“It’s better to burn out than to rust.” Neil Young
Carol writes: Since we started the full-time lifestyle on the road a little over two years ago, we have come back to Colorado every spring for checkups with our medical providers. I had a sneaky feeling that scheduling an entire year’s worth of medical appointments within a 3-week period would turn out to be lunacy…and for us this year, it was! Note to self: We shall not do it that way next year! But, thankfully, no major health issues cropped up, and by the end of June we felt like we had been given:
Blessing #1—Good health that would allow us freedom for another year on the road.
|Air Force Academy Chapel|
Our monthlong stay at the Air Force Academy family campground was a nostalgic one, as this setting had been part of our “big backyard” for over 25 years. Between appointments, we got lots of miles on our trackers while hiking on Academy grounds.
Near the iconic cadet chapel, this newish display, which to us appeared to symbolize the tail fin of a plane, was most impressive in style and design, and complimentary to that of the chapel.
Blessing #2—The chance to get together with good friends and catch up on each other’s busy lives. A meal with good friends Maria and Dick, at our favorite Mexican restaurant at Monument’s La Fiesta,
was as delicious, as always. An outdoor live music concert in Monument’s Limbach Park
with Maria and Dick put a nice touch on our last week back in the ole former hometown.
Likewise, dinner at Red Lobster with Bob & Corrie and Dan & Susan was a memorable time with special friends... (Who has this group photo on their phone?)
We did some spring cleaning while in the Springs by taking the opportunity to reorganize our storage compartments and transfer a carload of unnecessary “stuff” to our storage unit.
And for those who are familiar with our former Highview homestead, we couldn’t resist another drive-by to get a look at that monster garage that now occupies much of the front yard. Not exactly an improvement in our opinion…
Unpleasant medical concerns aside, it was now time to head up into the mountains to get a healthy dose of an outstanding Colorado summer. We found a convenient KOA Campground on the outskirts of Gunnison.
Interesting events go on around a campground over the Fourth of July weekend, such as daily morning hot-air balloon ascents like this one that mysteriously touched down very near our campsite.
Surfers in wet suits on the nearby Gunnison River were a first for us.
We found the nighttime astronomy show at the Gunnison Valley Observatory mildly interesting with views of Jupiter and its moons through the 30-inch telescope,
in addition to our first-ever view of Saturn through a smaller telescope.
Hiking up to the Dillon Pinnacles
with its view overlooking Blue Mesa Reservoir reminded us why we fell in love with the Colorado high country.
On another hike up to Lost Lake
we delighted in fields of fabulous Colorado wildflowers in full bloom, surrounded by majestic mountain views.
We had heard reports that snowfall in the mountains had been particularly good this past winter, and the profusion of wildflowers that we saw was certainly evidence of that. We have never seen such spectacular meadows of yellow mule ears and blue lupins.
For true lovers of the Colorado high country, 4-wheeling is the way to go. Our Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk did just fine for the level of difficulty we felt comfortable attempting.
A visit to the old mining community of Tincup was an adventure from the very outset when we ran into a cattle drive right along the road!
In addition to jeep 4-wheelers, it was obvious that ATV enthusiasts play a big part in the success of Tincup’s summer economy.
Over one hundred-year-old picture-perfect buildings made interesting photography easy…
Leaving Tincup over 12,000 ft Cumberland Pass provided spectacular vistas
so much a part of central Colorado, and gave us an opportunity to snap some fresh Facebook profile pics.
One of our favorite side trips from base camp in Gunnison was the charming hippie ski town of Crested Butte, which had its fair share of trendy yoga studios,
beautifully restored historic buildings, like stately City Hall,
and nicely revived residences.
We hiked part of a perimeter trail around the town, which continues to thrive as a premier ski resort at the base of Mt. Crested Butte.
And, of course, there were those fields of wildflowers which provided foreground to the million-dollar views for some of Crested Butte’s uber-wealthy residents,
plus more opportunities for vanity shots of our own.
Wow! That was a busy two weeks! It felt great to be back in Colorado with all that fantastic hiking and towering mountain scenery. We felt more than satisfied with all of our adventures to date in the opening chapter of our much-anticipated Colorado summer.
“The farther one gets into the wilderness, the greater is the attraction of its lonely freedom.” President Theodore Roosevelt