Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Amazing April ..........

Hello all! The month of April is only half over but I have been enjoying myself so much I wanted to share with you all what I have been up to. The weather has finally turned and is mostly warm and sunny now, instead of freezing and sunny (most days are sunny here - except today as I write this it is has been overcast and raining all day!). Someone once told me as I was heading over here that people hibernate during winter and I would not see many people around until it was warmer. I actually didn't think she would be as right as she was - I have seen neighbours and kids in my street that I did not see for the first two months!! Its like they just appeared one day and moved in!! Very strange :-)

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:

Hotel Frisco

I made it to Denver at noon - 15 hours after I had planned on! Despite this, we still had the afternoon to explore, so Leanne and I headed to Red Rock Amphitheatre and the tiny town of Golden - just west 10 minutes of Denver. The amphitheatre sits at the meeting point of the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains. There is 868 acres of awesome history and geological wonders there, all surrounded by magical scenic vistas. Red Rocks is the only naturally occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheatre in the world. Every year during the summer, it has phenomenal musical acts performing - Sting, The Beatles, U2, The Fray........the list goes on!! Check it out at the website http://www.redrocksonline.com/. Unfortunately, I am not in the area this summer much or I would have snapped up some of the concert tickets - Zac Brown Band, BareNaked Ladies, Josh Groben, John Mayer, Bruno Mars, Keith Urban.........

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

Honeybee Festival

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

Enjoy heading back into Term 2 fellow teacher friends, students and family. Everyone else - hope this finds you all well! Keep smiling and stay safe wherever this year takes you.

Back soon with more adventures!

Candice xx


  1. Enjoying your blog Candice..sorry we didn't get the chance to catch up at the basketball.

  2. Hi Candice - You are certainly having an action packed year and obviously enjoying every minute of it! Although your drive of a lifetime to the safety of Frisco must have been an unwanted thrill!! I was feeling quite sick reading it! I am so glad that you arrived safely and now that the weather is warmer, hopefully you won't encounter the same experience again! I have been in Tasmania and was at Cradle Mountain waiting for the shuttle bus to come when I struck up a conversation with a young American traveller. She was telling me how she had to keep telling herself to keep to the left when driving, but was becoming more confident. So I told her about your driving experience and she could really empathise with your experience! She said it was really dangerous to be stuck driving in those conditions and that sometimes they closed the highways, so then all of the gas stations closed and anyone driving had no where to stop! She was from Missourri - not sure how you spell it - which is a couple of states across from where you are. Anyway, the way she spoke chilled me to the bone and I had to keep reminding myself that you had arrived safely and that your nightmare drive was now well in the past! Not long now till your long holidays, which you must surely be hanging out for! Do you have to write reports first, and is the reporting process there as cumbersome and time consuming as ours?????? Hope not! Love Judy.

  3. Hi Candice,
    Full marks for the quality of the writing in this blog! I was very tense as I was reading about your car journey in the snow storm - a credit to your writing. And, I was very relieved that you found Frisco.
    You be careful now, and continue having a wonderfully adventurous time.