Monday, February 16, 2009

February in Colorado

It's been a long time since I last posted. I guess sometimes, life gets in the way. At the end of January, I enjoyed a trip to southern Illinois to visit my newest niece, Sophie, who was born on Christmas Eve.
Me with Nora & Sophie

Last week, I caught the moon setting over Pikes Peak one morning:

Finally, we had some heavy fog on Saturday morning, leaving the trees and grass with a beautiful frosting:

Monday, December 22, 2008

Thanksgiving trip continued

To continue to recap my trip at Thanksgiving:
On Friday morning, my immediate family (with families) all met at the zoo. We enjoyed our time there. Nora especially enjoyed the penguins. Here are pics of Nora with the goats and Joshua & Nora together (note how close they are in size though they are 2 1/2 years apart in age):

After the zoo we met at St. Louis Bread Co (Panera everywhere else) for lunch and then back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding.
My cousin Greg married Amy in a beautiful ceremony. We all had lots of fun partying at the reception, too.
Cousins! Karen, Jill, Me & Laura

The happy couple

Laurie, Amy, Greg, Kristin & Todd

Monday, December 15, 2008

Busy season

It's been so long since I posted, that I'm not sure where to start, but since I'm putting a link to this blog in my Christmas cards again, I figured I better get something up here. Welcome to those who are visiting for the first time! I do much better during hiking season with getting frequent updates.

Over the week of Thanksgiving, I travelled back to Leavenworth for a few days and then on to St. Louis for cousin Greg's wedding and finally to Illinois for a little time with the Woods. I'll start the trip in this post and finish it in the next one or two.

Since Mom & Dad were working on the Monday after I got home, I took advantage of some nice fall weather to go hiking in Missouri and finish up a series of geocaches that I had started a year and a half earlier. My nine mile hike took me all over Weston Bend State Park and into the town of Weston, MO. Here are a couple of pictures from my hike of a question mark butterfly and a view of the Missouri River:

On Thanksgiving Day, Mom & Dad and I drove to St. Louis where we had family Thanksgiving Dinner at the Mueller's church with about 50 people - all related somehow (mostly). Cousin Matt prepared all the food and it was delicious!

Mom (grandma) with the twins.

I'll get picks from the rest of the trip up soon!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Daddy's little girl

Watching a baby gorilla grow up in its family group is very exciting and entertaining, but one of the best things has been watching Tumani's relationship with her father, Rafiki. This guy weighs about 475 pounds and has the strength of at least 6 men, but he can play with Tumani with such gentleness. It may not always look gentle when he's flipping her around and "wrestling" with her in such a way that she probably thinks she's winning, but it is. His powerful jaws that can easily crack nuts and chew up tough vegetation can playfully mouth her tiny belly, tickling her and sending her into gales of gorilla laughter. Yes, gorillas do laugh, orangutans, too, actually, but gorillas laugh audibly. You have to be really close to hear it, but it is one of the coolest sounds in the world.

These pictures will also appear soon in CMZ's new blog (link on the lower right on my blog page)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Last hike?

The thing about hiking in Colorado this time of year is you never know when it's going to be the last mountain hike of the season. Sure, there are plenty of places in town where you can do a winter hike without much snow, but when it comes to hiking on a mountain, once the snows come there will be places where it won't melt until spring (or even summer). So with temperatures last Monday close to 70°, I planned a hike with some altitude. There are several geocaches on top of Blodgett Peak which is on the northwest edge of Colorado Springs. I've been wanting to get up there for years, so on Monday that's just what Sherrie and I attempted.

We went up over 1000 feet in elevation in almost 2 1/2 hours of hiking and were within 450ft of the next geocache, but I had to be somewhere by 6pm, so we had to head back down. That 450 feet was also across a boulder field that would have taken a long time to cross. The "trail" we were on was probably at least a 45° incline. Here's a pic of Sherrie coming up part of that slope:

The really bad part about that slope was that we had to come back down. My knee is still recovering. We met a guy with two dogs coming up just as we turned back. He had been to the top before on the real trail. He described how to get there, so next time we'll go that way.
We still found 6 geocaches and enjoyed some very nice views. The weather must have been perfect for flying, because there were plenty Air Force Academy training gliders in the sky.
Here is the view toward the south, including Cheyenne Mountain way in the distance from one of the caches:

Here is a pic of an AFA glider in tow and then 2 pics of the glider overhead:

So, I don't know how many more hikes I'll get in this year, but it's supposed to be in the 30s and maybe snowy next Monday.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Poor Dog! (+ some other stuff)

Yesterday, while I was scratching Logan's incredibly soft ears, I noticed that one of them was swollen. He had a hematoma on his ear. I called Em to see what I needed to do, and she advised me to take him in to the vet today, and that he'd probably need minor surgery to fix it. He didn't need surgery, at least not yet. They drained the hematoma, bandaged the ear and fitted him with an Elizabethen collar. He is quite miserable with the collar on and needs to wear it for a week. Draining it was about $400 cheaper than the surgery, so hopefully it will work! Here's Logan in his collar:

We've had some cold weather and winter can't be far away, so very soon I won't have any insects to photograph. Is it wrong that I'm already looking forward to spring? I did get a good photo of a Painted Lady this week (and a fly):

One last photo is of the pumpkin that I carved for Boo at the Zoo:

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bee mine

I just wanted to make a quick post to show off this picture of a bee that I took yesterday while caching in Monument Valley Park.

It's a female long-horned bee (Svastra obliqua). I only got this one shot before it took off, so I was pleased to see how clear a shot I got, and I love the color of the flower and the bee.