of the Aspens in the Rocky Mountains seen off highway 7 between Lyons and Nederland, Co.

The bottom photo is one of Barker Dam off the road on the way down to the city of Boulder. Timing, location and altitude can make all the difference in the color and changes seen. In some areas just a few days earlier, there was more color with rust and red tones showing in some of the plant life, brighter in places, but in others it had not yet reached its peak. Photographers with tripods set in place can be spotted along the road, as everyone wants to capture the gold.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

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Painted by the finger of God

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The sun lingers just over the rise,

a tinge of pink reflects off the peaks.

With anticipation I wait to behold

the glow spreading across the sky.

The hour in passing seems too long.

Then dusk descends slowly over the ridge,

and the heavens like a canvas arrayed in hues

of orange and yellow merge together

exploding in color and brilliant light,

an image painted by the finger of God.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Footnote: I took the above photos in July of this year, getting these and many other shots during our wait for the sun to go down while parked up on the lookout ridge overlooking Longs Peak in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Whenever we go up there I come away inspired to write new pieces of poetry, adding more new photos to our ever-growing collection of Colorado mountain photos that fill our albums and digital libraries.

Living just an hour away and thirty miles from Rocky Mountain National Park is a definite advantage to being able to do this, and we never tire of the beautiful drive up highway 34 from our town of Loveland, through the narrows and granite canyons and into Estes Park situated at the foot of RMNP.  At this time of year after a very busy, bustling summer of tourists visiting RMNP we see the busy summer tourist season come to a close with the Labor Day weekend. Soon, the Aspen trees begin to turn a golden color, drop their leaves, and the elk do their popular bugling call (the beginning of their mating season), drawing more tourists for the autumn season. The air turns colder and we see our first winter snow storms, snow skiers arriving, and it is busy again. 🙂

Experiencing the famed Stanley Hotel

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“Look! There’s an ax. It’s just what we need,” my husband said. The long wood handled ax with its red steel blade was one of the featured sale items in the window of the hardware store on Elkhorn Ave., main street in Estes Park.

“Yes. It looks like a heavy-duty one, and a good buy.” I replied.

We bought the ax. We knew we would put it to good use on our newly purchased mountain property. There were a lot of trees to thin out, and we needed firewood.

When we got to The Stanley Hotel we grabbed up our bags and went to go check in. Then I remembered.

“Wait! We need to cover up the ax in the back of the car. It’s too exposed and someone will think…we don’t want someone calling the police on us.” I said.

I went back to the car, opened up the hatch back of our red Ford Escort Wagon and covered the ax with an old blanket.

This was the start to our weekend at The Stanley twenty-five years ago when we had a reservation to celebrate the weekend of our 25th wedding anniversary. We had a second floor balcony room that opened up to the veranda outside overlooking the magnificent Rockies encircling Estes Park. Beautiful and serene.

When we bought the ax we didn’t know that The Stanley Hotel was used for the inspiration of Stephen King’s horror story in his book, and movie, The Shining. Until we discovered all the copies of his book in the gift shop there, and vaguely remembered the story. The Stanley is also considered to be one of the most haunted hotels known. We didn’t know that either, or believed it. Until we heard sounds during the night like one banging pots and pans on old, creaky pipes. There was little sleep that night. Ghost story events are a regular form of entertainment at The Stanley.

The hotel sits atop a steep grade, in the mountains facing east, overlooking the town of Estes Park, Colorado. It is designated a national historic site, a mammoth four-story structure with the inside furnished in antique, heavy, ornate furniture in old world period pieces. It is located just six miles from the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, and remains still one of the most popular and expensive hotels in Colorado.

Our daughters wanted to grant us another ‘memorable’ night at The Stanley, this time for our 50th wedding anniversary we are celebrating this month. So, once again we were guests, in a king size suite, a gift from our girls, after having celebrated with friends and family at a surprise anniversary party. I guess our girls wanted to keep the tradition going, though it is not our wish to repeat it a third time in another twenty-five years, if we’re still around. 🙂

As popular and expensive as The Stanley hotel is we could not understand why there were no screens on the high windows up on the fourth floor in our room this time. They had been cut out. Literally.  The room was beautifully furnished, but, the balcony off of that floor is completely inaccessible by doors so tightly secured one cannot use them to step out for some invigorating mountain air, or for any other needed escape. It was hot, and there was no air conditioning in the room, so we opened up the windows and just pulled the shears together, and hoped for a good night’s rest after a long drive up through RMNP.

Whether the hotel’s popularity dates back to its founding and opening in 1909, named for F.O. Stanley who came into town on his ‘Steamer,’ or is due to its long rich history of story lore and fame, it has hosted many a traveler and tourists, and then maybe those, who walk the dark hallways, and balconies, unseen. 🙂

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For information and history related to The Stanley Hotel you can find it here: http://www.stanleyhotel.com/accommodations

Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Sunset on Trail Ridge Road, RMNP

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Trail Ridge Road – Rocky Mountain National Park (June 2016)

The drive up Trail Ridge Road in RMNP is paved clear to the summit. The meandering, steep climb winds through forested thick stands of Ponderosa, Lodge Pole pine, Douglas fir, Juniper, and Spruce. Snowfalls, blizzards and drifts can make the drive treacherous any month of the year when a storm front moves in. I have been up on Trail Ridge Road in July in the middle of an unexpected snowstorm and blizzard that was not forecasted. The gates positioned at halfway and three-quarters way up are then closed to all traffic, except for snow plows.

About three thirds of the way up is the last major overlook with a paved path leading out away from the road about a quarter-mile to a viewing platform of loose rock, boulders, and tundra. The tree line is below the ridge here and one can look down and over to peaks stretching for miles beyond, into the horizon. The Alpine  Visitors’ Center is located at the top of Trail Ridge Road at an elevation of 12,000+ feet. Longs Peak at 14,000+ ft. sits in the middle of the mountain range, viewable from this vantage point.

We parked, walked the path out to the viewing platform and waited for the sun to make its slow descent over the peaks. It was dusk and the chipmunks and marmots played and scampered about on the rocks and tundra beyond the overlook viewing platform. It was another hour before we could get these pictures at about 8:30 to 8:45 p.m. During that time we watched the clouds dissipate, form again, change and move. It is an amazing sight to see the way the clouds change in the process with colder misty ones forming below the viewing point. We took a number of pictures during our wait. These are only a few of our favorites.

For more information on Trail Ridge Road and Rocky Mountain National Park, you can find it here; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trail_Ridge_Road

Joyce E. Johnson (2016)

Rocky Mountain’s High

A view of Long's Peak in the Rocky Mountains from Estes Park, Colorado

A view of Long’s Peak in the Rocky Mountains from Estes Park, Colorado, Photo credit; Joyce E. Johnson

ROCKY MOUNTAIN’S HIGH

Majestic, symbolic, touching near and far

in splendor each peak with

towering summits each speak

Of solid mass and might

commanding attention, they affect

park visitors that journey,

traveling through their portals high.

They stop to capture all its glory

focused through camera lens,

their eyes now scoping a huge black raptor,

his loud call proclaiming ownership to its prey.

It soars through void and space

shattering the solitude with ascent,

honoring the skies with its grace.

A climber grasps to reach

a pinnacle to the high

struggling through their efforts

with gasping and with sigh.

Then perched atop

what stretches far and wide

gazing over to the sights

of the Continental Divide.

Lodge Pole Pines grow thick beside

a mass of Douglass Fir and Spruce,

trees that cover the mountain’s side

stops where the tundra’s

soft moss bed lies,

rich with colors, green and blue.

Cold winds blow, the air is chilled

Aspen leaves turn a golden hue.

dropping quickly to the ground.

Layers of snow and ice soon cling

to the mountain slopes’ thick white fields.

Layers that repeat through winter months

with each snowfall, the skiers come,

leaving their tracks upon the slopes

until it warms and the sun melts all,

and the runoff begins, and the rivers flow.

All who come seeking their own experience here

will take away their memories of these

awe-inspiring peaks.

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Joyce E. Johnson © 2016

 


Hiking trails

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My husband and daughter with our dogs under the huge ‘Keyhole’ arched rock. The west side of Loveland can be seen from this point.

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A resting point at the top of the ‘Keyhole’ on Devil’s Backbone trail west of Loveland. The bench felt good after the hike up the steep slope.

The above photos were taken while hiking a trail called Devil’s Backbone, named for the unusual shape and ridges along the rock ledge as it looks like a large backbone. Why it’s called the devil’s backbone, I don’t know, but lies at the top of the trail near the large rock opening called the ‘Keyhole.’  When standing under the arched rock one has a good view of the west side of Loveland. The trail is just one of many that run parallel along the front range in Loveland and Fort Collins for several miles popular with hikers and bicyclists anytime during the warmer months. We took this hike in September. It is a total of 3 mi. up and back from the starting point to the top of the ‘Keyhole’.

Unlike the sport of mountain climbing with people climbing the ‘fourteeners’ (mountains over 14,000 + ft. elevation) here in Colorado hikers are not allowed to climb these huge rock formations and boulders because of the preservation of the natural areas designated just for walking, hiking and bicycling.

Since having my second total knee replacement earlier in the summer I kept up, but with a slower pace than my husband, our daughter and our dogs on the path, over rocks and boulders, up the steep trail to the ‘keyhole,’ using my walking stick. After gaining more strength and balance from weeks of therapy I was able to slowly get back to hiking and walking the trails I’ve enjoyed in our region along the front range.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

A quiet retreat

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This photo was taken of the Cache la Poudre River near the Bighorn cabins where we stayed. Photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson

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The cabin we stayed in beside the river. Photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson

 

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I took this photo from the top of the Elkhorn Creek trail we hiked. The Mummy Range can be seen from where we stood at about 8,000 – 9,000 ft. elevation. Photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson

The beginning point of the Elkhorn Creeks trail where we started our climb up the mountain.

The beginning point of the Elkhorn Creek trail where we started our climb up the mountain. Photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That's me while on the Elkhorn Creek trail. My husband took this photo.

That’s me while on the Elkhorn Creek trail. My husband took this photo.

For two days one recent weekend we enjoyed fresh air, rest and solitude in the mountains of northwestern Colorado, fifty miles from where we live in the city (Loveland). We booked a wonderful, quiet little cabin at the Bighorn Cabins in Bellvue. It is close to a little village like community town called Rustic, along the winding, climbing county highway 14, at an altitude of 7-10,000 ft.

We had two days to explore and hike on the trails nearby and the weather was perfect with the warm sunshine to our backs, and the cooler autumn breezes blowing through the canyon and down along the Cache la Poudre River towards late afternoon and evening. The trees had already peaked in their autumn colors, and the golden Aspens were beginning to dry up with leaves falling, piling up along the road, river or trail paths.

Northwestern Colorado is a favorite vacation spot even during the autumn months after the summer tourism season ends because of the autumn colors seen in the changing trees. There are hunters who come up to hunt elk, deer or moose, and the fishermen trying their luck at catching that one good trout or bass before the cold season sets in for the winter. And of course, one cannot forget the bears who roam about getting their fill during the fall feeding frenzy before hibernation. Although we did not spot a bear while on our hikes we kept our eyes open and alert to any wildlife that shared the open space with us. The deer and elk are plentiful in these parts and beautiful to watch. The bears? Well, we know they’re somewhere, maybe not far, so we’ll keep our distance, and allow them plenty of space.

For more information on the Bighorn Cabins and rental rates, or for reservations, you can find it here. For information on the Cache La Poudre River you can find it here. It is a wonderful vacation place to visit.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

 

Autumn’s crowning gold

 

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This photo was taken while on a walking trail at River’s Edge, Loveland, Colorado. The interesting thing about this photo is that when it was taken it was already growing dark, just past sunset. My husband took this photo and used the flash so we thought it interesting it could get this much light, so there was maybe more distortion than if taken in brighter light.    Photo credit: TW Johnson

 

 

  I watch the changing

of the trees dressed in golden

coats of leaves, and wish

it not a season passing,

but unending, reigning crown.

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Joyce E. Johnson © 2015


Still reflections

Looking west towards the mountains from River's Edge Nature Preserve, Loveland, Colorado photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson

Looking west towards the mountains from River’s Edge Nature Preserve, Loveland, Colorado, houses can be seen in the dark, but a small lone light was on in one where my lens caught it. This was a very peaceful, serene reflection of the lake.
photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

Still waters reflect

silhouetted trees and peaks

as dark settles in

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Joyce E. Johnson © 2015

River’s Edge

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We have a newly restored walking/hiking trail with fishing lakes that recently reopened after it was destroyed by the 2013 flood when much of it washed out within a week of its grand opening date. The four lakes are now stocked with bass, perch, trout and catfish. The trails run along the water’s edge all the way around giving us incredible views of the mountains to the west and are complete with picnic shelters and tables, fishing docks and restrooms. All of this new area sits on the south side of the Big Thompson River where biking and walking trails run parallel to it, connecting those to the new River’s Edge. The whole area is a very serene and peaceful setting with lots of woodsy trees, plants, shrubs, cattail and wild grass growing along the River’s Edge, thus the name given by the city of Loveland for this natural preserve. It is my favorite walking trail now out of all those our city and county have in this region because of its easy walking paths, accessibility to restrooms, views from any direction, and it is only three miles from home. Our dog, Maggie loves it too and can’t get enough of all the smells and wonders of small game and birds nesting in and around the lakes. We feel very fortunate to live in a place that protects and preserves the environment and atmosphere of the front range along northern Colorado’s Rockies, and makes it an enjoyable and livable place to retire in.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

Colorado’s gold

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These are some of our captured images while on a day trip Saturday (Sept. 26th). We had beautiful blue skies of over 100 miles in a day taking in the color, sights and sounds of the rising majestic Colorado Rockies northwest of Fort Collins, Co., in the Roosevelt National Forest, along the Cache la Poudre River, west across Cameron Pass Summit (10,000 + ft. elevation) and down into a valley where marshland and wetlands is the habitat of moose, elk, bear and other wildlife. All of this lies in a serene setting surrounded in a bowl of mountain ridges that rise into the skies like the jagged backbone of a dragon with the quaint little town of Walden nestled below and mountain folks reside. Every year the many hunters, fishermen, photographers, tourists, climbers and hikers come through this way to view the changing colors from summer to autumn. We make it an annual trip to view the aspens’ green leaves of summer turn golden-yellow with shades of orange and rust to merge together in a kaleidoscope of color. This is only one of the many popular routes or scenic highway drives seen crowded with cars going up into the high country for the views, but the state is awash with images, videos and stories of everyone’s adventure to capture Colorado ‘gold’. I am just an amateur at best with my little digital Nikon Coolpix or Sony video cam, so this is just a sampling of shots taken this year. But, the memories made and the scenes captured make it an unforgettable day trip.

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Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

Welcoming autumn

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Autumn in the Colorado Rockies – mountain ridge along the Cache La Poudre River, northwest of Fort Collins, Colorado

The days seem shorter;

I want the sun to linger,

but autumn beckons

like a host at nature’s door,

 and I welcome it today.

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Joyce E. Johnson © 2015

 

 

 

There came…

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There came a brave little chipmunk

just half the size of a skunk

to our picnic in the park

from his home in the dark

to eat the crumbs by the trunk.

He stuffed his mouth and searched around

for more breadcrumbs on the ground,

scampering here, running there.

There came his friends. He had to share,

but to their delight, the bowl they found

was filled with food for our dog, Maggie

who stood watching, her tail a wagging.

Bread crumbs eaten, they tried hers too,

a different taste, but guess it will do.

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Joyce E. Johnson © 2015


Rocky Mountain National Park – 100 years

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This year (2015) marks the 100th year since RMNP opened and declared a national park in 1915. We live in Loveland which is only about thirty miles from the park entrance and every time we go up we are in awe at all there is to enjoy and photograph. Longs Peak (14,000 + ft.) and other mountain peaks, their majestic beauty, the wildlife, and wonders of nature and environment always makes us so thankful for what we have in our own ‘neck of the woods’ to the west.

No matter what kind of storms or situations come such as the devastating flood in 2013 that washed away so much of the pristine natural areas  we find that in time nature restores and replenishes all, eventually. Much of it returns and comes back in a new or different way like the re-channeled Big Thompson River. Work is still being done on roads, campgrounds, and monumental markers of significance that was affected during the flood. RMNP and the town of Estes Park has seen record attendance this last summer bringing in the much-needed revenue to fund and support the projects still in construction. But, whatever the storm took from us there will always be the magnificent awe-inspiring mountains that welcomes visitors each year, and us who live near them who never tire from seeing all God has created for us to enjoy.

For more information on Rocky Mountain National Park and the 100th anniversary celebration you can find it here

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Joyce E. Johnson (2015)

Preserving the past with a projection towards the future

1873 yr. old farmhouse, Loveland, Co.

The Milner- Schwarz House – 1873 yr. old farmhouse, Loveland, Co.

 

It is impossible to imagine what life was like well over a hundred years ago when we did not live in that time. This small 1873 yr. old farm-house was the first built, in this town and housed a family of farmers who made their living by what they grew. This historic home was nearly washed away in our 2013 flood here like so much else. But, fortunately it survived and is once again in the hands and care of people restoring it to its original state to be open for tours with newly added features like a miniature railroad, train like the big one that passes through town on tracks behind it, and community gardens typical of those grown with produce sold at the farmers market. It will also house antiques on display that tell their own story and history.

In preserving what once was we are reminded of things important to our community back then when farming and the sugar beet industry were paramount to living on what the land could return back in produce. Today as a thriving, growing city with its many museums and fine arts galleries hosting sculpture shows and companies with a long history like Hewlett-Packard and Woodward it continues to thrive, grow and prosper with the times. Still, the nurturing of the land with its community gardens, nearby farms, and the restoration of old homes, churches and structures like the feed and grain building that processed local crops grown, the sugar mill, the Burlington Northern railroad and depot, the old Loveland House Hotel, the Elks Lodge and others gives us a window to its past, with a hopeful glance towards its future even though we haven’t yet arrived there. We have only the present. And sometimes, even that is too unsettling or precarious to hold on to in today’s world with so many catastrophic events of nature that can so quickly, easily wipe out homes, towns or communities. So, we savor this moment in time and are thankful for what we have now.

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Joyce E. Johnson © 2015

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