Autumn in the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains

We are having a warm lovely fall here in southern Colorado! We had our first snow in the Sangre de Cristos south of us a couple weeks ago, and then some weather in the 60s settled in to warm our winter-fearing souls.

The 60s are my favorite temperature, just right for sitting outside and observing the  many birds and quadrupeds that happen by our home. We have seen herds of deer and a couple coyotes walking by recently…

and the Road Runners come right up to our glass doors.

Unfortunately that first hard freeze did a number on my first crop of lavender.

We have had such a strange summer season this year. The winter and spring, which are usually super wet, were quite dry through June, when the Spring Creek Fire hit this area, destroying over 108,000 acres and over 140 homes and other structures.

This was my first view of the fire as it emerged south of Mount Mestas on June 27th.

Fortunately in July the rains finally came, saving our area from complete devastation, but still for the 2017 – 2018 water year we received less than half of average precipitation.

My brand new foothills garden did not like these ever changing conditions. It died way back in June, but made a phenomenal comeback with the 3.35 inches of rain we received in July! My garden is perpetually a work in progress. We are now waiting to get a bunch of red pavers to place in the lower level around the bird bath.

It gives me great joy to wander around outside and think about how Mike and my brother John worked so hard to help me realize this lifelong dream!

Autumn in the High Country 2015

IMGP4184“Up on Cripple Creek she sends me, if I spring a leak she mends me, I don’t have to speak she defends me, a lover’s dream if I ever did see one!”

Yesterday was wonderful! A new friend invited me to drive out to Cripple Creek west of Colorado Springs (elevation 9,494 feet), to enjoy the changing Aspen leaves. You never know what you’ll get, but this time we hit pure gold!

Imperial Hotel Cripple CreekThis was also a nice trip down memory lane for me. As a youngster, my family used to drive up to the Imperial Hotel to see the melodramas. Those are fond memories for me.

IMGP4187For many years Cripple Creek was just a high valley, perfect for raising cattle. But in October 1890, a ranch hand named Bob Womack discovered gold there, changing Cripple Creek forever. By 1900 more than 50,000 people called the gold camp home.

IMGP4181When the golden era ended in 1918, more than $300 million in gold had been mined in what would be the last great gold rush in North America.    By the 1920s, only about 40 mines remained, but two decades later, in the 1940s, the town began to promote itself as a tourist destination, offering visitors a glimpse into the past.

In 1991, laws were passed opening the town to limited-stakes gaming. That’s what my friend enjoys. It was fun for me to see what Blackjack is all about. Great way to observe human behavior!

IMGP4186Today Cripple Creek has reinvented itself as a full-service tourist destination, with a number of great museums beautifully showcasing the rich history of the West.

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