Turkey Time

Click the picture above to read more about our visit.

The Holidays are here…And we spent Thanksgiving on the road and in the air.  We headed East to spend time with family and friends and enjoy some good home cooking!  To burn off our Thanksgiving calories, a hike up to Brasstown Bald was in order.

Brasstown Bald is the highest mountain (4,784 feet) in Georgia; but pales in comparison to Colorado’s highest peak, Mt. Elbert – 14,433 feet.  Click here for more information about Brasstown Bald and its history.

Quiz Time — What is the highest mountain east of the Mississippi River?

Hello Fall!

Fall has arrived and in the mountains the Aspen leaves are changing from summer green to vibrant yellow and golds.  The Aspen leaves are strikingly different from the East coast’s mixture of deep red, orange and gold colors; but they are just as beautiful.

We took a weekend drive toward Estes Park to catch a glimpse of the Aspen golds and enjoy a little shopping in Estes.

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Fishing the North Platte River, CO

Labor Day weekend, where to go???  We decided to pack the Cruiser and head even further away from humanity to a more desolate area of the state, North Park, CO.  We took the scenic route: 70 West to Empire, 40 North through Winter Park and Granby and then North on 125 through Walden to the North Platte River.  We had not been here before, so we scouted out our surroundings.  We found the ramp area on the river where I wanted to start fishing, so we needed to find a camping spot nearby.  Luckily, there was a forest service/4×4 road about 2 miles south of the Wyoming state line and decided to head up and check it out.  We were so glad we did.  There were three primitive camping spots on the ridge overlooking Northgate Canyon, called Mahogany Spur.  Unsure whether we would find anything being Labor Day, we were very glad to have found this area.  After we decided on a spot, we headed back to the river, ate lunch and geared up.  Furry B was frisky as the weather was a beautiful 70 degrees and I couldn’t wait to get the waders on and get a pole in the water. 

“The North Platte River is a legend – a river that pioneers used to traverse portions of the west – where Indians hunted buffalo along its shores. It is also a legend for fishing. Known for its good fishing in Wyoming, it starts in northern Colorado. A portion of this river has the distinction of being both a Wild Trout and Gold Medal River.”  http://www.coloradofishing.net/ft_nplat.htm

K and Furry B headed down the trail next to the river; I got right in and started wading downstream.  I started off with a flourescent rooster tail and wasn’t having any luck.  Remembering reading something about orange being very good on this river,  I threw an orange Panther Martin on the line and after a few minutes, got a hit.  It was a small Brown Trout and the only one we got a picture of, as I was in the middle of the river and K was on the bank with Furry B.  We got him back in the water and I headed back out.  Caught a few more browns and then I spotted a nice sized rock down stream, so I worked my way towards it.  As I got closer I could see the other side of it and it created a nice pool.  I casted near the rock and a nice sized Rainbow took the bait.  I decided I should call it a day, as I had talked to the only two other fisherman I saw, one didn’t catch anything and the other only caught one.  I was ahead of the game and we needed to set up camp.

We headed back up the forest service road, pulled into camp and started setting up.  We sat around and enjoyed the scenery from the ridge: the Northgate Canyon and Medicine Bow Mountains to the east and Independence Mountain to our west.  Furry B wore himself out chasing all the chipmunks, which were in abundance.  The sun was going down, so we fired up the grill and made hotdogs along with blue cheese and bacon potato salad,which I thought was great!  K said it tasted like dirty socks, guess I like dirty socks…  As the sun went down, so did the temps.  We made a fire and turned in early.  When I got up with the sun rising over the mountains to the east, peaking in the tent window, it was 38 degrees.  K stayed in her warm sleeping bag and I got up to make some coffee.  We made a gourmet breakfast with scrambled eggs, mushrooms, asparagus and cheddar cheese, mmmmmm.  We were in no hurry to pack up, but we had passed a wildlife area coming in that we wanted to check out. 

After packing everything up, we headed south, back to Walden.  We took a detour on the right which was BLM area, McCallum Oil Field.  It began in 1926 and in 2007, North Park produced 96 thousand barrels of oil and 1.3 billion cubic feet (BCF) of natural gas from 153 wells.  Pretty vast area.  We also took drive through the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge.  We saw lots of pronghorn antelope, prairie dogs and a sneaky coyote.  As we were nearing town, we saw an antelope that was stuck in some barbed wire, we stopped to help and as I walked back to the truck to get some gloves, K was getting a better view of it and it got loose, yelled at us and ran off to join the herd that was about 200 yards away.  We fueled up in Walden and took a different route home, through Wyoming and then south into Denver.

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Cruise Moab 2011 – Saturday May 7th

This is an old event, but felt it was worthy of being added.  The Toyota Land Cruiser Association http://www.tlca.org/ chapter here in Colorado, called Rising Sun Four Wheel Drive Club of Colorado  http://www.risingsun4x4club.org/ hosts an annual event in Moab, Utah called “Cruise Moab”.  It is one of the largest TLCA events and brings together Toyota enthusiasts from all over the country.  It is a week-long event, which includes trail rides, camping, vendors night and a dinner.  I was only able to go for two days because of our recent move to CO.  We met up at the campground on Saturday and headed out on the Poison Spider Mesa Trail.  It was a 10 mile trail full of rock crawling, sand pits and unbelievable scenery.

Aspen, Maroon Bells, & Independence Pass

ROAD TRIP….

We enjoyed our Memorial Day Weekend with an overnight visit to Aspen.  We didn’t ski, but believe or not the slopes were still open.  It was almost 90 degrees on Sunday and skiers were headed up the slopes in their shorts and t-shirts.

Aspen is a beautiful town, but based on the real estate prices and the price of Starbucks hot cocoa, I doubt we will be parking our private jet there anytime soon!  The downtown area is right beside the slopes and is full of upscale shopping and sidewalk eateries.

Within just a few minutes drive of Aspen is a beautiful gift from mother nature….Maroon Bells.  The 14,000 feet mountains were formed from hematite, an iron bearing mineral; hence the name “Maroon.”  We had a planned a hike near the bottom of the mountains, but it was cold and extremely windy.

We spent the night in Carbondale (about 20 miles from Aspen) and headed home on Monday via Independence Pass, which had opened just a couple days prior.  The snow pack is 200% above normal this year; which means at higher elevations there is still lots of snow on the ground.

Welcome to Colorado!

After 30 years of Southern Living, this Georgia peach has headed West.  Colorado is now our new home and we plan to discover everything this beautful state has to offer.  With an abundance of “Open Space,” there are endless opportunities for hiking, biking, and just enjoying the great outdoors.

What I have learned so far from one week of living in Colorado:

  1. Colorado’s nickname is the Centennial State.
  2. Arvada, Colorado is the celery capital of the world.
  3. Mayfield milk is not sold here. 😦
  4. Everyone has a dog!  (Furry B will be making lots of friends!)
  5. There are over 10,000 miles of hiking trails.
  6. I have moved to Colorado during the 8th rainiest month on record.
  7. Bananas ripen slower.
  8. A 20 mile drive can start at 65 degrees with sunny skies and end with one feet of snow on the ground.
  9. There are 53 mountains standing at over 14,000 feet high.  Here is a list of all 53.
  10. The world’s first rodeo was held on July 4, 1869 in Deer Trail, Colorado.

Please follow JKB as we explore Colorado one adventure at a time….