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Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

Spring in the Rockies…

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Means “still snowing” (even I am getting spring fever at this point!!)

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While most people spend their Christmas among crazy chaos and lots of people, we go the opposite route.  Part of it is that it’s not feasible to go back home again to CT, we both have VERY small families and my parents go to Florida while my sister stays in CT and celebrates with her husband’s side of the family.  So it’s just us and the pups.  Staying at home sometimes makes me a little sad and so this year with David off from work, we decided to go away for Christmas.  It was also a make-up trip from our 10 year wedding anniversary in May (a trip that we kept having to reschedule) so it had been a full year and a half since David and I vacationed and very much needed.

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DSC_0641We chose to go to a familiar, quiet place where we know our dogs are welcome and we could cozy up near a fireplace: the Estes Park YMCA at Rocky Mountain National Park.  Every year we go we are amazed at how big this complex is getting; it’s not your typical camp – it’s a booming conference center with hundreds of cabins and lodging rooms and has a skating rink, sled runs, horse stables, indoor swimming and tons of activities.  But even with all the options, we chose to hold up in our cabin and celebrate the holidays quietly…playing rounds of Monopoly, Words with Friends and Uno…reading books aloud to each other…challenging our brains with puzzle books and taking lots of frigid walks with our pups (some days the windchill was below zero!).

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We spent some time in town as well on the charming main street visiting little shops, stopping at our favorite independent coffee shop and grabbing some local food.  And of course there is Rocky Mountain National Park (though most of it is closed, the couple miles that you can go in are still beautiful).  Good all around.  Very low key, very relaxing (when our anxious pups weren’t misbehaving), very much our style.

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And while I often wish I had this big gregarious family to go home to for the holidays, complete with cousins, aunts, uncles, lots of siblings and nieces and nephews and all the nostalgic visions that the holiday movies portray, the reality is that neither of us have that, so we have to make our own holiday tradition.  So tranquil holidays come in as a great second choice.

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Whether yours were crazy or calm, hope your holidays were enjoyable. ♥

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Happy day!

This is the view out my side window at 8:30 this morning…and only 27 degrees.  Brrrr.

Flannel PJ’s?  Check.  Hot Coffee?  Check.  Doing work on the laptop while under the down comforter.  Check, check, check.

I’m a lucky girl!

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As a kid growing up in CT who spent most weekends from April to October camping on the Rhode Island shore, I fell in love with a little known gem off the eastern coast known as Block Island.  As the smallest state’s smallest municipality (in terms of population), this island 13 miles off the Rhode Island shore is a much, much smaller cousin of the well-known destination off the coast of Massachusetts, Martha’s Vineyard.  But what it lacks in size and activity, it makes up in tranquility and charm.

Via ferry service, I’ve made this trip many times before, though the last time was about 10 years ago and very brief as David was extremely motion sick and we got back on the boat only a few short hours after arriving.  This time my sister, younger niece and I made the trek via high-speed ferry (which looks like a catamaran on crack!) and arrived in just over an hour and feeling great.

My niece Sarah had never been to the island and determined to see every last bit (the island is only 3 miles by 7 miles), we opted to rent scooters instead of bikes (and being a hot, humid day, we were thankful to have made this choice by day’s end).

We had so much fun zipping around the island, pulling over every 5 minutes to grab photos of the beautiful beaches…

Capture seaside buildings…

And even a couple lighthouses…

Did I mention scooters are the way to go?  ;)

I’ve decided that I’m going to get a scooter some day…maybe not while we live in the mountains, but some day…mark my words!!

We enjoyed our lunch at this spot and had a hard time leaving with the view; our food for the day was typical seaside fare on the East Coast: clams, clam chowder, scallops and peel-n-eat shrimp (okay, so maybe those last two aren’t from around here, but it’s still fresher than what I can get in Colorado!), gelato and fudge. *Insert happy sigh here*

And 12 hours later, with sunburned skin, salty lips and barely open eyes from the day full of sun and sea air, we sang to the island in a slow, sad, nostalgic tone as the ferry pulled away from the dock.

Goodbye…farewell…to you I bid adieu…and you…and you…and you and you and you…Goodbyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Block Island.  I ♥ you.

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…this is a fair amount of snow this late in the year!

I’ve seen snow year round in Colorado (the mountaintops can be covered in July and I’ve been caught in an August storm on the top of Mt. Evans once), and it snows at our house up until the middle of May (usually always on my birthday!) but usually just a dusting.

And we’ve never had our trees bloom before June before and they were sprouted in April (one branch actually sprouted the last week of March which is 2 months too early!).

And by the look of the bending branches, I’m just hoping they’ll pull through!  So while the rest of you are probably in Tee’s and flipflops drinking iced coffee,  I think it’ll be a hot cocoa day here!

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Friday it was this…

This morning it is this…

Spring in Colorado…gotta love it!

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Photo Credit: michpalm on Pinecam.com

Yesterday morning I heard the local meteorologist speak of extreme fire danger and as the wind roared all day, I had a bad feeling.  The trees were whipping side to side and it was only 4% humidity.  Perfect conditions for a fire.

As I went to my post office to drop off packages, I could see smoke in the distance and as soon I got home, David said, “did you see the smoke?”  Sure enough a fire had sprouted nearby.  Only 7 miles away.  And the few acres blew up to 100+ in a little over an hour.

Photo credit: Will Probeck for 9news.com

Then we got the call.  The dreaded reverse 911 call.  In the 6 years we’ve been up here and of the countless fires in the area, we’ve never never received a reverse 911 call.  Luckily the mandatory evacuations were not for us and the fire was moving in the other direction.

Photo credit: Kit for 9news.com
View from front range

Last year it seemed like fires were happening every other day for a while, so we had our evacuation bins set by the door.  But it’s only March and well, there hadn’t been any fires yet.

Photo Credit: 9news.com

The worst part of the evening was listening to the fire scanner (David used to be a volunteer firefighter) and hearing dispatch tell the crews that a family of four was trapped by fire on all four sides of their house and fire was beginning to enter their house.  I thought I was going to lose it at that point.  Can you imagine that fear?  There has only been one confirmed death, so we can only hope they somehow made it out okay.

Photo Credit: 9news.com

The wind was on our side and from the views north of Denver, you can see how the wind was blowing everything East (and we were 7 miles west of the fire).

From my TV, courtesy of 9news.com
Yes, that's Denver there being shrouded by the smoke

But as the evening progressed, we heard of embers lighting up locations closer to us…so we packed up and gave ourselves a zone on the map that if it moved any closer too, we’d bail.

Thing about our road is that it’s a tiny dead-end road and the main road that gets to our tiny road is also a dead-end road and from our house to the end of that main road (which then takes you out to the main highway) is 3 miles long.  Last thing we want is to get trapped with nowhere to go.

That picture at the beginning?  We are actually located between the fire and the person who took that picture.  Makes for a scary perspective!

So what do you grab if you are evacuating?  Lets see…on our short checklist is:

  • important documents
  • backup hard drives
  • wedding photo album
  • food/water/medicine for the dogs
  • basic toiletries and change of clothing for us
  • laptops, cell phones and chargers for all
  • extra water
  • pillows/blankets in case we have to sleep in our car (not many places will take in 3 dogs!)

And well, that’s about it.  Most of the other stuff can be replaced.  I scan all my paintings and backup to carbonite so that if a fire ever happens and I can’t grab my laptop, I have them stored elsewhere.  Most of my photos are also on my computer and backed up as well.

But what’s most important to me is that David, the dogs and I get out safe.  Nothing else really matters at that point.

Photo Credit: michpalm/pinecam.com

As you can imagine, we barely slept last night.  We had the scanner on and every time they talked about more evacuations or the direction of the fire, I was listening to hear.  Made for a restless night.  As of this morning over 3,000 acres have burned, along with 15-25 homes and 0% has been contained.  Winds are quiet now but supposed to pick up this afternoon and possibly change direction toward us, so we’re not clear just yet.  Luckily David is on his weekend right now and home with me (as we share one vehicle and being home without a car when a fire breaks out is always in the back of my mind).

We know that we assume certain risks living in the mountains, just as those on the East Coast know they have hurricanes, those on the Pacific Coast have earthquakes, those in the middle of the country have tornadoes.  It’s just par for the course.

For now, we are safe and fortunate to have each other.  And that’s all that matters.

 

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We haven’t seen a lot of snow recently (although we have seen much more than most places thankfully) but yesterday we woke to rolling fog.  Unfortunately we didn’t get the beautiful freezing fog I’ve spoken of in the past but the next town over did and I had my phone on hand to snap these pictures while running errands.

Here’s the front of a tree touched by the freezing fog…

And the very same tree on the backside!  It’s quite a quirky scene seeing half “painted” trees…and from a distance they look like they’ve literally been sprayed with the fake snow-in-a-can stuff that shop owners spray their windows with during the holidays.

But when you get close up, it looks like jagged ice clinging to the branches.

Sorry, a not-so-great shot of a parking lot, but wanted to show you the pops of white against an otherwise dry ground!  Peculiar and beautiful all at once and makes me appreciate the quirkiness of where I live (as I had never seen freezing fog before moving here).  Do you have freezing fog where you are or have you ever seen it?

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It’s a really windy day today in Colorado so I thought to share this photo I took years ago near Mount Evans where it was windy at the peaks.  Stay warm!

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We take the weather ’round here very seriously…

If it’s snowing enough that we have to shovel our driveway, well then we’re going to enjoy ourselves a little bit…

A little work, a little play…well, more like play, then work, then play some more.  I think that’s a good motto to live by.

Yes, we go sledding down our driveway (and if you ever doubted if it would be steep enough for it, the picture above oughta answer that).  Our road is even steeper than our driveway but since a neighbor was nice enough to plow it with his ATV (our road isn’t maintained by the county), we didn’t want to make the snowpack icy with our sleds, so driveway it was!

Sierra, being part Husky, used to love the snow, sitting outside on a snow pack for hours on end watching for little critters.  But in her older age, she walks around for a bit before deciding she’d prefer a nice warm bed to hang out in…

Peanut is generally a hardy pug.  She’ll go for hikes for hours on end, climbing up steep terrain.  And she doesn’t mind the snow too much, but she wimped out early and decided she too preferred a warm place to hang.

Zoe on the other hand LOVES the snow.  She’ll stay out for hours, chasing snowballs, digging for the earth, and running after anything we’ll throw her way.  She’ll lunge over snowpiles and run around with boundless energy.  She cries to go out and play and cries for an hour after we get back in because she wants to play some more.  She certainly doesn’t fall far from our apple tree!

Alas, it was time to get to work and shovel…at least the scenery doesn’t suck!

We make sure to shovel 3/4 of the width of our driveway for passage of our vehicle; but 1/4 is left intact as a semi-permanent sled run.  We’ve got our priorities straight.

And at the end of the day we hang our wet clothes to dry, don some PJ’s, brew some coffee and enjoy the beauty the snow has brought.

Happy day.

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