The Beautiful Colorado Nature

As if not writing during my trip to Colorado wasn't bad enough, trying to remember the trip two weeks later is pure torture. Life has been so busy ever since we got back that I just can't seem to catch up. My best attempt at trying to remember some more about the trip is to share some pictures. Maybe that will stir my memory. Let's see what I have in my stash . . .

We did a lot of hiking in Rocky Mountain National park and it was beautiful.


As you can see by this picture, I had my gorgeous new camera with me at all times and was able to capture some of the nature. I had a ball snapping photos of the little wildlife . . .


And I got lucky enough to run into some of the bigger wildlife too (in addition to the moose) . . .

And some beautiful not-so-wild life . . .


When I wasn't taking pictures of animals I was shooting streams and trees. Lots and lots of trees


I was on a mission to get the perfect picture of the Aspens. I wanted something good enough to enlarge and print and I think I finally got it. Believe it or not, after taking dozens and dozens of tree pictures, I was the most pleased with the very last two I shot (when I was convinced the lighting was no good).

I just can't get enough of those gorgeous aspens in all their yellow glory. I look forward to returning to CO at the same time of year to take it in all over again.

 

Time Lapse

I really wish my camera marked the time to the nearest second rather than minute because this would have been more impressive to prove with the numbers, but you're just gonna have to believe me. These photos were taken in rapid succession, about a second apart from each other. Ready? Here we go . . .

ONE

TWO

THREE

I guess we can call this the 3 second inferno. I was expecting it and it still scared the bajesus out of me, not to mention the ducks. Well, they might not have been too scared because they were far away. And it's a good thing because otherwise we might have had some roasted duck on our hands.

Do you think this “after” picture is proof that maybe Karlo builds the darn fires a bit too big? Just a bit??

Notice that the grass is burnt all the way to the duck structure?

Don't Climb that Rock

We spent three glorious days hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. I was worried about trying to hike at such high elevation, but we did surprisingly well. Don’t get me wrong, it was a challenge because being 2 miles above sea level makes you feel completely winded and out of shape. Not sure I was diggin’ that feeling at all, but it was worth it for the scenery that we were able to take in.

For the most part we didn’t do very much climbing. We were able to cheat by driving to the higher elevation trails and then just hiking for miles along the ridge tops. I think Karlo might have had a problem with this lack of challenge because every chance he got, he was climbing something. For instance, he approached this huge rock and I immediately yelled out, “Please don’t climb that rock.”

But of course, he didn’t listen to me and continue to climb. My tone changed to a more stern, “I’m begging you Karlo, PLEASE don’t go any higher!” As if that was going to make him listen to me.


Now he’s far enough up to get really hurt if he fell down and strangely my tone changed again. Now the interaction went something like this, “OK, don’t move. Stay still. Can you move your arm a little?” All this so I could snap some pictures. Two minutes earlier I was fearing for his safety, but as soon as pictures got involved I was willing to risk his life.

My Life is Now Complete

Karlo would like for me to tell you this elaborate story about how we hiked for hours to a remote location when we stumbled upon this moose . . . But the truth is that it was more like an IKEA commercial with me screaming, “Stop the car!!!!!”

After we left the bustling town of Boulder we headed North. We were originally planning on spending the day in Fort Collins, taking in the city, checking bikes out from the “bicycle library” and taking a brewery tour, but apparently that was a little too much “city” for Karlo. So instead we decided to take a 4 hour road trip and drive up to . . . well, the middle of nowhere.


I’ll never call Eastford the middle of nowhere ever again. I swear. What we saw of Wyoming was just plain ridiculous. Miles and miles and miles of nothing.


But after we turned back South and crossed over the border back into Colorado things improved greatly. The scenery got much much better as we drove through parts of Rocky Mountain National Park and other assorted national forests. It was positively beautiful. My eyes were wide open and I was just taking it all in when suddenly I looked out the side window and spotted a female moose wide out in the open, grazing in a field very close to the road. That’s when I screamed, “Stop the car! I just saw a moose!”

Karlo immediately sprung into action and whipped the car around. He drove back to the moose and I jumped out of the car. Little did I know that Karlo would just take off and drive down the road. There I stood on the side of the road with my big camera, thinking, “What if this moose decides that she doesn’t like getting her picture taken? Where am I to run? I’m in the wide open, with no trees in sight to hide behind, and Karlo just left me there.

Well, luckily for me the moose was quite the ham. I think she even smiled for a few pictures.


It wasn’t long before Karlo turned the car around and crept it back to where I was. I continued to happily and blissfully watch the moose and shoot away when I heard Karlo calling out to me, “Paula, Paula, Paula.” What was he DOING?? For sure he was going to scare my moose away if he kept that up. I reluctantly turned my attention away from the moose toward Karlo to see what on Earth was so important. Well, he was trying to tell me that the BOY moose was hiding in the woods. OMG, this was my bucket list dream – too see “a male moose, standing up, in the wild” and there he was . . .


And as if that wasn’t enough excitement for me, the moose saw me taking photos of him and he decided to walk out of the woods so I could get a full look at him.

But wait there’s more . . .

No sooner does the bull moose emerge from the brush, but so does the baby.

Holy mother of good timing and amazing luck – I got to see the entire family all together. I was simply beside myself. That positively made my day and as far as I was concerned our trip could have ended right there.

I was one happy and fulfilled camper. It’s been a dream for many many years and I still can’t believe how it all worked out.

A Country Fair

Last weekend we enjoyed one nice leisurely day, with no agenda and no commitments . . . and it was bliss. Of course, our “leisurely day” did start out with a grueling 7 mile trail run, but the rest of the day was splendid. After getting very little sleep during my week-long training in Maine and then my early morning commute back to CT, Saturday was a lost day. I was worthless and all I wanted to do was nap. It killed me.

So when Sunday rolled around I was eager to spring out of bed, go for a run, and make the most of the gorgeous day. The weather was perfect and I needed to do something fun. We headed South to Brooklyn. No, not NYC and as a matter of fact, the furthest thing from it. Brooklyn, CT is a little hick agricultural town. Maybe pictures would be easier to help explain the day. Here we go . . .

We pulled into the parking lot and it looked like this:

OK, just kidding. It looked more like this:

Our first stop was some shopping because Karlo forgot his sunglasses. There was no shortage of cool shades to buy:

Once he got his cool shades we were ready to take in the fair action and that included a lot of this:



I found it so sweet how much the kids that take care of these animals treat them like family. Being a farm kid is definitely a way of life and I wondered how much better off these kids are to have livestock to keep them company rather than iPhones. Try to do this with an iPhone:

Looking at some of these adorable animals made me actually long for some livestock of my own. It only took me four years to get the ducks. I wonder how long it will take me to get one of these sweethearts:

Next we strolled through the amusements:

To check out some of the games:

Before we got back to some peace and quiet (our comfort zone) and captured a couple of still life photos:


I hope you enjoyed your tour of the Brooklyn Fair. That was almost like being there without having to travel to the middle of nowhere and pay admission. And if you just didn't get enough of it, I have more photos online here for your viewing pleasure.

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Turn Around

Do you ever get so caught up in some details that you close off the rest of the world? It seems like it’s so easy to sometimes miss what’s right in front of your face because you’re busy concentrating on something else. I’m not quite sure this applies to me due to my never-ending multi-tasking. I find it hard to concentrate on any one thing for more than 10 seconds. I watch the news every morning in anticipation of the weather forecast. It’s sometimes hard for me to even notice that the weather is indeed on. Once it starts I try really hard to pay attention long enough to find out the weather for that day. But sadly, I usually mentally tune out somewhere along the way and end up having to wait another 10 minutes to try it again. This antsy habit actually came in handy one night. I was with a group of photographers and we were all trying to catch the sunset over the water. We all took dozens upon dozens of shots of the water, the shore, the rocks, the birds, the dock, the pilings, etc. Even though all of this scenery was beautiful it still couldn’t hold my attention for the duration of the sunset. I had to be off darting about looking for every possible option. To my surprise one of the most beautiful scenes was actually BEHIND us. As the sun was setting its reflection was shining marvelously in the windows of this building. I was the only one to notice and capture it and when all was said and done, this picture turned out to be my favorite of the shoot. I guess my fidgety multi-tasking personality paid off this time. Sometimes you need to remember to explore all of your options, even when you are so sure the best option is in front of you. You never know when something better is actually hiding behind you.

The Simple Life

Karlo and I decided to ride in a three day event at the Finger Lakes in upstate NY one year very early in the riding season. We hardly got on our bikes at all before booking the trip and I hemmed and hawed over whether or not to we could ride 80 miles per day without any training. It was an email from the 60+ year old guy that was organizing the trip that made my decision easy. He said, “You can do it. We can help.” I know that’s a Home Depot commercial, but it really inspired me. That was it. We were going – training or no training. And we did just fine. We rode our tandem and we enjoyed the peaceful riding and scenery. I got such a kick over riding through the Amish villages and marveled at their lifestyle. We happened to be riding the route toward their church on a Sunday morning and got to see everyone in their Sunday bests, the kids waving to us from the back of their horse and buggies. I decided that for the rest of the day my life was just as simple. All I had to do was pedal and sit back and reflect on life. I got lost in my thoughts as I explored every aspect of my life. I don’t ever remember being so content. I just couldn’t imagine myself belonging anywhere but on that bike, doing what I love to do. And we did plenty of pedaling, despite the fact that one of our crank shafts cracked on the bike. It happened to be Karlo’s crank so I pedaled twice as hard all day to save his cranks from completely breaking off. It was a good practice in teamwork and finishing the ride on the last day gave us a great sense of accomplishment. This trip, for many reasons, made me realize why I love biking so much.

Making the Best of It

A couple of years ago I took a ‘vacation’ to the Outer Banks. I’m putting quotes around the word vacation because it’s sometimes hard to call a week of getting up before the sun rises a vacation. I have to admit that it was an exhausting week of photography. Normally my vacations include miles upon miles of biking or hiking, but strangely taking photos all week was just as tiring. And the worst part was that you committed yourself to rising at 4 am and driving an hour to see the sunrise without any knowledge of whether or not the sun would even be visible. The photo of the lighthouse was one of those days. After driving an hour to get to this lighthouse for the perfect sunrise picture it was a very disappointing bust. It rained and there was no sun in sight. Sometimes you just have to make the best of your situation. This forced me to look for other interesting things. I took many pictures of the usual beaches, pavilions, bridges and trees, but it was the reflection of the lighthouse in a puddle that became my prize shot. Nobody else in my group happened to notice this shot. Sometimes the best shots are in the most unexpected places.

Driving in Budapest

Budapest brings up all kinds of memories for me, but the most vivid one was the nightmare of driving through the city. First off, all European drivers are nuts. And if you happen to be European that craziness is embedded into your blood stream and will resurface the moment you get behind the wheel of a car in Europe. Lucky for me, Karlo already drives like a lunatic in the States, but in Europe he had to take it up a few notches – just to fit in.

My role in any road trip is always that of navigator and normally I do a great job. I love maps and can read them very well. I have a keen sense of direction and can express myself quite well. But this only works when the language that I’m expressing these directions is English. Throw me into the city streets of Budapest, where all the cars (including ours) are flying around at warp speeds, the average street name includes 17 characters, 2 of which are vowels, and I’m at a complete loss. The scene went something like this . . . Karlo becoming increasingly irritated because I can’t seem to perform his simple request of, “Just give me a street name as we pass it.” First off, there are no street signs like we are used to here in The States. The names of the streets are written somewhere on the buildings that are on the corners of the streets – never in a consistent spot and never in a consistent way. So we zip by a street name that looks something like this Utcanévlexikona, or this Kiskunhalasikaporszaklu Utca, or this Zenetorteneti at 40 mph and he thinks that I can come anywhere close to phonetically uttering something similar to the name. I would get about this far ”U . . . T . . . C . . . A . . . “ before the sign was a distant memory. I was useless in my role of navigator and needless to say we spent a lot of time driving in circles lost in Budapest. It was ironic how the one place in Europe where Karlo should have been the most ‘at home’ and we were the most lost because the language was, and will always be, impossible for me.