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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Wild summer beauty

The vista where we camped was one of the most beautiful views and mountain ranges that I've ever seen. We ended up staying longer than we planned. In retrospect, it's not surprising given the raw beauty and peaceful serenity around us.
Western Colorado had an astounding snow year. The area where we were camped didn't "melt out" until a few weeks before we arrived. The wildflowers were delayed by the layer of snow. When they finally glimpsed the sunlight, they all went wild at the same time. By pure luck, that raucous party happened while we visited.
Every imaginable flower bloomed.
My mountain bike rides followed sinuous paths through waist-high flowers, including entire slopes of Columbines.
Little Red Elephant flowers...
On our first outing on the Colorado trail near this site with the Runner and Duo on foot, and me on a mountain bike, we saw a woman competing in the Colorado Trail Race, a 500 mile mountain bike race that follows the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango. This photo is of Cat Morrison, the second place woman in the race, who made it to Durango that day. After we cheered for her and watched her disappear into the distance, I found myself getting choked up, thinking that I would have been in that race if my spine weren't fused and disintregrating.
Most of the time, I'm at peace with the unexpected turn that my life took due to the genetically-based spine problems that I have. But, every now and then, I can't help myself. I'm an endurance athlete at my core... but I can't compete anymore. My eyes filled with tears.

Later in the day, I saw the bright side again. I realized that, because I wasn't competing, I could stop and smell the bistort (as my friend Barb suggested in a comment). We all have to make choices in life (or have them forced upon us), and the real test is whether we can find good and happiness in our choices.
Because I wasn't in that race, I spent the evening lazing around camp with my pack.
I watched the sunset play off of K's chocolate fur.
I laughed as R burst with enthusiasm for life.
We all watched the sun set.
Life is good.


  1. Sometimes like the bikers we go so fast in our lives that we forget to see the beauty that is all around us--I'm glad your trip was an amazing and beautiful one, and I'm glad that you shared it with us!! :-)

  2. I'm glad you found the bright side again... to some of us, you lead an idyllic life. Just think of the masses who spend their days in stuffy cubicles and long commutes in tangled traffic... ugh. You have majestic views to fill your soul and the good sense to appreciate each lovely flower on your daily adventures. What a blessing!

  3. Another wonderful post. Thank you again for sharing your part of the world with all of us. :)

    Woofs and Licks,
    Maggie Mae

  4. More amazing beauty, and some very wise words from a young woman who has realized that the best way to look is forward.

  5. What an amazing set of photos!!! Such a beautiful world you are experiencing.

  6. Everytime we thought we'd seen the most beautiful picture ever, we scrolled to the next one and had the same experience all over again.

    Happiness is a choice. I'm glad it is one my family has made!!

    Boondocks & The Love Shack Pack

  7. I think Tank said it perfectly.

    My Vickie cried a little as you talked about not being able to do what you want most, but as you yourself pointed out, because you can't do as much as you would like you have been forced to slow down and see all the beauty around you and the best part is that you share it with us.

    We love love love your photos, we look for your post entries daily, we dream of a life like you lead, we pray you will continue to share your spirit and beauty with us for years and years to come.


  8. What a beautiful post, words and pictures.
    I am glad that you were able to find the good in this situation, so many people are not as lucky to have this outlook.
    You have a wonderful spirit, thanks for letting us see it:)

  9. And because you weren't competing in the race, you touched all of our lives. Profoundly.

    Thanks :-)

  10. I don't think I've read a post by you when I didn't end smiling or feeling better about the world. You always have such a beautiful way of looking at things, both with the camera and with your heart. That picture of R howling completely cracked me up! As pretty as K is, he seems like he's just bursting with character.

    I kept thinking there was going to be a shot of K and R amidst all those wildflowers! The flowers are just beautiful!

  11. Because of you... all of your blogger friends, can see beauty that we would never be able to otherwise. You share with us so much.
    Your honest, and we can feel it as it comes from your heart.
    There is so much that you are doing- by sharing your world.
    Life is different for you now, and our lives are different too, because we can see the beauty of lands unknown to us.
    It is hard to explain what is on my heart, so,, just thank you for sharing

  12. What an amazing conical mountain peak in that top photo.

  13. To my eyes, you live a wonderful idyllic life (as someone else here has noted) in what to me is a paradise. Life cannot get better than that!

    Love that last photo with K&R!!


  14. Hi Y'all,

    I am so glad that you share these special moments with your readers.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  15. This was beautiful in every way.

  16. Your spirit is amazing and your ability to center yourself back on the important focuses of life is awesome. You were in an incredible place and we hope its bounty filled you. Still, dear friend, if White Dog powers allowed it, I would gladly give you back what was lost.

  17. So glad the flowers waited for you. That is indeed a lovely place.

  18. That is absolutely beautiful in so many ways!! Lots of love, Debbie & Holly

  19. Great photos!

    Over half of our trails here in Western Washington are still under snow.I herd that this was the first year in at least 20 years that Paradise at Mount Rainier was blanketed in snow all year.

  20. Great shots! I love all the flowers, and the crystal blue sky. I know it's not easy to be unable to do something you love, but perhaps the spine injury opened the doors to your amazing photography and blogging. I'm just speculating here, as I don't know the specifics, but I'm glad you have time to share your amazingly beautiful world and stories here in blogland.


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