Here’s what rush hour in Evergreen, CO can look like. As is fitting, this prolific elk herd is making its way over the road towards Elk Meadow Open Space. Elk Meadow is one of several terrific open space trail systems that can be found in Evergreen, CO. Additionally, Evergreen is the town in which the mountain search and rescue team, for which Todd and I both volunteer, is located. As a result, we spend a great deal of time in this little mountain town. You’re not far from Denver but you feel worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the city. (The one photo I couldn’t resist because a baby in the herd stopped in the middle of traffic to nurse.)
In thinking about the Favorite Place challenge, I thought immediately about this humble little place in the Rockies. The roots that bind me to this little old miner’s cabin near Boulder, CO run very deep. My father’s family has been in the Boulder area since the 1890’s. My dad was born in Boulder, in 1933, when the hospital building was just a house. My grandparents bought this tiny cabin somewhere in the 1950’s. It’s only about 1200 square feet but it has so much character and historical charm. It’s made out of the original log and chinking dating back to the 1920’s. The cabin does have electricity, rigged by my grandfather, but is not winterized. When we were little kids we still had to use the outhouse. I remember having to run in the pitch black of night outside to use the outhouse. To a small kid, the blackness of the night made the distance to the loo feel like it was a mile from the cabin. In reality it’s about 20 yards. The porch screen door has that familiar slam I’ve heard for the forty plus years I’ve been going to this wonderful place.
Growing up, we visited our grandparents at the cabin frequently. The back bedroom was the kids room and the beds in there were jammed together so it was like one big mattress. With the cool mountain nights, we had lots of blankets piled all around us making it so cozy, it felt like camp. The primary feature of the cabin is a giant river rock hearth which roars with a huge fire and heats the place so warmly. When we were little we used to play pick-up-sticks in front of the fireplace and roast marshmallows. We still have those same pick-up-sticks and still play in front of the fire.
I learned to tie my shoes here on a water tank which. As kids we would go to the creek and bring back big buckets of water from which my grandmother would then boil the water on the stove. This was very often our drinking water. My father’s relatives, would come up and we would all go on long hikes into the Indian Peaks Wilderness where we would fish and mushroom hunt. Pam, Todd, my nephew, and I all spent a recent Halloween up there in the pitch black night watching scary movies. My favorite memory, however, is when my best buddy in life, Todd, and I got married there. Sixty-ish of our best friends joined us under the pine trees for a very simple ceremony. It was the perfect spot!
The flyspeck of a village where my family cabin is, is part true ghost town, part eclectic community. There is only one stop sign in the town and 2 dirt roads. The mushroom hunting is pretty great, last summer we saw a moose every weekend we were there, and the darkness of the night and stars on display is mind-boggling.
This is the place that makes me the happiest. There isn’t any internet or TV in the cabin, only a DVD player. I love waking with the sun, going to bed when it’s dark, watching the hummingbirds at the feeder, going for hikes, hearing the roar of the creek, having the neighbor dog, Saber, come over to great us when we roll up to the property, coffee on the big back deck, and just being in the moment with nature all around. No matter where my Life Bus rolls, this is where I always want to come back to.
Here’s to your happy place!!
Thanks to Word Press for another great challenge!
Well hello world! Somewhere along the way, a few years ago which I can hardly believe, my Life Bus careened off the road and into the ditch where it has unfortunately stayed, growing weeds around it all the while. Somehow I allowed myself to lose sight, and control, of my Life Bus values and let the pressures of the rat race take control of my world. Don’t get me wrong, I still did a lot of amazing things and traveled to some amazing places with friends and family, but those moments were sandwiched in between a lot of rat race shenanigans. Turning 50 last year helped me regain clarity of what really matters in my life and how much I love exploring this world and sharing those adventures with other Life Bus adventurers and explorers. I am excited to be back on the dirt and out of the weeds. Please stay tuned for a lot of fun and some new things coming to this blog in 2018 from me, Pam, and Lynda. Let’s have some fun and get out there in 2018. Here’s to many great adventures for all! I hope you all find our stories entertaining, informative, helpful, and, maybe if your Life Bus is stuck in the weeds, inspiring as well.
This photo was taken at my German grandmother’s 90th birthday in Heidelberg, Germany. There are four different generations represented in this photo. Even though all of these family members live in Germany, I have had the fortune of getting to spend a significant amount of time in Germany with them. (My parents and husband are in this photo and they live in the US). They are a very colorful, crazy, and lively group. Two things that always shine through whenever I have visited are that no matter how spirited the conversations get, family is the most important thing and they would defend it fiercely. The second is that no matter how much time goes between each visit, we are always welcomed warmly and with the knowledge that we are family.
As I was scrolling through my photos, I came to one that made me smile and brought a tear to my eye all at the same time. It is amazing how many fond childhood memories this one photo can invoke for me. For my color challenge, I am sharing with you all a photo of my German grandmother, my Oma, at the age of 90 on her market stand in Heidelberg, Germany.
My grandmother is a strong, free-spirited woman who up until this year, at the age of 93, still sold flowers at her market stand. After fleeing the Soviet invasion of Latvia and, winding up at a displaced person’s camp in post-war Germany, my grandmother started selling flowers on the market to make ends meet for her family. She has been selling flowers to people with a true devotion to her floral works of art ever since …. approximately 60 years. Market work is hard but my grandmother had a true passion for “her” flowers. She treated them almost like her babies. If a flower lost it’s bloom, she would pick the bloom off the ground and put it in a bud vase on her windowsill. She hated to see any single flower lost. She had an amazing eye for which flowers went together and hands of steel with which to hold her bouquets. The roses she used had thorns like daggers.
As children, we spent many summers in Heidelberg helping her sell on the market. This requires getting up quite literally at the crack of dawn and working until about 3 or 4 in the afternoon. My grandmother bought many flowers from the wholesalers but was an early adopter of locally sourcing her flowers as well. This meant driving around tiny farm roads picking up freshly cut snapdragons, sweet peas, daisies, roses, and anything else that was in season from local gardners. For us children, these old farmers would always give us little bags of freshly picked cherries, raspberries, blackberries, etc. We would then stop at the local bakery and pick up some pastries and a canteen of coffee to have on the market. I’m pretty sure my Oma is the source of my sweet tooth. She would buy so many wonderful pieces of plum cake, apple cake, and of course there had to be freshly made whipping cram.
She became such an icon of the markets in Heidelberg that on her 90th birthday, the main newsaper in Heidelberg (Rhein Neckar Zeitung) wrote an article about her and her history on the market.
I’m sure I’m way off of topic for the color challenge but I just felt compelled to share this story with you all. I hope you enjoy it and
I like these photos for the Forward challenge because they show the view from the cockpit …. one literally and the others more figuratively. The actual cockpit photo was taken near Juneau, Alaska. We flew Ward Air out of Juneau and had the great fortune of having a friend of a friend be our pilot. He took great care of us and took us on some special glacier viewing opportunities as well as up and over some glacial valleys. I’ll never forget this moment because we were all looking out the windshield seeing these peaks getting closer by the second. No one said anything but we were all wondering … how are we getting over those when we are obviously lower than the summits. Fortunately, without any problem!! There was such a thrill on the other side of these peaks. The ground fell away immediately and it felt like we were free-falling for a second. The other two photos were taken on sea kayaking adventure trips. One was taken in the Sea of Cortez and the other most recently kayaking to Tobacco Caye by the Belizean barrier reef. Tobacco Caye was literally Gilligan’s Island and where we would spend the next 3 nights!! Hope you all enjoy the views forward!!
3 years ago over Christmas the Life Bus took an amazing journey to Tanzania. Pam, Greg, Emily, Todd, and I climbed Kilimanjaro, experienced the wildebeest migration along with numerous other spectacular animals on safari in the Serengetti, and spent a week on Zanzibar. I became fascinated by the Masai culture which manages to maintain many traditional customs while living side by side with the modern world. On our drive from Arusha to the Serengetti, we had the opportunity to stop at a Masai village. Despite the fact that this community probably sees its fair share of visitors, there was nothing that felt touristy about the experience. It was, however, an incredible opportunity to actually step into (crawl into is really more what we did) one of the mud hut homes of the Masai.
The women traditionally are the ones to build these homes. The huts are made of dung, sticks, grass, ash, and really anything else they can find. These homes are intentionally simple as the Masai have been a nomadic culture. That, is of course, changing to some degree. The homes are very small, approximately 9″ x 12″ x 5″.
We were invited inside and the reality of how small the space is became very apparent. Within this space the family does everything: cooks, sleeps, and socializes. The sleeping area consists of a small alcove off to the side. The cooking area dominates the small space. The smell of smoke inside was so thick I wasn’t sure how they are able to breath. There was one funny moment while we were in the hut. While sharing stories about Masai customs with us, our Masai guide took out his machete and waved it in the air. We were all crouched shoulder to shoulder in this tiny space. For an instant, my eyes got quite large. Emily and I were quickly assessing the exit plan. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what he was trying to show us in that moment. The machete had my full attention.
I am choosing this as my selection for this week’s photo challenge because I continue to remain thankful to travel for opening my eyes as to how others in the world live and the places they call home.
So I don’t seem to have a terribly large amount of pictures demonstrating the concept of illumination. The ones I do have, however, I think really portray illumination beautifully!! Let me know what you all think! The first one is from a sunset picnic dinner Todd and I took on Rialto Beach while camping in Olympic National Park. I love the luminosity of the light in this photo. I was certain this was the moment we were going to get engaged. Everything was perfect. Alas, I had to wait another year and a half for him to pop the question. The second picture is from our first campground on the Serengeti. I totally felt like we were in the movie Out of Africa. This was such a great camping experience. A minute earlier a massive elephant had walked right by the front of our tents. I love how the lanterns illuminate the background and our tents. The final photo is another one from Olympic National Park. This was the view from our tent at our campground on the Ho River Trail. I love how the sunrise illuminates our campground. Click on the images individually to enlarge each one of them.
Thanks so much for taking the time to have a look!!!
Here are a couple of photos which capture the concept of delicate for me!! Hope you enjoy them.
The first one is from the glaciers of Kilimanjaro. I think of these as delicate because their future appears to be very precarious and it is believed that they will be completely gone within the next 20 – 30 years. Despite their massive appearance, their existence is really in a very delicate balance.
These photos come from a beautiful snow day at the magnificent Chautauqua Park in Boulder, CO. This park lies at the foot of Boulder’s famous Flatirons. In Colorado, big snows are usually followed by magnificent blue-bird days. Delicate icicles and ice formations like these typically don’t last very long in this intense sun. This last photo is from Arches National Park in Utah. This is a photo of the very thin Landscape Arch. I am amazed by these formations and the geological forces that it took to create such amazing natural wonders.
Pam and I feel blessed that our little endeavor called The Life Bus has gotten some great people to climb aboard and along the way nominate us for our second award, the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award. This generous award nomination comes to us from the Les Petits Pas de Jules who has been a true champion of The Life Bus and we are truly thrilled that she has found our writings worthy of a blog award. If you haven’t had a chance to check out her blog yet, I highly recommend you do so. It is a wonderful blog with great content as well as photos. She does this in three languages no less.
So here is what WTMRA winner must do as a recipient of this award:
- Display the logo on his/her post/page and/or sidebar
- The Nominee must finish this sentence and post: ”A Great reader is…”
- Nominate 14 readers they appreciate over a period of 7 days (1 week) – this can be done at any rate during the week. It can be ALL on one day or a few on one day and a few on another day, etc., naming his or her nominees on a post or on posts during the 1 week period.
- The Nominee shall make these rules, or amended rules, keeping to the spirit of the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award, known to each reader s/he nominates.
Here goes for what I think makes a great reader …. it’s really more a little story so I hope you enjoy!!
My definition of a great reader is probably not much different than that of most people. So, instead of plagiarizing what others have articulated so well, I thought I’d rather share some thoughts about a great reader I know quite well. My mother is the person who comes to mind immediately. Since my earliest memories, my mother has never been without her nose in a book or without stacks of books all over the house. The best part is she actually reads them all and does so quickly. She is almost thrown into a panic when she runs out and doesn’t have a book on hand. My mother has no limits on subjects about which she will read. She reads biographies, mysteries, and novels. She reads about history, science, geography, mythology, and too many other topics to list all separately. As a result of this massive amount of reading, my mother is quite frankly one of the most intelligent human beings I have ever encountered. She is a repository of an amazing amount of information. I think what makes her, and others like her, great readers is that insatiable thirst to soak up as much about life and the world as possible. I think my mother has been able to live a thousand different lives and adventures through all of the stories she has read. I think these are the qualities that drive great readers.
14 Readers I Appreciate