A day in place, of not moving down the road.
The above two pictures are of mountains in view from the parking lot of the Dillon Inn.
Dillon, CO sits at 9,111' above sea level. Mountains tower around the town and this is a big ski area. Yuliya, my contact at Colorado Mountain College, told me that there's competition by the local ski resorts to be the first to open. Whoever does, they are also the first ski resort in the whole country to open. This area sits along the continental divide and some of the mountains in the area reach to over 14,000' elevation.
Late morning I headed over to the college to meet Yuliya. She is the librarian for the college. This is strictly an on-line library. She works out of an office and there are no stacks and shelves of books available. She's been in the position for 12 years and this seems to be the trend nowadays. On-line classes, on-line libraries, on-line everything. My reading in the evening wasn't going to be on-line, just a plain old-fashioned in person experience.
Rain and snow were predicted for the afternoon so after visiting with Yuliya I headed out for a short hike on a nearby trail. Was good to get out on foot. Other than when I've been camping, I've spent very little time in nature. Was good to get a mix of people and the outdoors today.
Dillon Lake and the dark clouds bringing in the rain and snow.
The hike started out on an old road. Colorful aspen trees and snow-capped mountains. Not bad scenery.
More of the view.
A fallen aspen leaf.
Low clouds moving in. The hike was all uphill. A little tiring being well above 9,000' but I managed ok.
Got this nice picture of what I believe is a juvenile Redtail Hawk. It flew above me for a couple of minutes before heading away.
Mountain Bluebird nesting box. Saw a pair of them but couldn't get a decent picture.
Another scenic view while on the hike.
Back at the car Magpie was calling out a storm.
A wonderful two hour hike. Cold at times, then spits of rain, then sunshine and warmth, then back to gray and cold. Mountain weather.
It did snow later in the afternoon, dusting the ground and more up in the mountains.
The reading at the college went very well. 19 people attended and again, as always it seems, a very good reception to what I presented. And again, we spoke about maybe returning in the future.
A couple of folks were from upstate NY. One of them, Tim, lives near Utica and is interested in coming to my final reading in Corning on November 17. We talked a bit and they invited me for dinner tomorrow night at a restaurant in Breckenridge, 15 miles or so from here. I think I'll take them up on that and spend one more day in place, one more day in Colorado.
After the reading Yuliya and I went out to dinner, my meal compliments of the college. Good food, pleasant conversation. Yuliya was born in Belarus and came over to the states with her family when she was 16. Interesting to hear some of her stories about what that experience was like.
A good day in Dillon and one more ahead of me in the high mountains near the continental divide.
One more day in Dillon, CO. Another hike and then a wonderful five hours of food, beverages, conversation and music in nearby Breckenridge.
I took about an hour and a half hike on North Tenmile Creek Trail.
The creek, constantly in hearing range if not in view.
Some of the scenery.
As I hiked into higher and woodier ground I encountered
some of yesterday's snow.
These coiled rods ran parallel and near the creek for
quite a ways. Some kind of remnant from the old mining days.
In Breckenridge. I drove around for awhile, never
having really been in a mountain ski village before.
This was one of many lodges, condominiums etc.
This gondola was right in the town of Breckenridge, at a parking
lot just across from Main Street.
At 4 PM I met Heather, her husband Ray and their friend, Tim at the Blue River Bistro on Main Street, Breckenridge. They attended my reading last night and invited me to dinner with them.
Ray is originally from upstate New York and Tim still lives there. Tim and Ray have been friends since high school and go on various adventures together pretty much every year. One of their big ones was climbing Denali in Alaska. Last night at the reading they came up with a new adventure to pursue - to bicycle the length of US 20 when they are 60 years old. I can't imagine where that idea came from! They told me that once an idea comes to them they usually end up doing it.
Heather has just recently started going to school again to get a nursing degree. She's worked as a physical trainer for a long time but always wanted to be a nurse. So, back to school.
She also told me that when they were hiking today she actually took time to just "be" for awhile. Usually she's a go, go, go kind of person. But, because of my reading last night she decided to let the guys go on she just took it easy and even stopped. When she did, observing what's around, she ended up creating a few lines of poetry (yes, those were lines of poetry Heather!)
The bistro had live music happening that night and Heather invited Mark, a blues musician, over to the table for a drink during one of his breaks. Good conversation with him. Originally from near Minneapolis he came out here 20 years ago because of the skiing and has been here ever since. He mentioned how writing blues lyrics is a little like haiku, not knowing I write a a lot of haiku. Later, when the bistro was a little quiter, I asked him to play one of his original songs. He played Miner's Blues and in it he mentioned an old abandoned mining town that Heather and the guys hiked by earlier that day.
Oh, the food. It was wonderful. I ordered something I only used to dream about catching back in my teen years when I was in Buffalo, trout fished and read Field and Stream and Sports Afield: Arctic Char. It was superb.
Mark Schlaefer. A really good blues player.
Ray, Tim, me and Heather and the end of a terrific evening.
Now, onto Santa Fe tomorrow to visit for the weekend with friends.
Three nights at the Dillon Inn
when I had only originally intended to spend one their, the complimentary one the College gave me. But it was a good stay, a pleasant place.
Just before leaving a young boy was outside in the parking lot with a football. I asked him to throw it to me and we played catch for about 10 minutes. Jakob, is 11 years-old and the grandson of the owner, Jack. We eventually got our timing down and made some good catches in full stride. A good receiver.
Before leaving I left him with a haiku:
near snow-capped mountains
football flies through morning air
Jakob makes great catch
When I said good-bye to his grandfather, Jack, I mentioned that this is it, I'm really leaving this time. The only thing that will keep me here is a car problem.
So, as I start to pull out of the parking lot something felt not right. A flat tire! I put in some fix-a-flat and Jack brought out the air compressor. We filled it up and I was able to drive to a tire store in Frisco a few miles away. They were able to fix the puncture, an embedded double-headed nail, head side in first, and I was able to move on down the road, hours later than I had intended. They were extremely busy so I had a long wait. But the tire has held up well and shouldn't be a problem. I just have to be a little more careful about the words I use.
So, I was much delayed in my drive down to Santa Fe. Instead of a leisurely ride, stopping here and there along the way, I pushed it a bit and still didn't get to my friend's place until after dark.
Along the way heading south in Colorado on Co 91.
Climax, CO. Used to be a mining village here. It was the highest
human settlement in the US. Now there's an operating mine and
ben selling Climax Jerky. That's it.
This mine first started in 1915. Closed for awhile, it reopened again
in 2012. Molybdenum is used in steel production.
Mt. Ebert, highest peak in the Rocky Mountains at 14,400'.
This view from US 24 in Colorado.
Water towers in Antonito, Co.
Moon over Mary's house in Santa Fe.
So, now out of the mountain west and into the southwest for the
next six days. Here, Albuquerque and Flagstaff. All new
geography for me.