• Category Archives Park County
  • Desiderata Days. Mountain Nights.

    Beltane and the Shadow Mountain Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Desiderata days. Cool, good sleeping nights. Colorado. Guanella Pass. That jerky store. The Cutthroat Cafe. Happy Camper. The Waterfall. Geneva Creek. The Continental Divide. The Shaggy Sheep. Jefferson Lake. Ruby and her new shoes. Taking a day. Letting it just be. Mountains. Forests. Streams and Creeks. Bridges and trails: The Abyss and Burning Bear Creek Trails. Square Top Mountain. Mt. Blue Sky. Mt. Rosalie. Square Top Mt.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Rocky Mountains, my home

    One brief shining: Great Sol, my inner ohr, has begun to peek over Mt. Grief and Mt. Inertia, encouraged by the trip to San Francisco where we/I/us let go of the Lilliputian ropes with which we’d bound ourself to one place, Shadow Mountain, and to one journey, becoming a Jew, and to the dark arts with which death enthralls our psyche, let go of them and got out, on the train, let go of them and went on a trip.


    Yesterday. Ah. Well.

    At last. After too many years. Too much thinking and sitting. Yes. I did it. I went on a short but profound adventure, never leaving the familiar confines of Jefferson and Park Counties. Here’s how it went. With pictures.

    Before. A while ago. I named Tuesdays as desiderata days. Go anywhere days. Let the day unfold. Rather than directing it: Write now. Eat now. Study Torah and bar mitzvah portions now. Sleep now. Watch TV now. Workout now. Do work-a-day things to manage my life. Pay bills. Write e-mails. Contact my docs. No. Not on a Tuesday. On Tuesdays I would set aside all that, get in Ruby and head out.

    Problem was. I never did it. Oh, I went on a few hikes last year. But not on Tuesdays. Just never let myself experience the freedom I put in my calendar. I even have the Tuesdays named on my Google Calendar: Desiderata Days.

    Until. Talked with Tom. The Florida Panhandle has a different understanding of Mountain than we do here. They even put up this mural and named a road and businesses after Blue Mountain:

    64 feet. The highest point on the Gulf of Mexico. Photo Credit: Tom Crane, retired.

    After I finished talking to Tom the day could have devolved into a usual Tuesday. But it didn’t. I put on my jeans, my LL Bean vest, got my car fob and tiny wallet, a hat, got in Ruby, and left the house. First to King Sooper for the ATM. Cash for the Happy Camper. On to 285 headed south and west toward Pine, then Bailey.

    Bought some edibles. Still can’t believe this is legal. Always feel a bit furtive.

    Down Crow Hill and it’s 7% grade into Bailey and the Cutthroat Cafe. Passed the Smiling Pig Saloon and Smokehouse where I hope to take Tom, Irv, and Paul in a couple of weeks. Breakfast outside. Oatmeal and Italian sausage. Coffee, sourdough toast. Over for a look at the Sasquatch Outpost. They’re all in on Sasquatch tourist items. From t-shirts to action figures, signs and blankets. Plus footprints.

    Faced a decision. Go home or go to Guanella Pass? A desiderata day. Guanella Pass. On Highway 285 through the Platte River Valley, past Shawnee, the Orvis ranch and fly fishing destination, Villa Marie, the Shaggy Sheep, and onto tiny Grant. Turn right.

    The Continental Divide
    Upper Geneva Creek
    Turned Around here

    I only drove part way up the 11,700 foot Pass which leads to the old mining town of Georgetown, also accessible from I-70. I had gone on a whim with no water bottles or camelpak. No sunscreen. Plus, it rained much of the time. No raingear. No such thing as bad weather only inadequate gear.

    On the way back down I stopped at the jerky place I’ve driven past many times. The owner, a luxuriantly white bearded old man with an oxygen canula, said, “It’s a tiny shop. Just look.” He pointed to the signs above the racks: Salmon jerky, Beef jerky, Alligator jerky, Buffalo, Elk, local beef. I paid with cash and when I did he pointed to a sign, no tax with cash. Cheating the taxman, I imagine. Especially since above this sign was a $1,000 bill with a head shot of our criminal ex-president. The Mountains.

    Back home I rested. Thinking. Yep, about a half a day’s energy. That’s my limit these days. Most important. I smiled. Desiderata days. After the bar mitzvah, a desiderata week. Off to Taos.

  • Surrender Charlie

    Samain and the Winter Solstice Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Heidi. The Dragonfly Sign. Colorado Supreme Court. Psilocybin. Nahuatl Gods and Mayan hieroglyphics. Surrender. Irv. Rider. Mt. Logan. Crooked Top Mountain. The Grandfather Tree. Park County 43. Buggy Whip Road. Hangman’s Road. Washington County Maine. Climate change. Shadow Mountain. The Rockies. The Front Range. Alan. Bastien’s Steak House. The Winter Solstice. Holimonth.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Colorado Supreme Court

    One brief shining: A cloth with Native American colors marking the four directions, circular, laid on it cut white Roses, small Pine Tree Branches, red Roses, Cinnamon, Coffee beans, Star Anise, Aspen Leaves arranged for a Peruvian gratitude ceremony in which I picked up a small Branch of Pine Needles, inhaled its essence three times and exhaled my love and gratitude before placing the needles gently in the center.


    OK, nation! See Colorado go. I loved living in Minnesota and in the Twin Cities for forty years. The North Woods. Wolves. Lake Superior. So many Lakes. Liberal to radical politics. Not perfect, no. Witness George Floyd. But no place is. And Minnesota seemed as close as they come while I lived there. Then Kate and I moved to Shadow Mountain.

    As the Dead said: What a long, strange trip it’s been. Many of you know my story over the now 9 years exactly since my buddy Tom and I drove straight through from the Twin Cities with Kepler, Vega, and Rigel in the back. And, yes, that story has its definite peaks and valleys. But that’s not my reference here.

    No where else in the country, this divided and often pitiful land of ours, could I have had a legal psychedelic journey on Crooked Top Mountain then come home to Shadow Mountain and read the wonderful news that the Colorado Supreme Court had called a crook a crook, an insurrectionist an insurrectionist and kicked Trump off our ballot. I mean, whoa! What a day.

    I shifted my inner identification a few years back from Minnesotan to Coloradan, my Mountain home become just that. Home. Yes, we elected a gay Governor. How bout that. And of course the wild Neighbors and the Mountain Streams and the Black Bears. The Snow and the spectacular Autumns with gold and green. Over the time I’ve lived here Colorado has shifted from red to blue. Not without some Western weirdness along the way, but that makes it interesting. All that’s true.

    But in one day to take a psilocybin journey with a good friend on property so evocative of a sixties commune and then learn we Coloradans had taken a firm stand, saying what all clear eyed non Trump bedazzled folks already know but somehow cannot communicate, that insurrectionists should not, in fact,cannot hold office. Well, I’m busting with state pride right now. Colorado is the California of the new Millennia. OK. Enough local chauvinism. Still, pretty damned cool. Gives this aging radical a boost.


    Short note on the psilocybin journey about which more later. Ate the mushroom after the gratitude ceremony. Mixed with a little lemon juice supposed to make it come on quicker and go sooner. Sat outside in the glass enclosed shelter where we held the gratitude ceremony, the others going inside. Watched the curved Snowy Bowl of Mt. Logan as my inner weather shifted under the power of the mushroom.

    Went inside and lay down on a heated pad. Soon Nahuatl Gods and Mayan hieroglyphics began to move across the ceiling. Sometimes two dimensional sometimes three almost down to my face. I love hallucinations. So fun. I told my guide I might be under utilizing the experience; it was so entertaining.

    Turned out no. I hadn’t. I had two intentions going in, the one I wrote about yesterday, how to live fully, and the second to continue my exploration of the sacred.

    During some brief conversation after being asked if we had any insights I said, yes, I had one. In living more fully I’ve pushed, thought about things to do, about acting in my life to live more fully. Answering Shakespeare, I have always chosen to take up arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them. Now I need to learn surrender.

    To live fully I need to open up, accept what’s coming. Greet the new year with arms spread wide for what it brings rather than what I can make happen. Well, not rather than. I mean, I’ll still take up arms, of course I will, but I learned yesterday that I have another option. To embrace, to wait, to listen, to let the world and its wonders come to me. As the Wicked Witch of the West might say, “Surrender, Charlie!”



  • A journey into mystery

    Summer with the Summer Moon Above

    Saturday gratefuls: Tom. Aspen Perks. Chicken fried steak and eggs. Coffee. Good conversation. Shaggy Sheep. Kenosha Pass. South Park. No snow plowing from 7pm to 5am.  Canon City. Guffey. Fairplay. Bailey. Royal Gorge Railroad. The Arkansas River. Rafters. The Gorge. Volcanic remnants. Walls of Rock. The Bear. The Bear Butt. Rescue on the Water. Pronghorn Antelope. Big Horn Sheep. A hot blue Sky day.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Two exhausted men hugging a utility pole

    One brief shining: Tom and I looked out the window of our dining car having become used to the sight of rafters six to a boat with one staff person at the rear passing down the muddy, raging Arkansas their blue or red rubber rafts following the currents around white Water covered Boulders and saw…people in the yellow helmets and life vests of the raft passengers desperately trying to stay afloat as the River swept them downstream!


    A day of mystery. The first had come on a road far into our trip which had signs reading: No Snow plowing from 7pm to 5am. What? A second mystery was the biological position of the Pronghorn Antelope. Was it a Camelid? A Goat? A Cervid? The third and most disconcerting was the blue raft empty of passengers, its lone staff person guiding it by himself.

    Let’s back up. Around 7 am Tom and I took off for Canon City and the Royal Gorge Railroad. We had tickets for a luxury meal on the 12:30 train. We stopped at the Shaggy Sheep near Guanella Pass for breakfast, run by a chef who got tired of the Manhattan rat race. Good food. About 20 minutes west of Bailey.

    When I started to write that last paragraph, I realized something interesting. We passed through only two towns on our way to Canon City: Bailey and Fairplay. That’s along a two and a half hour drive South and a bit West. Two towns. South Park through which most of our route ran is an example of the High Plains, flat expanses at 9,000 feet. Windy and cold in the Winter and hot in the Summer. Not many folks live on it. Two towns.

    You arrive at South Park after using the Kenosha Pass on Hwy 285, an 11,000 foot spot where the Mountain Peaks level out for a bit allowing a road to be run over them. After you crest the pass, South Park spreads out below looking like Midwestern farming country. Cattle grazing. Bales of hay in the fields. Farm equipment at the homesteads. Yet ringed by Mountains, snow capped this June, and elevated far above the farms of Indiana, Iowa, and Illinois.


    We reached that first mystery after we passed out of Park County, which encompasses most of South Park. No Snow plowing from 7pm to 5am. I couldn’t imagine what the sign meant and why you would need one? Are there rogue snowplowers who might insist on plowing this road anyhow? Didn’t seem likely. Solved this mystery once back on my home computer. It’s a Colorado Department of Transportation regulation for the whole state that disallows Snow plowing on stretches of highway that receive fewer than 1,000 trips over night. Staff and budget shortages due to Covid.


    The second mystery came as we passed the occasional Pronghorn standing in a field. I’d heard from a hunter that they were Goats. That didn’t seem right. Most likely seemed a family relation to the Cervids: Moose, Elk, Deer. Somewhere I thought I’d read they were related to Camels. None of the above as it turns out. Here’s a quick explanation from Wikipedia:

    “As a member of the superfamily Giraffoidea, the pronghorn’s closest living relatives are the giraffe and okapi.[14] The Giraffoidea are in turn members of the infraorder Pecora, making pronghorns more distant relatives of the Cervidae (deer) and Bovidae (cattle, goats, sheep, antelopes, and gazelles), among others.” Wiki

    The same article points out that they are the only surviving member of their family, Antilocapra americana. They’re the fastest land animal in North America capable of up to 55 mph.


    The third mystery though remains unresolved. We had finished our Osso Buco and Buffalo Shortribs as the Royal Gorge Railroad train on which we rode passed out of the Gorge and had begun to head back. We looked out the window to the Arkansas River flowing fast beside the train as it had been since we left Canon City. We saw more of the red and blue rubber rafts representing different float companies setting out on their journey down the surging River. What fun!

    At some point we stopped to pick up a fatigued kayaker. We both thought, likely heart attack. Paramedics on the train tended to him on the observation car attached at what was now the front of the train and also attached to the car in which Tom and I rode. That was interesting. Nice that the train was there and able to help.

    Further along, again looking out the window. Oh. My. God. Look. That’s somebody in the water! Yellow helmet and safety vest suggested a passenger from one of the rafts. Then Tom said. There’s another one! Over there. About to hit the wall. He turned a bit further to look and noticed a blue rubber raft empty of passengers, only the staff person with the rudder oar still sitting in it. The rafts all had six passengers when they set out from the landing where the train had switched directions only ten or fifteen minutes ago. We’d seen two men in the water. Where were the other four?

    The train moved on and we only saw the two. Tom thought he saw one of them reach a raft and get pulled aboard. We passed two more of the blue rubber rafts bobbing at the rocky wall to the River a bit further but the train kept moving. Then it slowed. And backed up.

    I asked a Native American train staff if he knew whether they’d picked up the people in the water. We’re not allowed to comment on it. Oh.

    The train moved back to the site where the two rafts had stopped along the wall of the Gorge. At a utility pole there two of the men we’d seen in the water hugged the pole looking exhausted and bewildered, surrounded by others. A third man struggled up the embankment with no help from the rafting staff, also plainly one who had been in the water.

    What happened to the other three passengers remains unknown to me though I’ve searched several times. A man died on the same stretch of water only four days ago. Thrown from the raft. The 14th water related death in Colorado this year.

    When the train arrived back in Canon City, there were EMT’s and an ambulance and a fire truck there to receive the rafters. They were placed on gurneys and then disappeared from sight.

    What of the other three? Unknown. Tom suggested that maybe they were younger and stronger swimmers who reached the shore on their own. The three we saw all appeared to be middle aged men. May it be as Tom suggests.



  • A Mobile Crew

    Imbolc and the Waiting to Cross Moon

    Wednesday gratefuls: Kep, the 5:30 am nudger. We two old codgers get up. This one still in REM sleep. Yoga mats. For the Kep. My son’s good work on the probate. Jen. Ruth. Gabe. Death. Jon, a memory. Kate, always Kate. Darkness. My old friend. A Mountain Morning. The oriental rug. Now a large traction mat for Kep. Pangaea Carpets. Evergreen Design Center. Clean house. Cheeba Chews.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: The Continental Divide visible on the way to Bailey


    Thinking about my buddy Paul living near the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Fundy. Surrounded by good fishing. Northern Forests. The St. Croix River. Close to Canada. A distant world. My own Mid-Continent life. The Midwest, then the West. On a Mountain Top. Far from the fresh Waters of Minnesota now, far from the salt Waters of the Atlantic or the Pacific always. Hawai’i would give me a linkup with the World Ocean. One reason it appeals to me.

    Having Mary, Mark, my son and his wife in Asia for so many years. My attention pivoted, turned West. Far West. Thailand. Korea. Singapore. It remains there, peeled away from my long European fixation. Except for Britain. Continental Europe used to hold many of my travel dreams, scholarly fantasies. Not now.

    Going to Korea later this year. When I can stay longer, I’ll add in Taipei.

    Brother Mark starts today at Amazon’s OKC2, one of its largest warehouses in the Oklahoma City area. His first full time work since moving back to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia. May his day be full and not feel long. Mary has moved back to Eau Claire. My son and his wife will leave Hawai’i for Korea. A mobile crew.


    A trip to Bailey yesterday. Happy Camper. Topping up the indica supply. A beautiful drive with the Continental Divide in the far distance. Not as Snow topped as I expected. Mt. Blue Sky had a Snow storm as did Mt. Rosalie. 285 was clear.

    Chose to get money from the ATM in Happy Camper. Tried twice with my credit card. Oops. Worked with my debit card. A once every couple of months trip for me. I wanted to include lunch at the Smiling Pig, a new Tex-Mex joint in the old Rustic Station, but it’s not open on MTW. Will have to just drive over there for lunch one of these ThFSaSun. The pandemic was rough on restaurants everywhere. I imagine that’s what took out the Rustic Station. It had great buttermilk pancakes.

    After that drive I went to Evergreen, looking for an area rug for my upstairs office. Still not done tricking it out. Pangaea Carpets had a lot of beautiful carpets and area rugs. Got to measure my space.

    Also. Still looking for a Western something to put on my mantel once Doug gets my interior painted. Stuff there was too generically upscale Western. May hunt for a large Buffalo photograph. Back to the house for a little Korean, some pan fried ground pork with milk gravy.

  • Beauty Nearby

    Samain and the Holimonth Moon

    Tuesday gratefuls: Snow. Cold. No pee on the rug. Kep, my official nudger. Osher Lifelong Learning. Herme. The Hermitage. Warm for the Winter. Dr. Astrov. A Chekhovian humanist. National Forests. Arapaho. Pike. Chippewa. Grand Mesa. Rio Grande. Superior. Mauna Loa. Erupting. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. Haleakala. Mt. Etna. Black Mountain. Bear Creek. Cub Creek. That six point Mule Deer Buck. Rabbit tracks in the Snow. Phonak.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Mauna Loa


    Colorado Cold. 10 degrees. Sparkling white Snow. The Snowpack. Lagging a bit here but good in the Colorado River Basin. An old fashioned Winter shaping up for Shadow Mountain.


    Over to the Happy Camper yesterday after working out. The lady at the cash register surprised me by saying after I gave her my birthday. That was my husband’s, too. I missed a chance to make a solid connection with her. Too focused on my purchase. Another 8 packs of Indica Cheeba Chews. Edibles. A word that has morphed its meaning over the last ten years.

    The drive to Bailey featured a Snow capped Continental Divide and Mt. Blue Sky (formerly Mt. Evans). Always a beautiful drive. If you drive beyond the Happy Camper into Bailey, you come to the 7% grade known as Crow Hill. It levels out into the Platte Valley where the small town of Bailey begins.

    The Platte Valley has steep Mountains on both sides and a roiling North Fork of the South Platte River. This is Park County, no longer Jefferson in which I live. Bailey is the only town with a downtown in the Valley and it’s a modest one. Shawnee and Grant have names, but no there there.

    As Hwy 285 rises toward Kenosha Pass, the 11,000 foot pass separating the Platte Valley from South Park, the Valley ends. About half way up this incline is Park County 61 which leads to Burning Bear Creek Trail and a beautiful camping area in the Pike National Forest. I posted pictures of a large Beaver dam and Beaver felled Trees earlier this summer.

    I write this to illustrate how much beauty there is within an hour or less of Shadow Mountain. Including Shadow Mountain, Black Mountain, Conifer Mountain. The drive down to Evergreen on Black Mountain/Brook Forest Drive.


    Gee, guys. Headline in the New York Times: Jewish Allies Call Trump’s Dinner With Antisemites a Breaking Point. You think?


    Today at 2pm MT the US Men’s soccer team plays Iran. And it’s a must win for the US if they hope to advance.



  • Burning Bear Creek Trail

    Summer and the Aloha Moon


    Wednesday gratefuls: Alan. Susan Taylor. Burning Bear Creek trail. The blue Columbine. The Dictionary of Art. Burning Bear Creek. Kep. Groomed. North Fork of the South Platte. The Denver, South Platte, and Fairplay Railroad. Highway 285 which covered its rails. Mountains. Bailey. Award Winning Pet Grooming.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Burning Bear Creek

    Tarot: Knight of Vessels, Eel

    “The Eel is a shapeshifter. He is purposeful and agile,  gliding over the water (emotions) with such ease and quickness that he can adapt his physical form to accommodate even sudden changes.

    Knight of Vessels Wildwood urges you to apply the same adaptability as you begin to pursue your own goals. He invites you to find opportunities to express yourself.” tarotx.net (edited)


    Found it. The trailhead to Burning Bear Creek Trail. Surprised myself by walking uphill for some ways without huffing and puffing. Fist pump. Two months ago I drove past the trail head and found other beautiful vistas including the huge beaver dam and pound. Also the hillsides with beaver cut tree stumps.

    The trail begins right at the road and the parking area only has enough space for two or three vehicles. I expected a turnoff and a larger parking area so I missed it. This time I followed the mileage suggestion and found it at about three miles from Hwy. 285 on Park County #60.

    There is a two mile stretch of 60 before the trailhead that is private property, grandfathered in I imagine because it is in the Pike National Forest. Maybe four or five homes along the way. This is isolated country, back country. What a wonderful place it would be to grow up. Pronghorn Antelope, Black Bear, Beavers, Mule Deer, Fox. Burning Bear Creek. Moose. Mountain Lions. Mountain vistas. Pine and Aspen Forest. Mountain meadows. Wild Flowers. A neighborhood of wild Animals and Mountains and Creeks and Plants.

    The trail starts uphill right at the road and continues across a meadow for a couple of hundred yards. Well maintained, it has rock dams every so often. Water shunts down the hillside then, not eroding the trail. A lot of work went into this, one of hundreds of trails in the Rockies.

    When I got a hundred yards along the trail, this is what I saw.

    A couple of things began to bug me. Had I locked the car? (Had I turned the burner off?) And. Why had I chosen to hike without my camelpak? A short hike, that’s what I told myself. Wasn’t the water I missed but the bear bells. I plan to purchase bear spray, too, now that I’m hiking in the true back country.

    I’d set my timer to 15 minutes. I decided I’d go back right away and continued on. A 30 minute hike was what I’d planned.

    Further on I found a patch of blue Columbine, Colorado’s State Flower, as well as a contrasting red Indian Paint Brush.

    The Blue Columbine is endangered because hikers dig them up for their Rock gardens. Silly folk. They could come back in the fall and collect the seeds. I may do just that.

    The trail took a downward slope as my timer went off. I could hear Burning Bear Creek running below so I decided to go on.

    Up the slope of the Valley’s other side I could see that the trail leveled out. Went up to investigate.

    I found this marker pointing up this section of the trail.

    Oh. My. I’ll be coming back with bells on. And Bear Spray, Water, and Snacks. And, a longer time line.

    On the way back

    Finally, I stopped at the Shawnee National Historic Site. About half way back to Bailey.


  • Natural Healing

    Beltane and the Living in the Mountains Moon


    Friday gratefuls: My journey over a lifetime. Kate. Always. That trail. With the Creek, the Mountain Stream. The fallen Trees. The tall Pines. The Wild Strawberries. The Rocks. The steep valley walls. Wild Rose. Primrose. Those yellow Flowers I can’t identify. A place of great sanctity. A holy place. A sanctuary. Friends. Near and far.

    Saturday gratefuls: Stephanie. That trail again. Happy Camper. Aspen Perks breakfast. Salad. Apples. Peanut Butter. The Continental Divide. Mt. Rosalie. Mt. Evans. Black Mountain. Staunton State Park. Richard Power’s Orfeo. Learning lines. Mini-splits. Jon. Money.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: That trail.

    Tarot: Seven of Stones, Healing. And, Again.

    Key words: “Give our minds a break, Calmness, Meditation, Stillness, Healing, Reevaluation, Patience, Perseverance, State of stability, Attentive care, Take time to relax and unwind, Connection to the source energy.”  tarotx.net


    Forgot to finish this yesterday. A busy day. Over to Aspen Perks for breakfast: Salmon Eggs benedict. Reading Orfeo. After a morning with what people especially beyond Richmond Hill (think Pine, Bailey) call the camper and RV races. Or, the RV assholes. Or, those bastards. Folks from down the hill invading, driving too fast. Often with trailers in tow. Passing on curves. Generally being jerks. After Richmond Hill 285 goes from a four lane divided highway to a two lane, no dividers. That’s when things get clogged.

    At 9 am I was still a bit ahead of the bulk of it. But I had a guy towing a trailer behind me, a BIG RV ahead of me for much of the way. Irritated locals often try to pass early. Not waiting for the passing lanes that come after the road to Staunton State Park. It’s a recipe for accidents. And, they happen. And, they kill people.


    I was on my way to the Happy Camper for my every two months or so cannabis run. 25% off! for the whole month. Still digesting a Stanford study that says thc can increase inflammation in the veins and arteries around the heart. Gonna consider genistein to counteract this effect. Sleep is critical and my thc use has made 8 hours every night possible. Gonna contact my docs to see about safety and dosing.


    As my avanah (humility) practice for the month, I’m using a focus phrase: ichi-go, ichi-e. Every moment is once in a lifetime, unique, precious. Trying to use it every time I encounter a living entity: Kep, Myself, Rocks, Lodgepoles, Elk, Friends, Waitress, other Diners, Birds, the Sun, Black Mountain. All the time. Sort of like the Jesus Prayer. Trying to make it subliminal, yet also present as I move around through my day.

    In this way I can learn to take up the right amount of space in my life. Not too much, not too little. Not minimizing my gifts, not over emphasizing them. Making sure I remember to bring my whole self to each precious moment. Since it will not be repeated, it’s the only chance I have.


    I have now hiked what I’ve begun to think of as my trail, at least when I’m on it, three times since Gabe and I were on it last Saturday. I may go again this morning. Yesterday after my time with Stephanie, Dr. Gonzales’ PA and a sweet lady, I hiked it with the ichi-go, ichi-e focus phrase.

    I saw that patch of Wild Strawberry blooms and thought of Ingmar Bergman’s film of the same name. A favorite. The Mountain Rose Bushes are in full Flower, too, five white Petals brightening the trail. They will give way to Rose Hips as the Wild Strawberry Blooms will to Strawberries.

    The little Stream, I don’t know its name, flows a bit less vigorously as the Snow melt and Rains subside. Still it sings, dancing over Rocks, falling down the Mountainside, continuing its creation of this holy Valley.

    Oddly, as I thought about this trail last night, I realized I’ve done just this, exercised outside in spots that became favorites for a very long time. I used to hike the trail along the Mississippi down by the Ford Avenue Bridge. Then I moved on to the Crosby Nature Farm, also along the Mississippi. When I worked for the Presbytery, I often exercised or walked at the Eloise Butler Garden and Wildlife Sanctuary. 

    In Andover I went to the Rum River Regional Park and snowshoed a trail through Woods behind the new library in the Winter, spent other times at Boot Lake SNA. Now I’m on my trail just off Brook Forest Road. Up here though the options are much more abundant. I’ve also been on Upper Maxwell Falls, The Geneva Creek trail outside of Grant, and plan to hit the Mt. Rosalie Trail soon.

    My equivalent of the Celtic Christian practice of peregrinatio. The Skunk Cabbages are probably blooming right now at Eloise Butler. I miss seeing them and the bright yellow of the Marsh Marigolds. The power of the mighty Mississippi, too. Though a Mountain Valley is equal to them in its own way. Love the one you’re with. Eh?

  • Introducing Herme

    Beltane and the Beltane Moon

    Thursday gratefuls: Burning Bear Creek. Park County #60. A clean Kep. Geneva Creek. The hike. Good exercise. Outside. In the Mountains. The scent of Lodgepole Pines. Sweet. The sound of Snow Melt throwing itself down Geneva Creek. The Marmoset. The Raccoon. Those molting young Mule Deer Does near the Lariat Lodge. Hamish. Working on Alfieri and Eddie in View from the Bridge. 9:30 to bed. Up at 7:10. Shift already happening.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Marmosets and Raccoons

    Tarot: #8, The Stag

    “The Stag is a metaphorical image for the treasure of knowledge in the universe, where the energy of creativity awakens every human soul.” tarotx.net


    Kep emerged from Award Winning Pet Grooming shiny and sweet smelling. Grinning. He jumped up on me. Thanks for not forgetting me, Dad! He’s the sweetest Akita I’ve ever met. The longtime owner there. He’s the sweetest Akita I’ve ever met, too, but my experience is limited to Kep, Murdoch, and for a moment, Kya.

    Living in the Mountains continues today. Exercise at Maxwell Creek. I’ll see what it’s like at 9 am or so. Probably nobody. Which is what I want. Gonna start checking for lonely trails somewhere nearby. Even when working out I’m an introvert. A big reason I have my own home gym.


    Shedding, like an Akita blowing his coat, my old Self. Letting him go, rushing toward the River feeding the Collective Unconscious. He’ll always be there if I need him. He served me well over the last seven years, but it’s time to let the fourth phase me, the post-Kate me have his day.

    He’s a dig-in to this world deeper guy. A Living in the Mountains guy. Really see this wonder in which I live. He’s a Traveling Alone with a Crowd guy. Herme is his name.

    Instead of looking to go far he’s looking to go in and down, as has been my journey since I left the church over thirty years ago. Slipped away some in the Colorado years. Renewing that journey while rethinking transcendence. I get the need to move beyond ego, but I’m not sure transcendence is the right metaphor. Rolling this around right now.

    Rather than looking to go far Herme wants to investigate the close-by, the near. In his heart. In his inner world. In the Mountains near his home. In Evergreen and CBE. In family and friends. On Shadow Mountain. In his sumi-e brush.

    Herme wants to move on the Elder’s path. Finding his power. Communicating his truth gathered. No longer pounding the world with his fist. No longer seeking distant lands unless inhabited by family. Not seeking success in anything. Living in the World as he lives in the Mountains as his World.

    Herme appreciates the lessons of suffering. But no longer wants to live with them as a primary identity. Cancer will be what cancer is with the treatments available. Jon and the kids will resolve their issues from the divorce or not; Herme will remain in their lives. Kate will be of blessed memory.

    Farewell old man. You served me well, but it’s time for a new phase.



  • Living in the Mountains

    Beltane and the Beltane Moon


    Wednesday gratefuls: Kep. Grooming today. A hike while he’s stylin’. Diane. Arthur Miller. Neil Simon. Clifford Odets. Eugene O’Neil. Thornton Wilder. American theater. August Wilson. The Bard, of course. Those Greeks. The well-made play. Bernard Shaw. Dancing at Lughnasa. Saw it in London. Playwrights. David Mamet. Learning. Stretching new muscles. Old muscles, really. Really old muscles.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: Living in the Mountains

    Tarot: Three of Vessels, Joy

    “The ability to connect directly with inspiration allows renewed and re-initiated energies to flow through you, and it is a gift from creation. The ability to lead a life of joy, praise, and gratitude, as if it is an unexpected gift we share, will be a unique blessing. That gift is also acknowledged by people who feel the warmth we are spreading.” tarotx.net


    I’m done with kabbalah for the moment. Will finish astrology class because I’m learning now. Maybe glimpsing what others see. After three semesters. Slow, dude. Slow.

    Energy shifting. Realizing I kept myself in my head with the Sefer Yetzirah classes. Not that I don’t love it there. I do. But this one hasn’t fed me. I want deeper connections. To art. To friends. To family. To Shadow Mountain. To Colorado. No. I need deeper connections. Acting class feeds that part of me. Also, reading plays.

    Gonna try moving my bedtime. Maybe in 15 minute increments. Aiming for 10 pm. Up at 7:00-7:30. Leave a better opening for night time activity. Not always shocking myself with sleep deprivation when I go to Nocturne or Dazzle for a jazz evening.

    Also, as I said yesterday, for services at CBE, for acting class. For dining out.


    Kep goes to Bailey today for his regular grooming. A life without dog hair in the house! Well, without LOTS of dog hair. Yes. Seems to work. The groomer suggested an eight week schedule.

    While he gets beautifuler, I plan a hike at this place. Burning Bear East Trail. 

    Why? Want to get out outside more. And, I love the name. Burning Bear. Wonder what the story is? The trail follows Burning Bear Creek. I’ll take pictures. Need sun screen, my camelpack, and my hiking boots.


    Back from Bailey, Burning Bear Creek. Never found the trailhead. I went about 7 miles up a Park County road, #60, that goes deep into the Pike National Forest. Not sure why I missed it, but I did. After I got back on 285 I drove to the Guanella Pass and found the trail’s eastern head about 6 miles up the pass.

    Living in the Mountains. Gonna be a new motto for me. Like living in the move when we first transitioned to the Rockies. Various things blocked my getting out and hiking in the Mountains. Cancer. Kate’s illness. Nearby trails crowded or too steep for my impaired diaphragm. Sure, they’re excuses, but they have also been real barriers.

    The result of all these barriers over the last seven years is that I (we) lived on a Mountain, but rarely in the Mountains. We lived in the Front Range. The extended Denver metro. Still wonderful but far, far from all that’s here.

    Not anymore. As I drove up Park County #60 here are a few of the things I saw:






    The last four pictures feature Beaver modified terrain. The last picture, a bit hard to identify, has the dam, a big one about 2/3’s of the way up from the bottom.

    A Marmoset crossed my path looking like a fat Old West accountant scurrying off to his goose-quill and raised desk. On Monday night coming home from Evergreen I saw a very healthy Raccoon slipping off the road and into the Marsh.

    Seeing animals, healthy animals. Yes.

    What I realized was that up every country road that heads up into the Mountains contains some version of this. Every trail that heads into them, too. And I’ve not been out there.

    I’m not as able as I was when I got here. I huff and puff a lot more, but it’s good for me. When I lived in Andover, I did a lot of my exercise outside. County Parks. A trail behind the new library. Winter and Spring and Fall. Summer usually inside. Air conditioning.

    Anyhow. Living in the Mountains. Traveling Alone. (With a crowd.)

    I did find the Geneva Creek Trail. Hiked it for 30 minutes.


  • Why I Stay

    Imbolc and the 3/4 Moon

    Saturday gratefuls: Award Winning Pet Grooming. Beautiful Rigel. Shaggy Sheep’s carnitas taco. South Park and the Continental Divide. Beautiful with Snow. McKesson Biologic. Erleada. Happy Camper. Cheeba Chews. Making dreams come. Driving on a Snow packed highway. Like old times. Park County. The Mountains. The Valleys. The blue, blue Sky. Warmer. Getting stuff done.

    Sparks of Joy and Awe: South Park, the High Plains



    This was home though

    The Rocky Mountains. My chief complaint about Andover was that there was no there. Until I got on our property. Meaning: whenever I drove into the Cities, I’d come home via I35 or I94 to Hwy 10, then up Round Lake Blvd. It was businesses, homes, industrial buildings, four lane zipping here and there, sometimes six or eight lanes. I never left the comfortable built cocoon of human habitation and its concrete and steel support system. Uninspiring. Deinspiring. Blah. Bah. Humbug.

    To be fair Anoka County was wonderful. An (relatively) undiscovered gem of the Twin Cities Metro. Boot Lake Nature Reserve. Oak Savannah. Rum River County Park. The Cedar Creek Nature Center. But even these existed as cordoned off chunks of the natural world. Protected. And the protection was necessary. Exurbation.

    In a very real sense I don’t live in Colorado, I live in the Rocky Mountains. Colorado is the Denver Metro, the big ranches on the Eastern Plains, and the even bigger ranches in the Western part of the state. Here the dominant reality is Mountains. Streams. Valleys. Pines and Aspen. Mule Deer, Moose, Elk. Mountain Lions and Marmosets. Sudden changes in weather that can breathe bone chilling cold, bursts of vehicle covering Snow, hot and dry winds, and glorious clear blue Sky.

    I go down the hill as little as possible. Not because I hate the city. I love cities. But because I love the Mountains more. One of the coolest parts of living up here is that ordinary tasks, like taking Rigel to the groomers is an adventure. A drive most folks would buy an airplane ticket to have. Kate stayed here until her death because, she said, “I felt every day like I was on vacation.”

    With the exception of certain medical appointments and the occasional outings with family, I have no need to leave the Mountains. Just changed my primary care provider from Littleton to Evergreen for that reason. Well, ok, I’d grown disgusted with the care from New West Physicians. That provided an incentive.

    Here are a few photos from today’s trip to Bailey and beyond.

    Lazy Bull Ranch, west of Kenosha Pass
    South Park, a Park in the Mountains is a large flat section, High Plains, surrounded by Mountains. In this case the Continental Divide. This is BTW, The South Park. Hundreds of square miles. Looks like Minnesota west on Hwy 12
    A ranch further West of the Lazy Bull
    Kenosha Pass. 11,000 plus feet. Living here the Mountain Pass has become an important feature of driving. Did not understand how important before I moved here.