Due to the warm weather, hiking has started happening more and more. I headed off on April Fool's Day with Kristi, a recently retired teacher and ex-exchangee, and a couple of her friends to hike to the Mica Mines on the edge of Colorado Monument. It is a fairly easy hike - 2.6 miles round trip and fairly flat, although the ground is mostly uneven with rocks and stones and such. You walk through a canyon and the rock formations above you and around you are fascinating to look at as you go through. I enjoyed the hike enormously! Unfortunately I left my camera at home, but hopefully I will return and take photos for you all to see next time! :-)
Drive of the Season
The following Friday I finished school at 4pm and headed east out of GJ towards Denver. The Aussie exchangees had a Denver Nuggets basketball game on Saturday night to attend thanks to CITEL group and I was hoping to spend the Saturday exploring Denver city and surrounds as I had not had the opportunity as yet. So I headed off Friday after school and got a good start on the trip. I hit some heavy wind about 45 minutes out but that cleared up further along and I made good time to Vail, where I pulled off the Interstate for a dinner break. Now, I pulled off at 7pm - it was cold but clear skies. A half hour later when I emerged from dinner - overcast and constant, steady rain like we get all the time in Gippsland! What!! The weather turns very fast that high up! However, it was just rain and I was just over an hour and a half from my destination - I decided to load up and continue. Note to self - next time, CHECK COTRIP.ORG ANYWAY!!! :-)
The reason for my "loud" typing above follows........ as I drove back onto the I-70 and started heading east, the large raindrops began to look icy as they hit my windshield. As I passed the last exit to Vail, the icy raindrops began to be accompanied on their descent by white flakes. And another 10 minutes along the road, the rain stopped completely and was replaced by large white snow flakes that were sticking to everything! 15-20 minutes after I had gotten into my car, I was in the middle of a snowstorm on the I-70 with no way of exiting for another 30 kms. Alright, I thought, I can handle this. And I could - for the next 10 minutes. After that, my nerves started to become frayed as the snow began piling up on my windscreen and my back window was covered and I could not see the road for the flurries of snow or the side of the road either!! I managed to catch up to a large truck and sat about 3m behind it going about 30-40 km/h. I locked my eyes onto the taillights and did not look up basically! I lost that truck as it sped u pat one point and I was on my own - that was interesting, slipping and sliding in the snow. I think I almost got the median rail in the middle of the road too at one stage! Got very close anyway I think :-/ I caught up to three cars travelling in a line though and again sat behind them and just followed them wherever they went on the 'road' - very glad they were able to find the road myself! Through this I managed to click my iPad on, drop a pin on the next town and begin the countdown until I could turn off......20 km......15 km........10 km.......8 km.......6 km.......5 km........4 km.......3 km........1km..........Yes!!! Hello Frisco :-) I turned off into the lovely town of Frisco with about a 45 square centimetre cleared space on my windscreen (in front of me thankfully) and a pile of snow on the side where the wipers had cleared it to sitting 15 cm high. Hotel Frisco was kind enough to have a room for me and I crashed out on adrenaline overload at 8:30pm. Eeeck! An adventure I do not want to repeat any time soon - and this was a fairly tame one to what it could have been!!!
So due to my adrenaline crash after finding a room to allow me to stay off the I-70 and not stay in my car that night, I did not get photos of my snow covered car. Sorry. However, as I was driving I actually was doing a mental run through of the clothes I had in my car in case I did have to park at a gas station all night! Anyway, the next morning it was a beautiful clear blue sky and Frisco was a gorgeous place to wander and have breakfast. Here are some photos of my saviour town:
Following this scenic visit, Leanne and I headed for Golden for lunch. Golden is a cute little cowboy town about 10 minutes from Denver that is a bit tricky to find sometimes on the freeway - may have also just been my driving too!
|The town of Golden - Main Street|
|Every little town here has a river or creek to walk along :-)|
|Cute cowboy and cowgirl statue!!|
That night the Nuggets won like their 20th straight game and shot over 115 points - too busy catching up with our Aussie contingent to take photos sorry, but I am back at the Pepsi Centre in June and October to see Taylor Swift and Pink respectively - I'll post PC pics then :-)
By the way - on the trip back home Sunday morning, perfect weather!! See -
Palisade Wine Tasting Tour
A group of friends and I headed out to explore some of Palisade's amazing wineries. We even did it responsibly (as we always do and should - in case there is any students reading this blog still)! We all met at my place and then walked about a block to the first two wineries which were the Meadery of the Rockies (favourite!!) and Plum Creek Cellars. We then walked towards the I-70 and tasted at St Kathryn Cellars (another favourite), Grande River Vineyards and even another one we found as we were walking through town to the Brewery and Distillery! (forgot the name of that one). It was a really fun and great way to spend a Sunday afternoon with mates. We will be doing that again hopefully!!
|My friends and I at Grande River Vineyards|
Rodeo Uni style!
They have high school and college rodeo teams here! Interesting right? I went to Friday night here in GJ with a friend from school, Sara, and watched the local college host the first rodeo of the season. Students from different colleges competed in rodeo activities - barrel racing, roping, horse and bull riding. The best event though - sheep riding! Why? It is participated in by toddlers and kids!!!!! Kids as young as probably 3 and no older than 5 years were given a helmet and a mini flak jacket, sat on top of a sheep, had their arms wrapped around the neck of the animal and then told to hold on. The sheep takes off and the kids hold on as long as they can. Some come up happy, some not so!! But as I was watching it I was actually thinking that I know some little tackers who who absolutely LOVE that!! :-D
Palisade held its first festival on the weekend - the Honeybee festival which was, perhaps obviously, themed around bees!! Some interesting activities, a lot of handmade honey and soaps and even a talk by a bee keeper! A good way to check out downtown and get to know what was there as well.
Palisade Rim Hike
I have posted pictures on a separate page (see right) because this was a magical hike. My friend Andy and I headed off to do the Palisade Rim Hike yesterday (Sunday) afternoon. It was gorgeous weather - I am very glad I wore sunscreen too!! We walked about 4 -5 miles and were out hiking about 3 hours. The start was a bit strenuous at times but once we got up high it was gorgeous views and flat walking. We even went off the beaten track and did some walkabout tripping over some hills behind the main track. That made for an interesting rejoining of the main trail when we were faced with a big drop and climb! Easy managed though in the end :-) This is a definite favourite so far of the hikes I have done and I will be doing this again throughout the season for sure! Every visitor will also join me :-D
Back soon with more adventures!