6. The trail that led to Aspen Hospital...Colorado 7.2008

7/23

       

Last night as I was in my tent, I just happened to glance out and see the most amazing sky.  Unfortunately, I missed the camera shot, but then I turned around and got this shot of the sky behind my tent.  It was getting ready to storm.  As I was watching the sky, so were the only "camp" neighbors left.....they are a band from Boulder, CO that had just played for a festival in Paonia.  Cheri, one of the band members, and I visited awhile and exchanged hiking ideas.  She invited me to their camp fire, but I was in the middle of all my guide books and maps trying to figure out the last part of my trip.  She was really cool to visit with and I hope our "trails" cross again. 

As the storm began, I ditched the tent for the night, grabbed the sleeping bag and my books, and retreated in the car for the night...I don't like lightening when I'm in my tent anymore than I do when I'm hiking.

This morning's hike was taking me back through town to a road a couple of miles south of CB.  I was really hungry for a good breakfast...I can't remember when I had one last.....breakfast has been out of my car for the last 2-3 weeks.

I struck gold when I found McGill's! 

The place was full, the service was fast and very friendly.  It's in a restored building downtown that was really cool looking.  I just wanted plain and simple...and I got that plus delicious, hot, and sooo yummy.  I had eggs, potatoes, a biscuit and vegetarian gravy (hard to find)...tons of food, and I managed to eat it all.  Not greasy food, but fresh and cooked right behind the counter.  They serve their breakfast all day, but their lunch looked great too.  I was intrigued reading about their old fashioned soda fountain...including malts.  

One of the employees, Len, was very friendly and visited with me while I was waiting for my meal.  He told me I had to come back and eat some of their amazing French Toast....there's always tomorrow!

  

So, I've expanded my places to eat in Crested Butte now to three...don't forget to try them if you're lucky enough to come here...

The Last Steep        McGill's        Secret Stash

 

After breakfast, I drove out to West Brush Creek Road....I'd been wanting to explore it for awhile.  There are two trails I can't ever seem to get to their trailheads because of 2 different 4WD roads and this road is one of the problems.  I was tempted to flag someone down to see if they'd give me a ride to the trailhead, but the people in the jeep I talked with wouldn't even go down the road.

I may just have to backpack the road someday to get to the trailhead....sounds weird, but I WILL GET TO BOTH OF THESE TRAILS...SOMEDAY, but not on this trip.

But, I was not to be disappointed because the wildflowers were filling the sides of the mountains!

I know I probably tend to over use words like amazing, magnificent, beautiful, mind-blowing, etc. etc. but, keeping those words in mind, here's what I saw on my two hikes today:

                       

          

The photo on the left has three birds on the flowers....one bird is upside down.

       

I'm getting obsessed with all the different colors of butterflies I've seen. 

Do you see the photo of the big black and white one?  NOOOO you don't, because whichever "kind" of butterfly that is, flies at the speed of sound and NEVER lands...I chased it around for about 15 minutes today...so that's why you don't see the photo. (I'm sure the beautiful big black and white butterfly was just cracking up as this old flatlander chased it around.)

                          

The other insect on my mind and all over my body today was the fly.  They've been getting worse everyday, and in spite of me covering myself in DEET (Jill, don't faint, and I probably will die from it!) they buzzed and bit like crazy.  So after my second hike, I took refuge in the car.  There were dark clouds in the mountains to the North, so starting another hike, between the black sky and evil flies, seemed stupid.

But, I wondered, if I were on a bike, could the flies keep up?  Okay, it'd been awhile since I'd been on a bike, and yes, the flies could probably just stick, but would they?  Everyone seems to be riding bikes in CB...so I rented one.  The first place I tried to rent one...well, they weren't very friendly.  But, as luck would have it, I called Big Al's and they were great and had bikes to rent. 

     

They put me on 8-speed Cruiser (I know you're all laughing), but it was enough for me.  I went on a well know trail, known as the Lower Loop (they have all kind of well known trails here called the Upper Loop, the Lower Loop, the Upper Lower Loop, the Lower Upper Loop, etc. very confusing to someone visiting, but they all are beautiful and this one was no exception).  The sky stayed kind of dark, but the breeze kept away those nasty flies (or maybe it was the fact that I was flying fast down the trail...do you really believe that?) I woke up muscles that had been dormant for years...but it was so much fun. I would definitely own a bike if I lived here.

One thing that's so cool, and I've mentioned it before when talking about Crested Butte, is that so many people ride bikes...there are two kinds...the "townies" which can be any old bike or some of the newer fun Cruisers, and then the mountain bikes.  But you see bikes everywhere; it's very neat.  And, there are so many trails to ride them on...endless activity.

Okay, so now it's confession time. 

After my two hikes and my bike ride (I was so proud I didn't crash or fall over!) I went back to McGill's and ordered a chocolate malt.  I rarely eat ice cream, and hadn't had a malt in a long time either.  So, since I indulged myself, let me tell you what it was like.  They swirl the chocolate in the soda glass first, then pour in the malt, and top it with whipped cream...and you get the leftover in the stainless steel soda cup...and just the perfect thickness....you could just barely drink it with a straw.  (I can probably put my rings back on after what I ate today!)

Hiking over 100 miles isn't going to stop this chick from gaining weight! (eek!)

Then I had the ultimate treat...A SHOWER!  A real one.....with hot water. Boy did I get my money's worth.  One thing, other than wild roses, that I love to smell whenever I'm hiking, is when someone passes by you and they smell like fresh soap...I wish I could bottle that smell and use it as my cologne...I love that smell....and now I smell like that too.  At least for a little while.

So, fat, happy and clean, I'm headed to the free concert at Mt. Crested Butte tonight.  As I write, it's rained, hailed, and now it's dry, but the sky is kind of dark.  But, these Coloradans, will be at the concert....rain or shine...or hail....or storm...and so will I.

UPDATE SINCE LAST POSTING

1.  Ignore the last sentence...the concert was cancelled due to really icky, wet and stormy weather.

2.  I stayed in town for the evening, caught up with some friends/family on the phone and then went to eat at the Last Steep one last time before leaving CB for this trip.  The place was packed, so I sat at the bar.  I really like to sit there anyway, being just one person, you don't take up a whole table and the bartenders are always so entertaining to watch!  I wanted to try their Artichoke Cheese soup and have a salad...and it was the perfect weather to eat soup and salad. 

The guy sitting next to me and I started visiting and he told me he was an escapee (my term not his) from Kansas...he'd attended both JCCC and KU.  He'd been living in Denver (and loving it) for the past five years, but three weeks ago moved to Crested Butte (what a lucky dude).  He's an artist...a painter.  The Last Steep's walls are filled with his murals and paintings and of course, I thought it was so cool to visit with him.  The really neat thing is that he is a "Performance Painter" (again, my term, not his) and I told him of Danny and I meeting Jonas Gerard, another Performance Painter, when we were in Asheville, NC last October.  As it turns out, his name is John Bukaty....named after and related to Danny's father's attorney....what a small world.  I finally shut up (you know how excited I get talking to artists) and wished him all the luck and good fortune in the world.

I sincerely hope Crested Butte turns out to be a wonderful home for him and that the next time I come to visit, his paintings and murals decorate the town!

3.  Still raining, I decided to head back to the campsite and get there before dark...and then a thought occurred to me.....about 3 hours too late. Gothic Road, while a decent gravel/dirt road, has a couple of nasty spots in it.  One of those spots is about 200 yards BEFORE the turn off to my campsite.  It's a low spot in the road, filled with water and either side of it is muddy and slick.  I'd noticed this morning, on my way out, that after last night's rain, it was deeper and slicker than it had been before.  I also remembered, a camp neighbor, telling me someone got stuck in that spot the week before.  So, as I left town after my nice dinner and great conversation, this all occurred to me. 

And, just as I thought, the road was a muddy mess.  It had finally stopped raining, but the damage was already done.  I approached my "icky spot" carefully, and sure enough, before I even got to the water, the mud pulled my car into "it's" control.  Now, maybe Danny would have tried it anyway, but I did not want to get stuck.  So, very slowly, I backed up, all the way down to the previous turn out. I could have just spent the night in the car there, but my tent was still at my campsite.  Not knowing if it would rain more during the night and/or continue the next morning, I grabbed my headlamp (it was still dusk) and walked the 1/2 mile, in the mud, to my tent. As quickly as I could, I gathered up all that was in the tent (thankfully not much), broke down the tent, and loaded myself up like a pack mule.  It was dark by this time, but I didn't use my headlamp.  A person can usually adjust their eyes to the dark and still see quite a bit, if you don't use a light.  I mucked my way back through the mud and around the deep water and to my car.  I drove down the road, towards Gothic, wanting to get past all of the messy parts in case it started to rain again, and parked at a large trailhead.

The biggest fatality of it all was my nice, showered and cleaned-with-soap, feet, legs and sandals (yes, my chacos had been soaped and showered too).  I slipped off my sandals, thick with about a pound of mud, and wiped down my legs and feet and got most of it off; part of the mud had already dried by the time I got the car parked.  I think, in the morning, when passing by the stream, I will probably immerse all the above for a nice, cold, wake-up/clean-up call.

I finally fell asleep, but am wide awake now....it's 3:30 am.  There's no rain, and the sky's cleared so I can see some beautiful stars above me.  I'll probably go back to sleep for a little while, then drive back into town, grab some coffee, fill the car with gas, and the cooler with ice.  I'm skipping McGill's French Toast, I ate enough yesterday to hold me for a long time.  It will be one of the 100's of things I'll look forward to when I come back to Crested Butte.

I'm always sad to leave this area, it truly is one of the most beautiful and magnificent places on earth.

But, I'm getting way too comfortable here...my campsite's like a home, eating a meal a day at the restaurants filled with great food and fun people and the familiar (although spectacular and never boring) territory...so, it's time to "push" myself a little, and go someplace new....

***

7/24

I woke up early and decided it was time to head out.

One last look behind me at these awesome mountains with the tiniest bit of pink already showing from the upcoming sun.

      

The fog or clouds or whatever hung low beneath the mountains and over the valleys as I drove down Gothic Road.    

     

But the wildlife was up early....see the buck in the field?

I gassed up, bought more ice, a cup of coffee and drove the 30 miles down Kebler Pass...a very pretty early morning drive.

I was on my way to the small town of Marble and then would hike to the even smaller town of Crystal City.

         

It's one of the pesky-yet-I'm-so-obsessed-with 4WD roads that leads to a trailhead I want to get to.  The interesting thing about this road is, if you take it for 5.5 miles, it goes to Crystal City; but if you continue on the road, it will eventually lead to Schofield Pass...the really scary one you've been seeing pictures of from the Crested Butte side....connect those dots!  Anyway, the road follows the Crystal River and it was nice to hike.  It was in the sun, then in the shade, up the hill, then down hill.  I had a lot of huge puddles of water to go around (about 30 of them), but it was a good hike.  I, however, was the only person hiking it, which seemed amazing to 2 BMW riders from California, a couple from Colorado Springs that had hired a jeep and driver to bring them up the road, and 2 other dirt bike guys that I'd conversed with at the beginning of the road.

        

oops!  That's why I use my feet, not a vehicle to get up the road.

                   

The scenery was filled with tall mountains and spectacular waterfalls. 

  

         

              

These six photos above are all of the old mill and it was pretty cool looking.  The amount of water flowing by was just incredible. 

And, this is where I met all of the above people I mentioned (we were all taking photos).  The guys from California, had just bought their BMW bikes and were a little nervous they'd get all dinged up.  So far they'd been to Wyoming to a BMW Bike Rally, then rode down through Yellowstone and Teton National Parks, then into Colorado for another BMW Bike Rally in Paonia and then will head back to the San Francisco area.  The little cute woman from Colorado Springs was very chatty and wanted to take my picture when I told her of my "birthday celebration trip".  It was all kind of funny.

     

Then while they all rode, I hiked a little further to the actual town of Crystal City.  It's only got a few buildings.  One however, said "OPEN" on it, and inside was a older lady selling bottled water, postcards, candy, etc.  I think everyone bought a little something. 

Then there was a sign in front of one of the cabins that said "Bookstore...buy the book on the history of Crystal City from the author himself".  I was way too intrigued to pass that up. Roger Neal, author of "Crystal...What Really Happened" came out to greet me then invited me in the tiny cabin...where he lives in the summer.  On his kitchen table he had several books.  I didn't think I had the $10 cash with me in my pack to buy the book on Crystal, and he said "if I didn't that was fine, I could just mail him a check sometime".  But I dug a little deeper, coming out with exactly $10. He "autographed it to me" and posed for the above photo.  I can't wait to read his book!

There was one other couple who lived there in the summer...they're from Kentucky and have come to spend summers in Crystal for 60 years! (How do they make that drive up there?)

I was the first to leave to begin the 5.5 mile hike back down to my car.  It was funny, because twice the BMW guys and I passed each other....they joking that I would make it to the bottom before them.  And then the jeep slowly drove past me and at one point, I just sat down on the side of road on a rock and waited...one of the BMW bikes was stuck on a rock, another 4WD truck was coming up the road waiting, and jeep was next in line to go as soon as the bike got unstuck.  We were all laughing, because at that point, I was the ONLY one who could have kept moving.  Everyone got moving at some point, and jeep people invited me to ride down with them.  I said thanks but no, the day was beautiful (storm free at this point) and the hiking was nice.

     

Not as many flowers along this road, but I think these are new ones and they're very pretty.

        

Look who posed for me today?  The elusive black and white butterfly!

I made it back to my car with no problem, changed into my sandals and headed north. 

I walked through the town of Redstone, just popping in and out of a couple of shops and washing up a little in the river by the park.  They have a castle here called...guess what?  Redstone Castle, but you couldn't even see the outside of it from the town.  I'm not big on paid tours of castles, so I didn't buy the $15 ticket and left. 

 

These were some falls just off the highway.  

   

I'd read about some natural hot springs just outside of Redstone, talked to a local about EXACTLY where they were and went to find them.  They sit right along side the river, and are small but very hot.  I soaked my feet and calves for a few minutes, alternating between the hot springs and the cold river.  It is really, really hot here compared to the mountain towns I've been in.

I'm now in Carbondale...and town I'm not so sure I'm in love with.  The mountains surrounding this hot and humid place are more like the desert mountains you see in New Mexico and Arizona.  They are supposed to have a big Mountain Festival here beginning tomorrow night and running through Sunday, and I was thinking about hanging around to check it out.  But, I'm not even sure I want to be around a gazillion people in a town that seems a little....not sure exactly what. 

So tonight, I'm in a dilemma....don't know where to camp and don't know where I'm going tomorrow.

I'd guess I'd better go and figure it all out.

night.

*****

 7 /25

I ended up drving to Snowmass Village on Friday morning and doing two hikes; the South Rim and North Rim hikes.  The guidebook author had said these were loops, but they weren't and the first trail dumped me in town, about 2-3 miles from my car!  The South Rim I hiked just as an out and back.

           

  

                             

Both hikes were high upon a ridge overlooking Snowmass Village.   The day was filled with lots of sun and blue skies and kind of hot.

 

These were some really unusual flowers I saw today.  As  my hiked drew to an end, I noticed a large "hive" on my leg. I went to find a restroom and noticed then, that I was covered, HEAD to ANKLES with giant, hot, red, welting HIVES!

I drove into Aspen, bought Benedryl and Cortisone cream, took a shower, put on fresh clean clothes and rubbed the cream all over.  I itched like crazy!  I repeated the process about 4 hours later, and then again at 3 am.  I knew I was in big trouble, when throughout the night, my face started to swell and it had spread to my feet also. 

7/26

Early on Saturday morning, I looked in the mirror at myself and it was painful to see.  I aborted my hike and drove the 10 miles down the road from the trailhead to the Hospital parking lot, where I phoned my favorite ER Doc.  Sara said I should definitely go for the "visit"

 7/27 and 7/28

           

And so I did. 

Here's the short version:  Immediately cared for by a cool ER Nurse and super-cool Doc;  Given my first ever Epi shot (like Red Bull and Espresso Beans for a heart racing adventure); blood pressure dropped, and almost me along with it; another Epi Shot; Admittance (boo!);  Phone call to tell Danny; Hives getting better; All my giant swollen body parts begin to unswell...just a little; Cell phone dies and I can't call out; Flunk a urine test and blood test; Hives almost gone; Admittance continues for second night (I'm about ready to go crazy, boo!  boo!  boo!); Nice thing...Jill's mom Dorolyn happened to be in Aspen and came to visit me; Lot's more phone calls from family and friends concerned and worried (and probably ready to kill me!) Hives return, almost as bad as first time, giant swollen body parts again and very itchy; begin to run fever; pass blood test and urine test; flunk liver test.....but GET RELEASED! 

About 2pm, I was set free from the confines of the hospital, to return to my car, phone charger, and all my stuff! It had been a LONG three days.  No one knows what I had a reaction to or if I'll ever have another one or not.  The staff just kept telling me "that's sooo weird"...."how strange"...."what happened"....

Great coincidence .....

My good friend Mona and her sister had been in New Mexico over the weekend, but planning to drive through Colorado early this week, then back to KC.  So, with everyone agreeing and thankful, Mona and her sister re-routed through Aspen, and Mona is now my personal "chauffer" and caretaker!

A Wonderful Surprise

As Mona's sister was leaving, I got a phone call from David, Jill's brother who lives in Aspen.

 He was in the parking lot of the hospital and had come to visit me.  Mona and I were headed to Aspen Brewery, so David met us there and we all enjoyed a beer and some wonderful conversation! Then he invited us to see his Yurt, he built and lives in on the backside of Aspen Mountain.  It was so cool and amazing...and so is David. 

       

       

He lives to the beat of his own drum, embracing a simple, non cluttered life filled with lots of friends, two great kids, many adventures, and reliance on his own hard work and hard play.  (And notice, my giant polka-dotted body parts had begun to deflate...some!)

       

This is the skinny and rough road you take to get to David's Yurt...and the view....incredible!  David, his dog, Bodie and a friend, were leaving for Crested Butte to do a little camping and filming tonight.

It was really great seeing David.  He was so sweet to bring me treats...a wonderful chocolate-ginger cookie, some organic cherries, an apple and this beautiful bouquet of flowers....my flowers for the day!  Mona and I said goodbye....but I know for sure I'd love to come back and visit his place again....or his new place he just bought in Paonia.  I'm sure Danny would love to see it all too!

       

Mona and I picked up my drugs from the pharmacy (lot's of goodies) and went to Boogie's Diner for dinner.  We're staying in a hotel tonight in Snowmass Village.

Well, what can I say about the previous 4 days? 

Some things really sucked, big time! 

But life is filled with sweetness, even in the pits....my family and friends called a lot keeping me company even when all alone; the nurses and staff at the hospital were really great (including one who wants me to call her to go hiking!); and I probably wouldn't have seen Dorolyn or David if this hadn't happened. 

My 30 days of hiking only turned out to be 21 days at 136 miles....but it was an amazing 21 days and 136 miles!  Everything I could have hoped for. 

And, even if you have to change your plans and don't always reach your goals, knowing all the people that love you and care for you and wish you the very best....will stay in your heart and last you for a million miles in life.  And that is wonderful.

So, what's left on my "birthday trip"?  I'm supposed to go back to the hospital to try and get an "A" on my liver test on Wednesday. 

I think that's a great excuse to show Mona around Aspen....so, there may a little, bitty, teeny, tiny adventure still to come.

Lovingly,

your "extra-large" pink and red polka-dotted traveler.

* * * *

7/29

Happy Birthday Sherri Rose...we're so glad you're as old as we are now!

I knew we would be "taking it easy" today; everyone has Mona under pressure to keep me healthy!  We started by "touring" Aspen.  David had told us of a couple of fun consignment shops, and we both made purchases at the Thrift Store.

          

The town was fully awake and shakin' by the time we arrived.

Another place we decided to go, was one that was "on my list" had the unfortunate "hive incident" not occurred.  I'd heard about the "Grotto's" before as a cool place to hang out and swim and play around.  It was really neat.  And really, I was only in the shade....the whole time...really (see I'm not supposed to be in sun, hot tubs, take hot showers, over-exert myself or sweat too much....sounds pretty boring, huh?)

                 

It's right off Independence Pass and is a series of huge boulders and rocks with tons of crystal clear water exploding over and around the rocks.

 

Mona and her sister Sheryl, on their way to Aspen, had stopped at Bongo Billy's Coffee house in Salida and picked up a couple of pieces of Fruit of the Forest pie.  So, we ate it while were at the Grottos.   UMMMM good.

                         

The other formations that were interesting, and on the same trail were some Ice Caves.  You could climb down in there (but not if you're on the restricted-hike-list) and look around, but we just peered over the side and looked down at the water and ice below us.

                            

She may be currently a nurse, caretaker, chauffer, and hike-restrictor; but the Queen of Shoe's is always in the market for a new pair.  These Keen's were properly christened in the chilly but beautiful stream.

Our next stop was the John Denver Sanctuary, near the downtown of Aspen.  But it sits in a little park, near a really pretty stream...kind of off the beaten path.

I'm a HUGE John Denver fan!  I'd just discovered in February that this was even here.  It had also been on my list to do.

         

                 

 Some of his songs are carved into the rocks.  It's really a small area, but nice and peaceful and I'm glad we went.

       

 I doubt these are wildflowers; they were planted in and around the carved rocks; but beautiful none the less.

     

 Hey cool!  This was just one of the rocks set around the sanctuary....filled with a heart.

The next place on the list, was where my heart lies....the Maroon Bells and Snowmass Wilderness Area.  The sky was very hazy (blame it on the California wildfires) with a bright sun, but the mountains are magnificent no matter what the weather and sky do.

         

We had a nice visit with a lucky girl that is a Crested Butte Guide....and she told me the good news...the passes are all open....still with snow, but passable. 

Mona and I discussed hiking the distance up to the second lake, but fearing I'd have another "hive incident", my caretaker suggested we sit and just watch the mountains.  And so we did.

        

These are some of the other mountains you see in the area.

     

A beautiful stream and check out the bright green algae in the bottom of this lake.

It was still early, so we drove back down Castle Creek Road to look at the mountains at the end.

       

Two deer were just playing around, butting each other and goofing off...while we just watched it all and enjoyed.

      

We'd just snacked for lunch, so we decided to drive back into Aspen and have dinner.  There are only two places, that I know of, that I can afford to eat in Aspen.  Bogies, where we ate last night, and Su Casa...that was our choice this evening.  Very good mexican...Mona had the Chile Rellenos and a Shrimp Taco, and I had the Mango Fish taco and some rice and beans....very good!

 

What a perfect way to end the evening!  We stopped at Paradise Cafe and grabbed a chai and hot chocolate, and sat outside and really, really enjoyed a live concert performed by a Quartet from the Aspen Music School.  The best  rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" I've ever heard.

We're now back at the hotel in Snowmass Village, just chilling out and getting ready to call it a night.

I felt good today...so wonderful to be out of the hospital and back in the mountains.  My face has gotten smaller, but my feet bigger!  My spots are gone...at least for now, and for that I'm grateful.

I am really thankful, I got to still do some of the things I'd really wanted to see and experience while in Aspen.  Tomorrow afternoon we'll be leaving.

Soon the trip will be over....but not quite yet.

sleep well.

* * * *

7/30

This morning we woke early and I was able to get my appointment moved up at the Aspen Hospital.  I was only there for about 20 minutes....boy I really hope I pass the test this time!....but in case I didn't, we left Aspen asap....if I flunk the test again, my own doc can help me get it all fixed.

              

The morning's activities improved as we drove over the wonderful and spectacularly scenic Independence Pass.  We'd decided to take the back way and drive through Colorado Springs, rather than going through Denver.

We made three stops in the Springs:

        

The first was the Bristol Brewery....we only BOUGHT bottled beer and each a glass, since I'm on the "no alcohol" plan for a little while. 

     

The second stop was a wonderful thrift store (conveniently located down a couple of blocks from the brewery).  One of the BEST selections, EVERYTHING was sooo clean and organized, NAME BRANDS.....and SUPER PRICES.  If you love second hand goodies, don't miss this when in the Springs area.  Mona and I each made purchases....Danny's going to be thrilled with the yellow and cream flowered shirt I bought him!  The volunteer staff there were really nice....don't they look great?

      

Our third, and final stop was for lunch/dinner.  I took Mona to what's becoming my favorite Springs food spot....Shuga's (see first page too).  Mona really loved the food enjoying a brie, apple and prosciutto sandwich; I had a cup of the brazillian coconut shrimp soup, and two bruschetta-one with goat cheese and caramelized onion, the other with brie and apple....wonderful food and it was so great to sit outside in the fresh air and enjoy the atmosphere.  Our desert was talking to our friend Jill on the phone and a nice cup of coffee.

Then we headed east. 

    

First we drove through eastern Colorado.

 

Then we drove through Kansas.

We're stopped for the night in Oakley (no picture necessary; just refer to the above photograph...it all looks the same.)

Mona promises one last adventure tomorrow....so, check back and see what it could be?

* * * * * *

7/31

Happy Happy Birthday JILL!  This birthday, of yours, was really fun for me....hope you had a great one!

 

Last day of trip.

Mona and I were up early, leaving Oakley, KS heading southeast about 25 miles to Monument Rocks or also called the Chalk Pillars.

It was suggested we see them at dawn....as the sun rose...and so we did.

      

                       

They are unusual...and just sitting out in the middle of pastures, cows, wheat and corn.

        

These are the wildflowers of the day....kind of appropriate for going back to Kansas.

 

We made a spontaneous lunch date to meet our friend Sherri in Lawrence at Free State.  It was good to catch up and wish her a belated birthday.

 

Well, what's left to say? (isn't 6 pages enough?)

The last few days....not so good, but one thing I KNOW FOR SURE, things can always be worse.  And my "hive incident" was just a glitch, a bump in the road.  I even met some cool people in the hospital (including an invitation from one of the nurses to come and hike with her group of girlfriends). 

My only regret, is that my "hive incident" caused some concern, worry and anxiousness with my family and friends...and that's not anything I would wish for.  I sure felt their "long-distance" caring and love over the course of my days in the hospital.  And, a special thanks to Mona...changing her plans, showing up in person, and taking on the task of "watching over me"....not always a fun thing.  I hope she enjoyed Aspen and seeing some of my favorite Colorado places.

The first 21 days were so perfect...hiking everyday, being outside and surrounded by the beauty and boldness of the mountains and valleys.  Playing hard and loving it!  That was my plan, my goal, my "birthday celebration"; to hike everyday....and remembering those hikes, the places I went to and the people I met, will keep me smiling for a long time.  I did it!

I hope you enjoyed my trip too.

I'd love to read about your trips, adventures, and dreams-come-true.....so let me know when you go. 


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 vikhill@gmail.com                                                                                                                                                    © Vicki Hill 2021