Sunday, July 31, 2011

Denver County Fair!

This weekend the National Western Complex here in Denver was full of roosters, belly dancers, tarot card readers, pie eating contests, art, and a wide cross-section of Denver (and Colorado) residents.  We were all there to attend the Denver County fair, which Colorado Public Radio says is:

The first in Colorado’s largest city since the 1890s. Its founders say they’ll open up a can of yeehaw but with a twist. They want to bring a modern, urban flavor to what’s traditionally a celebration of all things rural.


After bike riding 3 miles and partially through an industrial area, I was displeased to find that there was no bike parking.  There were a good number of bicycles locked to a gate and some signs near the entrance.  But this is one of my only complaints.

While there were plenty of photo opportunities, I gravitated towards the art.  There was an arts pavilion and an artists’ competition.  These are some of the pieces I liked.


Yes! RTD Denver!!


This was a functioning bobble head chicken.


I was taken by the creativity of one artist who took old figurines and needle felted them together or needle felted hats or face masks on them.




While this isn’t really my cup of tea, I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this one – so county fair-esque. 


This wouldn’t be a fair without animals!  The animal pavilion had a large variety of chicken breeds, llamas, alpacas, sheep, goats, and guinea pigs!


I stayed to watch the Devo show but I have to say that the National Western Complex stadium has got to be one of the worst locations (sound-wise) for a concert.  They put on a good show that bordered on performance art with multiple costume changes and masks and things, but were handicapped by the sound issue. 


I had a good time at the fair and look forward to seeing what they put together this year.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cherries and Cheddar Chex Mix

This past weekend I hiked the Fancy Pass/Missouri Lakes Loop for the third time.  It never disappoints. As one of my hiking partners, Erika, put it, “ it’s stunning but it’s not a cake walk!” Going over two passes and hiking about 8 miles in a day took us roughly 6 hours.  It was so worth it though. 

We started at the Fancy Pass trail head and did the loop counter clockwise.  The hike starts at around 10,000 feet and has a rolling ascent through a beautiful, green forest with patches of wildflowers all around.  Just before tree line we came to this beautiful little lake:

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The beauty really is hard to capture but just take my word for it – beautiful!

Since we’ve had crazy amounts of snow late in the season this year here in Colorado, there were a few snowfields to pass on the way to Fancy Pass.  This is one of them we had to traverse (Trisha in foreground).

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After the traverse you take a left and go straight up to the pass – a somewhat slipper and frustrating effort. This is Trisha and Erika on the way up:

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At the top I turned around and this is the view looking back on what we’d just ascended:

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After coming over Fancy Pass you are treated to an ample patch of alpine tundra before going up and over Missouri Pass.  This is the view from the top of Fancy Pass looking down on the patch of alpine tundra:

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The tundra was full of treats.  Here’s a pika:

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This is a view from the tundra – on the trail with Trisha and Erika:

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Some wildflowers!

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There was this old, rusted metal thing on the tundra, we couldn’t figure out quite what it was.  At any rate, here’s Trisha with the thing:

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We also saw plenty of marmots – here’s one that posed for us:

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There were some interesting rocks also – I liked the light green lichen on the white (quartz?) rock:

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We made it up Missouri Pass and were treated to yet another spectacular view on the other side. Here’s Trisha on the snow field at the top of Missouri Pass:

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Just another shot of the hike down through the Missouri Lakes area:

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On this side of the loop you follow the creek more and it turns into an amazing little canyon near the bottom.

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We retired to Minturn after for a refreshing glass of white wine and then a coffee for the drive home.  A truly lovely day with some great hiking partners.  Oh – I didn’t have time to shop properly for the trip so ended up with some left over cherries and cheddar chex mix from walgreens…

Monday, July 11, 2011


More skies…but these are not from Denver! All photos were taken with the iPhone by the way.

These first couple of photos are from Boulder a few weeks ago.  A storm moved across the County but never touched me.  I did get the fruit of it though:

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A faint rainbow:

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One of the good things about Boulder is that there are trails literally within walking distance of an excellent restaurant on the Pearl Street Mall.  Here’s a shot from one of those trails:

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I also got outside with my friend Lisa recently.  We went to the Mt. Evans Wilderness area and hiked the Hells Hole Trail, which, interestingly, doesn’t take you to Hells Hole…It did take us to a small lake above (or at) tree line.  The Mt. Evans Wilderness was beautiful – lush green and with a good amount of wildflowers. Here are some photos from the excursion:

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Here’s Lisa trying to get a close up of some of the wildflowers:

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Once again, I feel lucky to live in Colorado.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


This is the final post/final artist in the series of artists that I picked out from the 2011 Cherry Creek Arts Festival. 

This artist – Gabe Leonard – has a wild west theme as well as a pirate theme and so on.  The western art appealed to me the most.  The pieces have a kind of kick ass attitude but they are also slightly funny.  These were my two favorites from his website (I especially like the woman!):



That is all.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Trains and Openness

In my last post I featured two artists that I dug from the Cherry Creek Arts Festival.  Well, you’re in luck! I have two more to share.

Kendra Baird is an artist after my own heart – she has a streetcar painting! I love everything about this – the detail, the warm color, the transit…


In this one there is also a train (obviously) but what I like here is the quiet emptiness that I feel when I look at it.


There are also trees!



And an owl in comforting shades of green:


There was also a photographer that caught my eye – Mark MacKinnon. The openness and simplicity of these two drew me in.



And yet still more to come – stay tuned!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Robots and Sky

I attended the Cherry Creek Arts Festival this weekend and was exposed to some new artists!

One is Mr. Hooper.  Mr. Hooper has much more in his repertoire than just robots, but the robots are the ones I liked the most.  Here are two examples:



I also liked Michael Bryant.  He does less silly but more contemplative art:



More to come!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Independence Day

This year Independence Day has another meaning for me.  Since the end of my marriage earlier this year, I have had a growing sense of independence as I do things more on my own.  It lends itself to a large amount of self-discovery – some of which is a little frightening.  I am also learning to ask for help – harder than it sounds. Similarly, I am having to seek out activities with others, which I hadn’t had to really do while in a long-term, committed relationship.  So, I invited Altan to spend the weekend with me.  We did mellow stuff around town – starting with the Mile High Flea Market!

The Mile High Flea Market is a huge place populated by all kinds of vendors. It has everything from used baby dolls to tires to antiques to turkey legs and mangos to jeans. Here is Altan offering a welcome to the merchandise fiesta.

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These photos offer a sample of some items for sale.

Antique dog figurine:

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Chinese character statue (also in the antique store):

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Random stuff and sad-looking panda in a random stuff stall:

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Used tools:

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Striking shirts:

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Butt-hugging jeans.  This particular methods of jeans display was pretty pervasive and it fascinated me.

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Altan made a friend:

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Some evidence I was there:

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Later, after lunch, we journeyed via bicycle to get some sweet action at Sweet Action Ice Cream. They’ve got vegan options, Stranahan’s Brickle, red velvet ice cream, baklava ice cream, and all kinds of other amazing flavors.  Altan pointed out this bit of street art on the way there and I fell in love with it immediately. 

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Here’s the part where I accept help.  My commuter bike has been out of commission for some months as I procrastinated on fixing the flat tire it had. I tried to get it started but had serious problems getting the tire off the rim.  Altan lent a hand and ended up working diligently to finish the project (as you can see below), which was fine with me since I had a hand injury anyway (sliced a finger pretty good while preparing lunch the day before).

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The weekend wasn’t totally candy and puppies (what really is in life?) but it was generally fun and relaxing.