30 September 2014

Week #2-1/2 in Colorado!

Survived (ENJOYED!) another week here!

And it has been a busy one....the project is going really well (hope I didn't just jinx it!) & we have even had a little snow! I also felt acclimated enough to take on some trails at Rocky Mountain National Park this weekend. I won't post too many of those photos here - I think the Park deserves a blog post of it's own. Mainly because I took so many photos I need to take some time to sort them all out.....

So, as a continuation of last weeks post of things I have missed here in Colorado:

#6 = Sunshine & blue skies!

No matter how cold it seems to get here, it's a good bet that the sun is still shining. Perhaps it is the lack of humidity, but even on a "hazy" day here the air is clear. My moods are very susceptible to the weather & too many days of rain do have an effect. Same way all these days of sunshine seem to make me very happy!

#7 = Wildlife!

So far I have seen the largest variety of animals I can remember, some for the first time ever. A few of the notable firsts......

A moose! I never realized how big they really are....

My first pika! These guys are just too cute
Looks like a cross between a mouse & a rabbit?


#8 = Wildflowers & trees!

It's a good change of pace to be back in Doug Fir & Lodegepole/Ponderosa Pine country. I left my Wildflowers of the Rocky Mountains book back in TN, so I have not been able to figure out all the summer wildflowers, but I still enjoy seeing them. And the ASPENS! I am here at the perfect time to watch them change.


#9 = BEER!

I know I already mentioned beer in my last post, but really, there are just too many cool breweries located in Fort Collins for it to not get mentioned twice. 

Of course New Belgium was my favorite - so much that I took the brewery tour twice! I learned to play Rolle Bolle & got my first taste of 'sour' beer - another new favorite for me.

Loved the artwork & Space Ghost IPA at Equinox Brewing


Checking out the tanks at
Fort Collins Brewing

Really liked O'Dells IPA
Really really really wish they distributed to east coast!


Now, just so you don't think I have been out here the past few weeks just playing, next post will be about some actual work being done!

07 September 2014

Week #1 in Colorado!

I realize it has been wayyyyyyy too long since I have posted anything here, but in my defense I have several drafts just taking up space in the draft folder & I have been pretty busy! Now that I am in Colorado for a 3 week detail, I find I have extra time on my hands so I hope to get back in the routine of writing some of the fun stuff I do down.

This detail came together right at the last minute - right until I booked my flights I was unsure it would really happen. It turns out the Arapahoe - Roosevelt Nat'l Forest has an outstanding contract to install 2 large bottomless arch culverts to allow fish passage for native cutthroat trout on Sheep Creek near Fort Collins, CO. The contract was delayed in 2012 by the High Park Fire, which also was the 3rd largest wildfire in Colorado history at +87k acres burned. Then the floods of 2013 stopped the project again right at the time we (as gov't employees) were furloughed.

So what's up this year? Locusts? Frogs?

Regardless, the forest has had several retirements & has a lack of folks available to administer the contract. And that's where I come in.

I have to say it's really nice to only be working on one project!

So, I flew out here to Fort Collins last Wednesday & have been acclimating ever since. I lived in southern Colorado 6 years ago and it's been really great coming back. So in the past few days,  here's a few things I have found that I truly missed about being out west:

#1 = Hatch green chiles! 

I really think I could eat my weight in these little green bites of goodness. And if there is any smell more heavenly than a box of these in a big propane fired roaster, I don't want to know what it is.

I am still trying to figure out a way to freeze some & send them back home to TN. Think I can smuggle a few bags in my carry on?

#2 = Wide open spaces!

I know some folks struggle with being able to see so far, but I like the clarity of the air that allows me views like this. Plus the smells! I can't remember if it's sweetgrass or sage, but its almost as good as roasted Hatch chiles.....

#3 = Bike friendly!

I can't help but be surprised at the number of bike lanes here in Fort Collins. The Forest Service office even has a "bike shed" to store your bike in while at work (plus a loaner bike for us visitors!).

All the local stores have bike racks & you can take your bike on the bus or other forms of public transport. There are enough bike trails to successfully navigate across town in any direction without even having to get on a  public street. And if that's not enough, they even have a bike library where you can "check out" a bike for the day! How cool is that?

And here in Fort Collins I actually saw a car making a right turn wait for a bicyclist to pass through the intersection before proceeding. Huh?

#4 = Good beer!

So many choices, so little time.....

#5 = Sunflowers

These flowers have always been my favorite & I always loved how they popped up everywhere when I lived here. Warning: Lots of photos!

There's so much more I could go into but I will save a little for week #2. I will say I remember it's dry out here but I cannot keep enough lotion & eye drops at hand! Plus, SPF 30 sunblock doesn't even begin to keep the sun off. I am just hoping I don't look or feel like beef jerky by the time I get back!

I'll close out with a few of my favorite photos  from the Fort Collins area.....Enjoy!

Cache la Poudre River

Dixon Reservoir in Pineridge Natural Area

Prairie Dogs!

Pineridge Natural Area

Foothills Trail