Just for a change, I’m lagging behind with the log.
Our latest app, Wearable Widgets continues to dominate our lives: it’s a greedy beast at this stage and it’s dictating our travels. A number of stops have been influenced by the need to work and that always means reasonable connectivity. Too far off the beaten track and our MiFi is no longer picking up a useable signal while in the mountains, the density of trees often blocks the straight line the dish needs to the satellite.
Our time at Rifle Mountain Park is pleasant enough. The long work days are punctuated by brief strolls, the antics of hummingbirds and the procession of small flocks of turkeys, referred to as drumsticks, by the vegetarian in the party. When challenged about such comments he always falls back to the defence of ”I’m not going to eat them!”.
Believing that we have reached a place of equilibrium with the app, we set off for Glenwood Springs and a few well deserved days off. Unfortunately, things are not quite as stable as hoped and we leave after only a couple of nights, this time heading for a Forest Service campground near McClure Pass. Our intention is to spend four nights there and get the better of the app by hook or by crook.
My role in this set up is of chief cook and bottle washer as well as second fiddle on the business side while Sterling is the composer, orchestrator, conductor, musician on all other instruments and recording technician. It’s hard to watch him battling some intractable problem when all I can offer in the way of help is a nice cup of tea! Not working for someone else has its advantages, not least of which is that it enables our travels, but occasionally I wonder if the price is too high. Sometimes I’m not sure how he carries on: days of little progress, each inch gained by a knock-down fight. Although in moments of desperation he will come out with comments such as “I’m up to my eyeballs in alligators” and even declare actual defeat, he is incredibly resilient in the face of adversity and somehow never completely loses hope: his perseverance carries him through and the next day he’s back at it, finding a way forward.
The pressures of work whilst at McClure Pass are ameliorated by the deer and beavers: not that they offer programming advice, but they do bring a few moments of light relief. The young bucks, with their sprouting velvet covered antlers, munch their way through the lush green growth like mowers on legs. They’re accompanied by does, their rounded bellies suggesting that the fawns are not yet born at these high altitudes. They are surprisingly unperturbed by our presence and while they look up to check our position now and again they are far more intent on consuming the vegetation.
The evidence of beaver activity is all around: the tell tale pointed shape of tree stumps as well as numerous dams and pools along the nearby stream. As sunset approaches we set up on the hillside above one of the ponds in the hope of seeing the beasties themselves. We are rewarded and although the photographs give further weight to our need for a better lens, we still get to watch as this lone beaver repeatedly swims up and down, diving to harvest the underwater vegetation and then perching partly out of the water clutching the greenery in her little hands and feeding it into her mouth at an amazing rate.
We return to Glenwood Springs and an overdue appointment with the waters of the Yampah spring. When we lived here, we avoided going to the springs in the height of the summer when the pools are extremely busy. We don’t have the luxury of that choice this time so we get up early and are there shortly after it opens at 7.30 am. It’s every bit as wonderful as we remember and seals our desire to come back here to live, if we can afford it.
Part of the attraction of coming back to the area where we used to live is the opportunity to see friends. We haven’t seen Barb and Meg for nine years and it’s a delight to find how easy and pleasant it is to spend such enjoyable time with friends from whom we’ve been parted for so long. One of the few bonuses of the work-induced back-and-forth of the last couple of weeks is that we get to spend a second evening with them before we leave.
While the town has grown slightly in the twelve years since we left we still feel at home here: the wonderful red rock of the valley sides, the sight of Mount Sopris rising to over 14,000' just up valley, the extensive system of bike paths, the best brew pub in the world, a wonderful Nepalese restaurant and of course the springs themselves not to mention the concentration of National Parks in Utah only a few hours away.
Our destination on leaving is Steamboat Springs but again work gets in the way and we set up at Meadows campground, fifteen miles outside the town. There’s nearly always some compensation to these enforced work stops and this time it’s the carpets of wildflowers: the blue Miniature Lupine, the red Indian Paintbrush and the yellow Cinquefoil.