|Windy Ridge Lake|
It took my breath away!
Well, apparently it is a "treasure" hunting game that uses GPS to find things that other people have hidden. When you find the geocache stash, you sign the log book, then you can either take the booty and replace it with something else or leave the original item for the next seeker. Here's the link. http://www.geocaching.com/
When my brother explained it to us, it sounded either like a giant scavenger hunt played with strangers or like a Harry Potter port key. The port keys were always something that looked like a bit of old rubbish, a single tennis shoe, a tuna can, a baby's pacifier. Once found, port keys allowed multiple people to apparate together at a specific time.
Either way, it sounded intriguing! So Wednesday morning most of the group set off to find some geocaches hidden around Alma. Mother and I, both exhausted by our marathon of a day on Tuesday, decided to stay at the cabin. Around lunch time they came back with their faces lit up and words spilling out of their mouths. They hadn't found a geocache, instead they found something much better. Back behind Alma there was a dirt road, a very rough dirt road, that led to narrow deep valley. In the valley we found a beautiful little alpine lake and at the end of the rocky road a private camping ground with numerous hiking trails. Some of the trails, we discovered, led to the top of the 14ers that surrounded the valley. After scouting it out, we decided to take the whole family in SUV the next day.
Thursday morning we emptied everything out of the Highlander and piled all eight of us into it's interior. We had to stow the kids into the very back area, the part that was intended for luggage and groceries. Not exactly legal, but... My brother drove us into Alma and turned at the street next to the minuscule mining museum. The paved street quickly petered out and became red dirt...then red dirt and rocks...then big rocks...then BIG rocks...then small boulders! To say it was a bumping ride would be an understatement.
Oh!!! But it was worth it!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGC1UjVJ99I We snapped endless pictures of the lake, of each other by the lake, and of the mountains reflected in the lake. Once again, we became nature paparazzi.
After a while, we piled back into the Highlander and bounced down the road to a beautiful spot further down in the valley. There was a turn off close to a rapid mountain stream where two fields of wildflowers enveloped the trail. We only thought we had seen beautiful flowers before we came to this meadow. The flowers here spendiforous! How's that for an adjective? Wild lavender lined the trail! We found flowers that none of us had ever seen before. Who knows? Maybe no one had ever seen some of those flowers before!
|"If I had a day that I could give to you...|
I'd give to you a day just like today."
Although we were spread out, we were all keeping track of each other in that subconscious way that families develop. That's why we all heard the alarm cry. Somehow, older nephew and middle niece had made their way to the other side of the river. Coming back was more complicated. The water ran fast, deceptively deep, and ice cold. They decided that it would be safer to take off their shoes to wade back to the other side. Oops! Almost immediately, the water gods demanded their first sacrifice of the the day and took one of middle niece's tennis shoes. Sister-in-law tried to save the shoe and instead gave the river her sunglasses, and almost herself. I saw flashes of headlines in our hometown newspapers. "North Texas Family's Tragic Loss in Colorado." Instead of "Sunshine On My Shoulders" I was hearing "Ride of the Valkyries." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGU1P6lBW6Q&feature=related
|"The water is wide. I can't cross o'er.|
An neither have I wings to fly.
Build me a boat that will carry two
and both shall row, my love and I."
Danger averted, we decided it was time for lunch. Once more we got back into the SUV and my brother carefully steered us over and around the largest rocks to the campground at Kite's Lake. Think about the most beautiful parts of the Lord of the Rings movies, that's how beautiful this place was. The campground sat at the base of four 14'ers: Mount Cameron, Mount Democrat, Mount Bross, and Mount Lincoln. There's a line in John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High" that I kept hearing in my mental sound track. "He talked to God and listened to His casual reply." It was that kind of place! So peaceful! If you've been to Colorado, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't been, get up right now and GO! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZiL1PMF3xA&feature=related
It was a glorious day!
Around four we had had all the fun we could stand, so we piled ourselves and our booty of shiny rocks and wildflowers back into the Highlander for the return trip. We thought our adventure was over, BUT WE WERE WRONG!
Just as we came off the dirt road and back into Alma, a mountain man in a pick-up flagged us down. "Brother, you've got a flat tire," he told my brother. And, then it started to rain. Not just a little rain. Cats and Dogs. Buckets. A Gully Washer.
So picture this. Eight people crammed into an SUV. Stranded in a town of less than 300. No garage anywhere in town. Middle niece still with only one shoe. Serious Rain!
I paniced a little.
|"Men, men, men, men, manly men, men, men..."|
Truly they were our saviors.
The guys couldn't change the tire with all of us sitting in the car. It was raining too hard to just get out. What to do? What to do? Suddenly, we remembered Al-Mart! Alma doesn't have a Wal-Mart, but they do have Al-Mart. We dashed as quick as we could with shoeless Joe in tow and shamelessly left the guys to change the tire in the rain.
Al-Mart was like a beacon in the night, a lighthouse signaling us to safety and a bathroom and diet coke and chocolate! It was about the size of the shoe department of a Wal-Mart and filled with all the stuff you really need. Rice, water, coffee, cans of beans, small containers of Parmesean cheese, gourmet Italian beef, gold panning pans, and serious mountain man clothes. No flip flops, though. Poor niece!
|Al-Mart - where you can buy |
aspirin, under armor, and art.
We love you!
Notice the 14er in the background? We're about to go climb it.
Wow! Snow in late July!
The only varmits up there were us and the marmots.
The best picture award goes to my sister-in-law for this shot of her reflection
in Windy Ridge Lake.
On top of the world!
If anyone knows what these beautiful bells are, please comment below!
The same goes for these darlin's. I couldn't tell you the name of any of them.