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


  1. I'm a little envious of your job right now..haha! Glad you are enjoying it. I sooooo wish we'd become as bike friendly here in good ole East TN. Maybe someday ;)

  2. Sounds like you work for the Forest Service? So do I!