Rocky Mountain Highs
One month into our journey it is difficult to reconcile our exploration of new places, of America, of ourselves, and the selfish joy that it brings, with the news coming out of Ukraine. Right now we are far from the world, and far from the world we left at home.
So it is with some level of guilt that, perched high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, we have many of our own highs to account -- celebrating the engagement of Whit and Betsy, hosting them along with Emily and Rohan for a week in the mountains, celebrating Amy's birthday, celebrating nature and the outdoors.
Recently some friends asked if we had found our groove. Yes, we have gotten used to being on the road, but every twist and turn has revealed new perspectives and new milestones.
We were thrilled to celebrate Whit and Betsy's engagement with Betsy's family, who we met for the first time. We've been told these meetings can be awkward, but on this occasion, our first, we thoroughly enjoyed it. We felt we could easily become friends with Betsy's parents, and her sisters were delightful. Looking forward to getting to know them all much better!
The snowy Colorado landscape has provided an amazing venue for outdoor activities with our kids, their partners, and family members living nearby: Zach, Cecily, Vann and Marge. Hiking with Charlie on trails right behind where we're staying provided breath-taking views -- and a sense of space unlike anything we have experienced in the Northeast.
On Sunday we x-country skied to the famous Pine Creek Inn for lunch. Guided by Zach and Cecily and led by Whit and Betsy, we raced down icy slopes, climbed treacherous hills, and laughed at the comedy of errors that many of us performed. Rohan and Emily had the least experience but showed determination and pluck. One of the rewards was a special lunch to commemorate a day that Amy proclaimed was her best day ever.
Our homestay, which was high in the hills in Old Snowmass, provided some amazing wildlife experiences including a morning visit by a family of bobcats coming down the mountain. Charlie alerted us to their presence with her insistent barking as the day was breaking. While the youngest licked its paws after a recent meal, its mom or dad watched from a close distance, the other parent having moved on. I raced into the house to grab my zoom lens and was able to catch some of the activity on film.
It's been eye-opening to witness the different flora and fauna in this part of the country, and even the differences between the southwest and the mountainous west. Besides bobcat we've seen many mule deer, a longhorn sheep, and lots of elk tracks on the trails. Many birds were added to my personal inventory: Townsend's solitaire, western meadowlark, pinyon jay, stellar jay, Woodhouse's scrub-jay, Gamble's quail, black-beaked magpie, great-tailed grackle, mountain chickadee, mountain bluebird, western bluebird, bridled titmouse, juniper titmouse, bushtit, spotted towhee, Say's phoebe. Aspens, pinyon pines, ponderosa pines, alligator junipers, and sagebrush have stood out in the wintry landscape.
Last but not least we celebrated the birthday of a wonderful mother, a wonderful wife, a wonderful travel companion (and a wonderful skier!) In these dark days of war, maybe a little light for your day. Enjoy: