Sunday, March 23, 2014

view from durango winter walks

from the small gauge train tracks to the animas mountain overlook and dalla mountain bouldering...lots of good trails were explored. 

scats and tracks

so much good tree bark to explore...with tree book in hand

Friday, March 21, 2014

road trippin Silverton to Canyonlands part two: to Canyon country!

Winter wildlife sitings to date: 6 bald eagles! these guys were so regal. 
2 big horn sheep! 2 coyotes.

Canyonlands is so quiet in February. 
With a closed visitors center we stumbled upon our first stop: Murphy Trailhead at Big Island in the Sky, so named because it is a large mesa 2000 feet above the Colorado and Green rivers. The White rim you see below is about 1000 feet below the mesa. At the trailhead you have no clue of the amazing cliff edge to explore at it's terminus. 

vast. layered. a color palate so grounded. geology revealed

loving the botanical curiosities. the desert is still so new to me. 
love the pinon pine cones and mormon tea--so aquatic and succulent.

The Green River. 
so much to get lost in. macro and micro 

blackbrush? Coleogyne ramosissima perhaps?  Yes, I'm so obsessed with the plants I saw there I'm ready and willing to go Latin. 

unfounded fear of the cold night camping sent us into Moab (a strange little strip of a town...where even at the brewery you'll find mostly 3.2% beers, a great gear store with free water and a solid cafe, in spite of or because of the name, Wake & Bake cafe, delicious, cheap, and lots of veggie options.) Day two we scrambled around Needles via the Big Spring Canyon to Squaw Canyon trail. My camera battery was we planned another trip :)...but wouldn't have taken many photos as this particular loop trail was a true scramble, it says that "it may make people with a fear of heights uncomfortable" I can confirm. But I made it, and it was totally worth it. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

road trippin Silverton to Canyonlands. Part 1: Silverton to Ouray

Skijoring in Silverton! Not to be missed. One of the two main streets in town is closed down for the day and cowboys and skiers hang out side by side cheering on the skijorners. 

View from Ouray Perimeter Trail. The mountains between SIlverton and Ouray are, simply, amazing. 

Had a good time with these ones from the Bay!

The lowdown on Silverton: DO go if you can, beautiful hikes. and stop at Avalanche for pizza and a beer.

And Ouray: 
... by the numbers 7760 ft, 843 people, 10 churches!  
... do go to the city pool and park, which are actually a hot springs and an ice climbing park respectively go to Ourayle House/Mr. Grumpy Pants Brewery. How could you not?
...good food is hard to find, espcially in winter. 
...finally the Ouray brewery isn't worth the visit, beer's okay but the food isn't worth the price. I hear good things about the Beaumont Grill. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

where I'm wintering

Durango Colorado, town of about 18,000 nestled at 6000 ft in the beautiful red rock layered Animas River Valley with 10,000-14,000 foot mountains sparkling around us. Four delicious micro-breweries, and infinite trails to explore on foot, mountain bike, or snow gear. From my limited stay here I can only say that people live to be outdoors, probably a comment sentiment throughout Colorado, but it is an ethos here like no other.

the animas valley, I haven't gotten a good photo to really reflect it's beauty yet, but I love the way the snow looks on the layers of red rocks...


I traded in my knee high leather boots for hiking boots, my bicycle for a car, two actually, and three housemates for a three bedroom condo community. I traded in the sound of the muni and light rail rattling my house that become unheard background noise, for quiet. My dreams peppered with the soothing sound of the auto bus lady's voice saying "24 diveeeesadero" followed by the beeps of the clipper card reader with each passenger. And now, such quiet! I traded in bi-weekly trips to the farmers market for trips to 3 markets by car trying to find the best produce...I'm learning about animal tracks and the many different sounds that snow makes underfoot (and as winter turns to spring, I'm learning about the sounds of real mud). I'm learning how important it is to me to get outside and hike everyday.    

I'm learning that the local food movement may be nascent here, but it is thriving. Fruit grafting classes, a new regional seed library, community meetings and meals to push forward regional food solutions, raw milk co-ops, a great Edible San Juan publication, and young 30-something farmers putting in winter greenhouses (check this out, pretty cool). There's even a new city competition for increasing personal use of transit and organically maintained city parks.

I miss the Bay so much, sometimes it feels just wrong to not be able to walk out my front door to get whatever I need or to meet a dear friend for a beer or hop on my bike to the ocean, but this has been an awesome place to stay awhile. To take a breath, and reassess.  

Loving these photos

Especially as an Iyengar devotee, I'm loving these photos from the NYT:

Orthodox Form

CreditMichal Chelbin/Institute, for The New York Times

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Mystery solved! The tale of the Galloping Goose

A quick gas station stop in Dolores was my first Galloping Goose sighting--I saw this adorable building across the street and ran over to explore more..

I had no idea this was one of eight galloping goose trains ever made...and that it was a theme for the towns ahead. I kept seeing things named the Galloping Goose as we made our way to Telluride. Hiking trails, transit systems. What was with the Goose?

It turns out that these Geece are a special flock of auto/trains: they have car engines in them! They were very small trains built to transport passengers and stuff through the little mining towns (rico, dolores, durango, telluride, ridgway) of the San Juan Mountains from about 1931-early 1950s. It helped keep many of these towns going through the Depression. Why Galloping Goose? The air vents open like wings on the trains and the horns sounded like a Goose call. That's the story anyway. 

The hiking trail? It follows the path of the old rail line that was sold for scrap after the trains stopped running. It's a beautiful one to check out in the snow. 

Catching up continues: Finley snowdown

As it feels like winter is turning into spring here, it's good to look over these wintry photos. We may get a last gasp of a storm this weekend, fingers crossed! 

When the Finley's where here it was Durango's snowdown festival (this year's theme Safari's so Good--the whole town comes out for the parade an there's everything from kids activities all weekend to booty-shakin contests) and we got some good snow too. 

Cascade Creek snow shoe! The snow is melting fast there now...

Such good food too! Here's the beginnings of Roy's famous paper bag fry technique, it works on spring morels well and now I've discovered it's amazing on tofu! 

We had delicious stir fry, frittata with a few delicious Turtle Creek veggies, NM hatch green chili's capturing a bit of last summer's heat making appearances in everything including Kate's black bean and sweet potato enchiladas! Nanci's cherry pies and a serous Super Bowl appetizer feast of BBQ Tofu w/ Ben's Red Hot, curried sweet potater-tots, home-made nacho cheese dip. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Inspired by: brain pickings and mastery

Why have I let reading this blog go until recently? (still suffering from the demise of Reader I suppose...sniff.) The blog is so good. Really love this article about mastery and failure. This quote resonates:  'Mastery is not merely a commitment to a goal, but to a curved-line, constant pursuit.' 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Road trippin from the Durango home base: 1. Telluride

Roy and Kate were the first visitors, and they were ready to road trip to Telluride! As I'm getting used to this whole reality of driving everywhere I see the benefit in a good road trip.

We followed the amazingly beautiful Dolores River valley (an unusual river that flows both south and north) 

Through tiny towns like Rico that mining and railroads built but with strong histories of Native American settlement and displacement still vivid in the placenames like Ute Mountain. (PS: how amazing the Rico website for a town of about 300?)

Contrary to popular thought, retail herb is not to be found in every Colorado town. It is slowly being developed city by city. As you can imagine the big ski towns are the first to have these candy stores. And wow. What a trip. These are extraordinary times. 

Super quaint! 

While the ski lift is literally in downtown Telluride, we hit the slopes via snowshoe and cross country ski's just outside of town at Lizard Head Pass. 

This trip, the Galloping Goose followed us from the old train in Dolores to the transit stations in Telluride. A good mystery to track down...