Snowshoeing Photo Essay – Get Featured!

After my big adventure, I had to take Danny snowshoeing. Roxy raced ahead.

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Danny followed my lead down to the Sally Barber Road.

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Once we hit the mining trail, we cruised on the hard-packed snow.

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We ran into a runner who suggested trekking to the mine or looping around by taking Nightmare on Bald Mountain Trail. We couldn’t find the trail, so we made our own tracks up old Baldy.

The slow and steady climb through heavy snow proved to be too much for Roxy.

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We found the trail back home and Roxy sprinted ahead.

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Our little outing took more than two hours, but the exercise while taking in Colorado’s beauty was worth every minute.

Come up with a caption for “backpacking Roxy” and get featured on the Wild Ride!

snowshoeing with RoxyLeave your caption in the comment section below. The winner will be featured on my sidebar until next month’s contest! My kids, Kelly and Courtney, will choose the finalists.  Good luck!

Happy first day of spring!

Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer

I Had a Little Adventure While You Were Dancing! A Photo Essay

Last week, my breast reconstruction doctor joined my radiologist in giving me the thumb’s up. I had been told I had no restrictions over the phone, but this appointment made it official. I won’t see either of them until next summer. Yeah baby. It’s all good! I just have to take a Tamoxifen pill every day.  I felt like celebrating so my husband Danny and I headed up to the mountains.

We left at 5:00 on Valentine’s Day and sailed up I-70. After Idaho Springs, we came to a halt and our progress could be measured in inches. I could have sworn I saw an elderly lady with a walker pass our car. Our two hour trip soon stretched to three. We worried that our 9:00 dinner reservation would be cancelled. Wet snowflakes flew and collected on the road. We suspected an accident had caused the jam. I used two of the hours stuck in traffic to hash out a screenplay I am working on. I figured out three plot lines, worked on casting it, finally decided on Robert Downey Jr., and we still crawled up the mountain highway.

Robert Downey Jr will be perfect for my screenplay

Image from Google+

At 8:30, I started cussing like the truck drivers crawling alongside us. We’d never make our dinner reservation. Approaching a curve in the road, we could see what happened. Idiots with front-wheel drive had spun out in the left lane tying up traffic for miles and miles! They had to be towed. I’ll never understand why Colorado stopped requiring chains for everyone without all-wheel drive. Once we got past the goofballs without chains or a clue, we drove through the Eisenhower Tunnel and flew down the mountain to Breckenridge. Continue reading

Plunging into the New Year, Polar Bear Style

turning blue for a good cause

There is a reason why I am wearing a red wig and am standing next to my new blue friend. I went out to the Boulder Reservoir on New Year’s Day in support of finding a cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. Why blue? Many who turned out for this cause on a sunny, but cold  winter day turned blue, including me!

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I was one of the crazy people at Boulder’s Polar Plunge! Continue reading

You Got This! You Can Do This!

This is my first published piece in the Boulder newspaper! I wrote it out of frustration after watching the last blow out and listening to the same old explanations. I have a different take on CU’s football team.

My daughter Courtney and her dance team before the game

An Open Letter to the CU Buffs

I just returned from another disappointing loss; this one against University of Southern California. My husband and I stayed for the whole game as brutal as it was. We are your super fans.

You guys are defeated, deflated and some give the impression of being dejected. It was apparent in your body language and energy after the third touchdown. I just have one question: Why? Continue reading

Colorado Wildfires, the Rockies and Urban Fireworks – A Photo Essay

Firefighters are still battling one of the worst wildfires in Colorado history. 346 homes were consumed in the 26-square-mile Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs and it is only 45% contained. 2 lives were lost and 10,000 people remain evacuated.

Photo taken of the Flagstaff fire Saturday night on the way to the Rockies Game. Let it rain!

The Boulder Flagstaff fire is 90% contained. Due to the rugged terrain, firefighters are dousing the flames with buckets of water flown in by helicopter. It has burned 300 acres, but no structures. The Fort Collins High Park Fire burned 259 homes to the ground and one life was lost to the blaze, but it is 100% contained.

When I posted Dancing for Rain, I really did dance, for a couple of minutes anyway. I thought, “Why not?” I was shocked when it started raining. No rain had been  forecasted and it was a deluge! Continue reading

What Doesn’t Kill You… Helicopter Skiing in Canada

In the shelter of a Quonset hut in Kootenay, British Columbia, our guide John instructed my husband Danny, myself and 8 others on the fundamentals of helicopter skiing and how to stay alive over the next three days. I had won the trip with CMH for two. “This is an avalanche beacon. Slip it over your head, snap the belt around your waist and turn it on.” We would each wear a backpack that held a probe and shovel and would take a turn following the group with a satellite radio. “I hope to God we don’t need any of this equipment,” I thought. The guides had already given us our humongous skis.

I hope I never have to use this probe on anyone buried in an avalanche.

While I sat there shivering, my new ski boots pinched at the calf and my toes tingled from lack of circulation. “They felt like slippers when I tried them on in the shop last Monday!” I had broken rule #1. Never buy new ski equipment without trying it out before a trip – and this was no ordinary trip. I reached down and unbuckled them. As the conversation swirled around that frigid metal shelter, I began to sweat. Continue reading

A Second Chance for a First Impression at Winter X Games

When I heard that Winter X Games would be held again in Aspen, Colorado I thought, “I missed the Dew Tour this year in Breckenridge. I could get a second chance at redeeming myself.” I cringed at the memory of the last one I had attended.  

A year ago, my husband Danny and I had finished lunch and decided to ski over to the halfpipe to check out the competition. The women had finished their semi-final round so we continued to the base of Peak 8 to see what kind of “swag” (free stuff), Dew Tour was handing out. Tents were set up by various companies giving out samples of energy bars and power drinks. Some had contests to win snowboards. I ducked into one where a couple of pro snowboarders sat behind a long table autographing posters. I couldn’t believe it. One of them with a pen in hand was Louie Vito. Continue reading

Back on the Boards!

Come along with me for the first run of the season!

My husband Danny and I hit the slopes at Arapahoe Basin last Sunday.  It was another one of the 300 sunny days in Colorado!

Arapahoe Basin first opened with a single rope tow in December of 1946. The founding fathers included Frederick Schauffler, a medalist from the Olympic Ski Team and Laurence Jump,  a soldier from the 10th Mountain Division. It has come a long way since then. With its high elevation and above tree-line peaks, this ski area is usually one of the first to open and the last to close. Danny broke his leg jumping cornices at Spring Splash on May 16th, 1987! I asked him how he still remembers the date and he replied, “It hurt.” Continue reading

Prevent Beer Belly Fat – Watch Sports this Way!

My husband Danny had been on the edge of his seat for hours. “Get him! Get him! Ohhh…” First he watched the CU Football team go down in flames against Stanford 7-48. Later he watched the Avalanche season opener. Surely our Colorado hockey team could pull off a win, but they were skunked by the Detroit Redwings 0-3. The next day I could hear him cheering from the other room when the Broncos put in Tim Tebow and they began catching up to the San Diego Chargers. “Woohoo!” I sat down with him for a few minutes while he writhed on the couch in agony as we watched the nail-biter together. My own heart quickened and my gut clenched thinking we could win this one. But a Bronco personal foul, a San Diego field goal, and an incomplete pass to the end zone squelched our victory. Afterward, I looked at him as he caught his breath, with his shoulders sagging in response to yet another loss.

“I hate this feeling. This can’t be good for you,” I said, “You are so stressed out after watching 3 losses this weekend. ‘Stress kills’ you know.”

“Oh, I’m okay,” Danny replied, “I just can’t believe they blew it like that!” Continue reading

High Mountain Adventure – A Photo Essay

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The clear blue skies over the grand vista beckoned to us Saturday afternoon in Breckenridge. We decided to risk it and break rule #1: Never go out hiking in the mountains past noon.  Thunderstorms tend to gather and lightning is deadly. Even with intense two-mile-high sunshine, September had ushered in cool temperatures so I threw on a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt. Armed with a fifteen-year-old trail guide, my husband Danny and I set out with our Bichon Roxy to trek up to Mohawk Lakes.

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We realized after driving up and down Highway  9 that our guide was now antiquated. We finally found a new trail head and Danny pulled into the empty gravel parking lot. My first thought was, “Where is everyone?” Usually when hiking anywhere in Colorado, we share the trail with many others. This being Labor Day weekend, I expected more traffic than ever, but this was almost eerie. I also wondered if it was because of a bear warning I read in the morning’s Summit Daily Newspaper. This time of year they come down to lower elevations to feast before hibernating. It warned that their keen sense of smell combined with their inquisitive nature could spell trouble. The writer listed everything a hiker or camper should do to avoid an encounter with a black bear. The article suggested avoiding fragrances that attract them such as the smell of food and toiletries. “Toiletries? Would my shampoo attract one of those massive creatures? Nah! I have such a vivid imagination.” I didn’t even mention my concern to Danny and immediately dismissed it since we had only seen one bear in 15 years as it ambled across the road.

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As we started on the trail, I was struck by the verdant understory. The magnificent evergreens towered over us and the burnt orange of their trunks contrasted with the emerald green of the forest floor. How could this be Colorado? By this time of year it is usually drought-ridden and fire danger is extreme, but it has been usually wet. What we were seeing seemed out of a movie set in Europe somewhere. While I took a deep breath inhaling the fresh pine scent, I noticed it was mysteriously soundless except for the roar of a nearby river. Where were all the birds and squirrels that usually chirped incessantly?

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This was a new hike for us. We followed a lush trail along the river and saw the prayer stone stacks we had seen in Aruba. At first I delighted in seeing these familiar stacked stones, but after the 5th pile in so many yards I thought it was taking away from the natural beauty of this place. Kind of like, “Hey nature! We Humans are here to mess everything up!” I grumbled something to that effect to Danny as we continued up the trail.

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Many trees had fallen recently and I found their roots fascinating. It must have been the inner botanical illustrator in me.

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The terrain seemed like a fairyland complete with mosses, overgrown mushrooms, fungus, and lichen. More than once I felt watched and would stop to look around as well as up. I remembered a story of a biker who was attacked by a mountain lion as she biked under a tree. I had never felt this nervous hiking before, but the forest was still unnervingly silent as if in warning.

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At one point as we followed the river upstream and lost the trail. “Danny!” I shouted above the crashing river, “I think we need to cut back up the mountain and away from the river. I think this is just a path made by animals.” He agreed so I swung back into the thick brush, bush-whacking as I scrambled across boulders and fallen trees, all the while keeping my eye out for the trail we had lost. When I realized he hadn’t followed, it dawned on me how easy it would be to get lost. I have written several fiction stories with this theme and yet I never imagined I would feel a similar panic. I called out to him, but with the crashing of the river, I knew he would never hear me. As quickly as possible, without breaking an ankle, I scrambled back down and found them farther ahead along the stream. Together we made our way back through uprooted trees and found the trail once again. This time I was happy to find those stacked stones marking the path.

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As the trail wound up the mountain, I began to see many caves and hiding places peering out of the cracks and crevices of the earthen and rocky landscape.

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Dead lodgepole pines, the recent victims of beetle kill, were now home to silver lichen which laced its branches like a veil of frost. The sun had disappeared behind a cloak of gray clouds and the temperature began to drop.

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We continued on, driven by curiosity of what new extraordinary landscape we would discover. Our Bichon Roxy had been very excited to be out exploring the forest with us and was usually out ahead. Since there was no one on the trail we practiced keeping her under voice command. The trail opened up to a boulder field and again the stacked stones guided us. For being such a little dog, Roxy clambered through like a billy goat and she wagged her tail delighting in scents undetected by us. We had been hiking for almost an hour when we heard her whimper on the trail and she would go no further. “What’s wrong with her?” Danny asked. He ran back, leashed her and we continued on. Soon we let her go free again and she investigated with her sensitive nose continuing to forge ahead. But once again she stopped dead in her tracks, now she visibly trembled. This time we realized she sensed something we could not see and heeded her warning. We turned back with heightened awareness in this primeval-looking forest not sure what we would encounter on the trail.

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As we hiked back down I was overwhelmed by an acrid musky odor. “Do you smell that?” I asked Danny.

He nodded and said, “Wow. It was just here!” Our female Bichon began marking her territory and we laughed, but picked up the pace.

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It wasn’t until we were back down to the main trailhead that we heard the familiar sound of birds calling out and the chirping of an angry squirrel upset that we invaded its territory. Finally I relaxed when I heard the rumbling of cars going by on Highway 9. I am sure that many little creatures peeked out from their hiding places and watched us as we hiked by. The real question is were we being stalked?

When was the last time you felt watched?

Does your hair stand on end or does your spine tingle?

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Photos and words by S. Lindau

Sit on It and Spin!

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 Haystack in a view from my neighborhood

Earlier this summer, I teetered on top of a step-ladder and reached above my head to unhook my dusty road bike from a hook on the ceiling. Strong impulsive tendencies still course through my veins. If I had lost my grip, my heavy bike would have crashed to the garage floor shattering all of my clay pots below me. My arms shook in response to its weight, but I kept my balance and set it down on its flat and cracked rubber tires. I had longed to ride my bike and was propelled by the fear of having to get a knee replacement someday.

When I graduated from college I drove with friends to Jackson Hole Wyoming to ski. The last day we ventured down Pepi’s run where I face-planted, twisting my knee when the ski did not release. Years of tennis and bump skiing in the Colorado Rockies has taken its toll and biking is one of the best cures for knee problems.

With the cracked tires filled, I ran upstairs to dress. I found my bike shorts and fluorescent yellow shirt up on a shelf. With so many drivers distracted on cell phones, I was happy to look like a human yield sign! My helmet had collected its fair share of dirt and spider webs over the years. I smiled when I discovered my biking gloves inside out from the last time I wore them.

As I rolled my bike out of the garage, the clock on the wall read 4:30. A strong breeze struck me headlong. “An hour ride will be perfect.” I had already played two hours of tennis and did not want to overdo it since I had another match the next morning.  The seat had been adjusted for one of my kids when they were younger.  “Oh well. I’m not going far. I will raise the seat next time.” I rode down into town thinking I could handle a round-trip ride to Hygiene. This quaint little enclave in the Boulder Valley is a popular destination for bikers. The small grocery store at the town’s center is a gathering place and I promised myself some kind of ice cream treat upon my arrival.

I rode through the red light across the highway and thought, “Jeez, I probably should have stopped.” I bet more than one driver waiting for the light to turn green took my name in vain!

When I pedaled past 75th Street I figured it was too early for the turn north to Hygiene. Yellow and purple wildflowers lined the country road and the spectacular view of the foothills drew me onward. A miniature mountain called Haystack which rises up out of the valley became my point of reference. Bikers on the other side of the road greeted me with “the nod.” Some actually waved. There is an instant camaraderie among bike riders and I was glad to be a part of it again.

Soon I passed the entrance to Lake Valley and knew I had gone way too far.  Now I knew why my knee cap had slid over to the outside of my knee. New muscles made themselves known for the first time in years! I gazed back over my shoulder at the enormous hill I had just coasted down. There was no way I would turn around and ride back up that monster. It could be a killer! The wind would no longer be in my face if I road north on highway 36.

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Rush hour 

I turned onto the single lane highway and shared the road with commuters blasting by at 65 mph. This highway runs along the base of the foothills and with the slight increase in elevation, it presented amazing views of the Boulder Valley. The ever-changing vista on my ride included every shade of green reminding me of Ireland. I passed lush farmland where horses grazed enjoying the tender shoots of grass. Golden hawks flew above me and one called out sending a chill up my spine. Haystack had been out in the distance in the beginning of my ride and now I was well beyond it. The foothills undulated like big toes attached to giants legs along the west side of the winding road.

I found myself on a downhill coast when I passed Nelson Road. I remembered a huge hill I would have to climb if I headed east, so I thought, “Screw that!”

With each familiar road I passed, I slowly made the decision to ride to Lyons. I turned onto Highway 66 and finally headed east. I would ride to Hygiene as planned, but would enter from the north instead of the south. By this time, my bike seat felt like an unpadded iron rod. I stood up on my pedals to release the tension in my tired arms, tight shoulders, cricked neck and sore butt.

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As I entered Hygiene on 75th street, towering cottonwoods rose up, dwarfing the small homes along the road. The shade was a welcome respite. I finally recognized the country store on the corner. I had reached my destination. I pulled up onto the gravel driveway and parked my bike. I felt an old familiar weightless sensation after riding as I sauntered up, but my heart sank when I stared through the darkened windows.

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My cell phone read 6:3o! They had closed a half hour ago. I had been riding for two hours already. I kept myself from calling home for a “sag wagon” and climbed back on my bike for what I thought would be a half hour ride home.

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The muscles located above my knees which had been dormant for so many years, now burned like hot pokers. What they call “sits bones,” in yoga now felt like “raw bones.” I pedaled to the intersection I had blown through over two hours ago and this time pushed the button for the light to change. “How will I make it up the behemoth hill back up to my house?”

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Almost home! 

I stood up temporarily relieving my sore butt bones and cranked my handle bars back and forth. I remembered that a neighbor’s house was a half mile away from home as I passed it. “These last few blocks are killing me!”

As I reached the top of the hill, I gathered speed for the last one. I careened onto my steep street and my bike quickly decelerated. “I can’t make it. I’ve either got to call for a ride this last half block or walk it.” I turned the corner and to my horror my neighbors stood outside their home chatting with a visitor. I couldn’t stop now! I jammed my bike into its granny gear and pushed and pulled with what was left on my reserve tank. I rolled up my driveway and into the garage.

“I made it!”

The clock in the garage read 7:10. I had ridden over two and one half hours and had traveled 35 miles! It had taken longer to ride from Hygiene than I anticipated. I made a carbo-loaded dinner of chicken with marinara sauce and pasta, showered, and was in bed with an ice pack by 9:00.

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Home at last!

When I stepped out of bed the next morning my knees were pain-free. My neck and shoulders however, contained some knots as big as golf balls and the stiffness probably effected my tennis match. I am happy to report that I did not wait for the dust and spider webs to gather on my bike helmet before taking another cruise to Hygiene and I remembered to turn on 75th!

 When was the last time you took a bike ride?

Photos by S. Lindau 

A different kind of biking and yet I couldn’t resist! 

Into the Wind

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I still have the determination I had in high school tennis and unfortunately the same smirk when I serve!

Monday night I played a United States Tennis Association match in the Devil’s Thumb neighborhood in Boulder. Although I had been warned, I was late for warm up since I didn’t anticipate the severity of the clogged rush hour traffic. As I drove down Foothills parkway the 50 mph gusts struck my car in shuddering blows. When I arrived at the courts, the temperature dropped as I stood shivering in my tennis skirt. How would we manage this wind? Some of my team dispersed to other courts down the road. My partner Sherilyn and I drove around a corner to a somewhat more sheltered one at the end of a cul-du-sac.

We met the opposition and started our warm up. The deafening wind thundered down from the foothills and slammed the ball onto the court. I would have to slice my balls higher tonight to get them over the net. I generally like playing in wind because I like to lob into to it. The ball moves around making it an unpredictable target and also keeps it on the court. I slice the ball which keeps the shot low forcing my opponent to hit upward into the current which often carries it off the court. I have played singles matches where the wind played to my advantage. Near the end of the match when it abruptly stopped, I sped up the game knowing my opponent could start playing their game again.  I usually consider myself lucky when the wind starts to blow, but with this velocity, tonight might be a different story.

We were ready to begin the match so Sherilyn and I conferred about which of our opponents might be the weaker and stronger player. Both of them seemed athletic and could cover the court. Their solid ground strokes and volleys at the net would be fierce to defend. One had a slice which intimidated my partner.

The wind whipped between the houses and continued its erratic churning. The surrounding trees cast shadows which moved in fitful patterns across the court. Lobbing would be a risky choice. Just before we started I mentioned to Sherilyn, “Just go for it at the net. I’ll try to set you up.” She is a great player and once she is up there she can put the ball away. I am a singles player at heart and love to play from the back of the court. Unfortunately, at  4.0 tennis, whichever team has someone stuck behind the baseline often loses.

The match began with my service loss. Our opponents hit all the angles with the force of the wind at their backs. We had a glimmer of hope when we won 2 games and the score was 2-3, but those were the last games won by us in the first set which we lost 2-6.

In the second set we quickly found ourselves down 1-3.  I am used to being alone out there in singles so in between games I had a little pep talk with myself. I smiled realizing the wind had died down a bit.  I thought, “Just keep slicing cross court and receive, approach, and volley. Use the wind to your advantage.”

Then I trotted over to my partner and said, “Sherilyn just play your game. You have to run up to the net.”

“They have been hitting the ball at my feet all night,” she said, “I can’t get up there.”

“Let’s just pretend like it’s practice. Don’t look at them. Just play like you usually do.”

Sherilyn reluctantly agreed and walked back to her side.

During the next point she hit the ball cross court, ran to the service line, and then smashed it into their alley. Our point!

“Sherilyn! You’re back!” I screamed. I ran over and high fived her.

We won the next 5 games, winning the set 6-3. In lieu of a third set, we played a 10 point tie-breaker and won 10-6. “Woohoo!” We won the match.

After shaking hands with our competitors, I congratulated Sherilyn for blasting back and going for it by playing her game. She needed to feel confident again which she accomplished by pushing herself. I believe you have to stick with your plan in order to win. Even if we would have lost, at least we would have given it our best shot.

I think this message can be applied in life. We may set goals, but become discouraged when we meet opposition. We find ourselves back on our heels when we lose confidence. Doubt can cause faltering. We all make mistakes, even the pros. Sometimes a little reassurance is all we need to get back in the game. I try to keep the positive comments I have received stored away like precious treasure I can retrieve when I need inspiration. Recalling encouragement helps me to put the focus back on my aspirations. I realize that it takes a lot of resilience, determination, and tenacity. There will always be set backs, but when I feel vulnerable I say to myself, “I can do this.”

I know it will take courage, fortitude, and endurance to achieve my objectives. I plan to log in a lot of hours practicing my skills. I will keep my eye on the ball and hope for a breeze because I can always use a little luck!