Spring Has Sprung…Get On Out There and Have Fun!

It’s baseball season! My father was a player and a fan, as well as a lover of everything wild. He passed away two years ago, the day before Earth Day, listening to his wife and three other women talking about the Colorado Rockies, as he lay peacefully at home. Our most memorable times together were attending baseball games and taking road trips.

He knew how much I loved to explore, and joined in on some of my trips.

He left this life with a smile on his face, just like the one I captured above on our trip to visit the Wild Animal Sanctuary, in Keenesbury, Colorado.

 

 

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He wore his new baseball themed Keep Your Fork Kit proudly!

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A tiger at the Wild Animal Sanctuary soaking in the cool water, in the warm sun.

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Evening games at Coors Field, with the sunsets, are spectacular!

Celebrate spring in the Rockies by getting outside, alone or with friends and family, to enjoy all the world has to offer.

 

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In Maybell, a town in Northwestern Colorado, cowboys move a herd of wild horses to greener pastures.

 

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No matter how old, a day in the desert will sooth your soul.

As the days get warmer, the snow melts and the ground softens.

This is a great time to get outside and hunt for natural treasures. Lee Mestas turned his love of rocks into a business, when he opened High Country Rock & Gems, in Glenwood Springs.

He no longer owns the store, but he still hunts for rocks.

 

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There are a lot of opportunities to put your love of the outdoors to good use, for others.

Protecting the Greater Canyonlands is a cause worth contributing to.

 

Is there something you really care a lot about?

 

Do you have a favorite hobby in the outdoors?

 

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A match made in heaven!

Sometimes it’s easier, and more fun, to get outside and enjoy a walk or a bike ride with a dog.

My friend Anne takes her dog for a ride on the beach in Florida.

He enjoys this as much as running, and she gets a bit more exercise with his added weight.

 

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Do you know a dog who needs a walk?

Have you considered offering to walk your neighbor’s dog, or volunteering at the local animal shelter? The Roaring Fork Valley has a very special place for homeless animals.

Consider donating or volunteering at Colorado Animal Rescue (CARE).

 

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Learn something new that will take you to beautiful places, like the Maroon Bells. 

I recently won a free, half-day fly fishing lesson by renewing my membership to the Wilderness Workshop.

Since I live on the Roaring Fork River, I’ll take full advantage of this lesson. The Carbondale Recreation Center offers year-round recreation lessons and activities for youth.

Learn now, and enjoy these activities for a lifetime!

 

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There’s nothing better on a hot day than soaking in cool water, with friends.

I’ve explored a little bit of the Roaring Fork River I live near, and have found a couple swimming holes.

Be safe, and stay out of the river currents.

And, never go alone! It’s always more fun with friends!

 

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Take a walk in the woods with your mother.

Spending time with your family, in the outdoors, offers an opportunity to connect with loved ones in new ways.

Leave the iPod and iPhone at home.

Bring some water and a snack, wear a hat, and take a slow stroll while getting to know each other better.

It’s never to late to reconnect with those you love, and doing it outside, with few distractions will make it more meaningful.

Enjoy your spring!

 

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More and Bigger Isn’t Always Better

The American Dream: get a college degree and a high paying job. Meet the love of your life, get married, buy a house, have some kids, and retire young enough to enjoy your grandchildren and travel the world….

I think I believed in that dream until I hit 30, when I had that degree in education plus a teaching license under my belt, but was more interested in wandering the country working at odd jobs in order to support my addiction to adventure. Now, at 52, I am still dreaming of all the places I’ll go, and all the people I’ll meet. I’ve started my own blog, Journeys Out Yonder, with the goal of telling others about the great places and people I’ve met on my road trips.

But, backing up a bit, I did dabble in the marriage and home ownership realm of the American Dream. Soon to turn 40, I felt it was time to go big! I had been living in little, above-the-garage, apartments, trailers, rented rooms, and even in the boiler room of Forest Service housing, exchanging a day of work per week for a free room. As I was turning 40, I met a man who fell in love with me pretty hard, and quickly. Within 6 months I was taking the leap. I had the best wedding EVER!

My wedding spawned a bigger dream...Ski Skirts

My wedding spawned a bigger dream…Ski Skirts

On top of Arrowhead ski area, wearing an elegant boiled wool skirt and coat from Geiger, I married a man who was into me enough to wear ski boots and ski down the mountain after our wedding vows. We played house for a few years, buying one and fixing it up to his liking. To “his liking”….this is where bigger was getting really bad, for me. Our life centered around “his liking”, which was in the line of bigger is better. He wanted children. I didn’t. He spent thousands of dollars on big TV’s, big trucks, and big vacations. I spent money on good, healthy food. I volunteered in local schools, and started an after-school program for local youth. I taught avalanche safety courses, cross country and downhill skiing, in exchange for services and products. My time was spent exchanging my gifts with others, benefiting from their skills and becoming empowered by sharing my own. I wasn’t making more money, personally, but I was creating deep friendships and was developing a deep love and appreciation for the new community I had moved to with my husband.

 

Free to ski in elegance and beauty

The bigger house, TV, trucks and vacations didn’t make a difference to me during my marriage. I was scared to leave, because I now wasn’t so sure I could support myself, and didn’t know where I would go. I lost my mojo! Me, the life-long adventurer, was stuck. I made one phone call, to a friend back in Colorado, and immediately found my groove again.

When I took off, and left him to fend for myself. I found a job and a small cabin in the woods outside of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. My two cats and I lived peacefully, and simply.

Then, realizing the money I’d saved for years was burning a hole in my bank account, and it was time to prove I’d “made it”, I started looking for a house to buy. I was still in the mindset that bigger is better. I had moved into a full-time teaching job, which would continue to pay more each year, including getting a masters degree, and I still had the dream of meeting the man of my dreams who would share in the cost of my home. I bought that dream house in January of 2008. It was everything I’d dreamed of in a home.

A Home of My Own

A Home of My Own

A couple months before the current economic downturn, my school district discovered an error they made in my contracted salary. My salary was reduced, making it more important for me to get my masters degree to increase my salaray. Five years later I had that degree, but had resigned from my teaching job, and I was still paying my mortgage alone. Bigger wasn’t better, for long!

A place to call my own.

The big job teaching in a public school conflicted with my own beliefs and training in education. I started my masters degree, and the more I learned about equity in education, the more I lost my love for teaching. The abundant paperwork and regimented system of teaching, to get students to perform well on standardized tests, overshadowed my love for sharing the joy of learning. Bigger scores aren’t always better.

Smaller is simpler, for me. I’ve cleared away my clutter, and am on a new journey to create a new American Dream, which is to follow my own dreams. They are creating a Tiny Home Village, making “MY Ski Skirts”, leading “Journey’s Out Yonder”, and spreading great advice with my “Quote Roll-Ups”. These are my skills and my passions, unique to me.

Take a journey out yonder.

Take a journey out yonder.

Putting my calligraphy skills to good use for KDNK

Putting my calligraphy skills to good use for KDNK

 

Calligraphy quotes on scrap lamination strips…great thoughts on reused plastic…beauty and ideas in one.

“I start to feel that each step taken is part of an invisible journey for which there is no map and few road signs.” John Francis, “Planet Walker”

Small is beautiful. I sold my house recently, and moved into a 240sf bungalow. I’m starting over, with less. I gave away or sold (for barely anything) more than half of my possessions. The items I gave away to friends are there, in their homes, for me to enjoy when I visit. I haven’t bought anything new for years, preferring to shop at thrift stores for my clothes and the local food coop for food. I need nothing else. The less I own, the freer I feel. I donated all of my teaching materials to the Marble Charter and Ross Montessori Schools.

 

Small is Beautiful

What dreams are you following?

Are your dreams unique to you?

Do your dreams show off your passions and skills?

Taking on a cause to protect the place I love.

Taking on a cause to protect the place I love.

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Over the Mountains, Through The Woods, Along the Lake, and Back Again

After three months of life in the Rocky Mountains, I journeyed to Boulder to visit my step-mom. I-70 is a familiar drive for me, and I do it with ease, no matter the weather or the traffic. Some music and the familiar scenery, places I used to call home, along the route make it fun.

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This is the first trip between Carbondale and Boulder, on I-70, that I’ve seen a convoy of Halliburton Fracking trucks. I wonder where they were going.

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Once I arrived in Boulder I was hit by the warm, spring-like weather. I love taking walks around this lake as much as Max, my step-mom’s dog. Since I last saw it, Thunderbird Lake has lowered considerably. The Canada Geese are still there, as are the Mallards. This is one of my favorite places.

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 The first night I arrived I attended a presentation by the CO School of Mines on the research they conducted to determine how to bring the level of the water in Thunderbird Lake back up to healthy levels. It’s a man-made lake, but the neighborhood loves it as a place to journey out yonder on a walk, enjoying the scenery and the wildlife.

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As the ice has melted away and the shoreline has become exposed, I saw remnants of the effects of either last fall’s devastating flood, reckless lake-goers or neighbors, or the inevitable impact communities have on the natural world.  I encouraged the researches to encourage the City of Boulder to take more time to discuss possible solutions to filling the lake with the residents of the neighborhood. Many hands, and minds, lighten the burden.

I decided to take a hand in preserving and taking care of Thunderbird Lake, by picking up the exposed trash, before the it was covered by water again. I brought one trash bag, but found two more.

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As I picked up each piece, I imagined how it ended up here, and how long it was there. Anytime I pick up someone else’s trash, I imagine how it ended up on the ground, in the water, in a tree or a bush. There’s a school on the SW corner of the park, two or three retirement communities, a church, an athletic center, and a large neighborhood surround it on all sides. 

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I couldn’t get all the trash, because I didnt’ bring waders or a long stick. Next time I will bring a long stick.Image

I wonder who’s been nibbling on this plastic container?

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Not a surprise, whose unopened mail this is for. Was one of their trash bags swept into the lake, with their household waste?

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Do we really need to put newspapers in plastic bags? I say, let’s bring back the paper routes, employ our young people to deliver your newspaper on their bikes or on foot, encourage financial responsibility and exercise.

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I thought Boulder passed a plastic bag ban? I say, bring your own bag!

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Using a one use, disposable, take-away cup from Starbucks and Barnes & Noble isn’t necessary when you can bring your own mug.

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Packaging from McDonald’s wasn’t meant for Thunderbird Lake. I say, bring your own snack in a reusable container. 

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I could go on, and on, but I won’t. You get the message. We can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars conducting research on how to save our natural spaces, in city parks. I say, produce less waste by carrying your own coffee mug, packing your own lunch, and disposing of your waste properly. 

Let’s think about the effects we’re having on our natural world, by making everything easier. From packing our newspapers in plastic so they can be thrown on the lawn by a delivery driver, to buying Fast Food. Rethink how we do things, and where our waste end up. Image

 

Make every day a journey, and pick up someone else’s trash, I say! It’ll make everyone’s day.

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Wheels on a Gravel Road

Wheels on a Gravel Road

I travel in my 2001 VW Jetta TDI…still gets 50mpg

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Two Paths Diverged in the Woods

Two Paths Diverged in the Woods

I chose the one on the right. A short journey from my house, to yours. Some journeys only require your two feet.

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Journey through Bryce Canyon

Journey through Bryce Canyon

Colorful palate on the road through Bryce Canyon

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Sweet Memories of Home

Sweet Memories of Home

Maple Sugaring is my sweetest memory of growing up in the North East Kingdom of Vermont.

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