Wednesday, May 18, 2016

April 15, 2016 - Morrison & Lakewood, CO

The clouds were all over, a sign that rain/snow will happen soon.  It was 46˚ when we got up.  

At 9:30 am we were supposed to meet Carmel at a gas station in Morrison prior to hiking at Red Rocks Park, but we realized that we were running against time to get our Lil’ Home ready for the “move” to a different site before noon.  We texted Carmel and told her of the change.  

Erwin drove the LH to the dump station to empty, then to the water station to fill up the fresh water tank.  The sky started to look dark.  The old red bus finally checked out of site #42 and we “moved” into it from site #40.  We wished we could stay at #40, but it had been reserved for the weekend.  

Snowplow trucks were ready!
Mama Owl keeping an eye on her owlets
The owlet had its back out!
Morrison, CO is a historic town (1874) and was named after George Morrison, a builder and businessman.  There are few historic buildings still standing in the town.  Also, Morrison has an important geological feature: Dinosaur Ridge - the discovery site of dinosaur fossils.

We decided to go out for late breakfast at TNT restaurant in historic Morrison, CO, a couple miles away from the state park.  Erwin loves breakfast, his favorite meal, and the restaurant serves breakfast all day long.  Erwin ordered veggie skillet with home style potatoes and Edith went with Ham Scrambler with hollandaise sauce and home style potatoes.  Very hearty dishes. Erwin managed to finish his dish and Edith finished only half and took the rest home.

Ham Scrambler
Veggie Skillet
Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre were not too far from the restaurant.  There are several entrances to the park and we went in #3 entrance.  If the weather had been beautiful and sunny the rocks would have stood out, but they were still beautiful even during cloudy days.  The shapes/formations are what make them stand out.  We took an auto drive, made several stops along the way to allow us to admire and enjoy the beauty and for Edith to take pictures while still in the car.  The temperature was 48˚, but it was not so windy.   On way to the Geological Marker we spotted 5 mule deer grazing in the field.  There was a meadowlark (songbird) on the branch, but it took off as soon as Erwin rolled down the window. 

Mule Deer 

Geological Marker is at an elevation of 6,400’ above sea level.  Where we used to live at our old house in Jacksonville, FL the sea level was 26’.  The Marker is a unique transitional zone where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains.  There is a short walk up to get a great view of the spectacular vistas.  The rocks on which we stood contain fossil remains of tiny animals that lived in the sea about 300 million years ago.

We were elated to see there is a short tunnel and drove through it to go to Red Rocks Visitor Center, gift shop and Amphitheater.  Amphitheater, built in 1941, is used to host concerts and other events.  It is nestled between two massive slabs, Ship Rock and Creation Rock.

Civilan Conservation Corps Worker Statue
It was erected in 2004 by Chapter 7, NACCCA in
cooperation with the City and County of Denver
Dedicated in honor of the 3 million workers who
served in the Civilan Conservation Corps from 1933 to
1942.  It also honors the builders of the Red Rocks
Amphitheater from 1936 to 1941

Open-air Amphitheater
It can seat 9,525 people. 
You can see Denver skyline in the distance 
Creation Rock
Tiny Edith next to Ship Rock
We will have to come back and spend more time exploring Red Rocks when the weather is better.  It started to get colder as we were getting ready to head back to Bear Creek Lake Park.

Edith started to feel lightheaded and thought she might have a relapse. She decided not to do anything for the rest of the day. She sent Erwin out on an errand: Grocery shopping. We need to stock up just in case there is a bad snowstorm during the weekend.

There were few cancellation on some campsites.  The site #40 was still empty. We could have stayed there instead of moving to site #42.

The clouds became thicker and darker.  Then it rained briefly. The weather report indicated it might start snowing past midnight, so we shall see if we wake up to see the ground covered with snow.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

April 14, 2016 - Roxborough, Morrison & Lakewood, CO

We were excited about going with Carmel to Roxborough State Park, about 20 miles south from where we were. The weather looked great and perfect for hiking and photo shooting.  On way to Erwin's great niece Carmel's house we stopped by to check on the Mama owl and her owlets at Bear Creek Lake Park.

We went in Carmel's car to go to Roxborough State Park.  The view going toward Roxborough was beautiful. We could see the Denver skyline (no idea how far it was from where we were).  There was a gated community with an awesome view of Roxborough Rocks and the homes there are worth much more than a million dollars.

Denver Skyline
The parking lot was almost full, but Carmel found an empty spot to park in.  We walked to the visitor center, went inside to look around.  There were lots of information on wildlife and the rocks.  There was a board on the wall that list the sightings of wildlife that visitors reported.  None of them were seen the last couple days and Edith was hoping to see some of them during the hike.

Carmel suggested that we take the Fountain Valley Trail (2.2 miles).  We were in awe of the beauty especially when the sun shone on the red rocks.  The path was hard-packed and wide enough.  We made stops for Carmel and Edith to take pictures of the rocks.  We went to the overlook, enjoyed and admired the beauty.  Our mouths were open almost all the way from lack of air, tiredness and altitude change, but we managed to keep up with Carmel (of course, we made some stops).

Happy Hikers!
Almost can see a hand forming in the rocks!

There were 3 buildings at the half-point of the trail.  One house was built in 1836.  From there the trail was steep uphill.  We stopped once in a while to catch our breaths, to rest a bit before catching up with Carmel.

The house that was built in 1836
We took the trail to Lyons Overlook where there is an overlook deck to allow visitors to get a good view of the rocks.  Gorgeous view!  

Carmel checking out photo spots
Lyons Overlook
Carmel checked her Fitbit and mentioned to us that we hiked about 3.5 miles and we were surprised that we made it in spite of the altitude.  It was past 1 pm when we finished the hike and were hungry.  Edith told Carmel she would rather eat at a local dining place and Carmel took us to Morrision, CO.

We had lunch at The Morrison Inn (Mexican) and we all enjoyed our meals. The atmosphere was very interesting.

After coming back home from Carmel’s house Erwin took a power nap while Edith edited photos she took this morning.  Then Edith had a power nap before we went over to Carmel’s house for dinner at 6 pm.

We had a lovely time with Carmel and her family and the dinner was very good.  We discussed with Carmel about hiking at Red Rocks in Morrison tomorrow morning.