An Unexpected Visit from Wild and Wonderful Old Man Winter

An Unexpected Visit from Wild and Wonderful Old Man Winter

We drove up to Breckenridge last weekend, expecting wonderful weather and golden-hued fall color. I couldn’t believe it when the snow began to fly as we approached the Eisenhower Tunnel. I had wondered when Old Man Winter would pay us a visit, but I figured he might wait until the middle of October.

Only a day after the official start of autumn, he surprised us.


I have been predicting an early winter. I’m gifted and talented in that way. There’s a slant to the light and the birds have been flocking together for weeks now. The perennials died back early, I’ve never seen so many owls hunt during the day, and the squirrels have been in hyper-drive. What does that have to do with an early winter? I have no idea. I’m not even an amateur meteorologist. Someone told me pinecones packed high on the tops of trees indicate a cold, snowy winter. YES! Must be a Farmer’s Almanac thing. Why would trees do that? Maybe if there is a megaton of snow, the pinecones won’t get buried and rot in the spring melt. Who knows? I’m ready for snow.

Wonder why I’m excited? This photo says it all…


Yep. Those are ski runs in the hills out yonder.

It melted today (moan), but I think the Old Man is lurking. I bet there will be more surprises on the horizon. Winter will arrive early this year.

Are you ready for winter? Has the Old Man surprised your neighborhood yet?

Summer’s Race for Stillness

three daisies

Summer fun includes a wide range of activities. Some can be enjoyed at breakneck speeds while others require taking a moment to be still and take in the surrounding beauty.

It’s wildflower season in the high country. Summer is so fleeting at high altitudes, it’s hard to find them at their peak. I went on a quest.

While hiking Baker’s Tank in Breckenridge, Colorado, I shared the trail with others on a different sort of quest. It was part of a race course for mountain bikers. I was surprised they took the time to say hello, smiling and chatting as they passed. Later, I found out the race was 100 miles long! I don’t know if you’ve ever biked in the mountains, but sometimes you can walk faster than you can bike when trails become treacherous.

On the way back home, I found this amazing field of flowers. They were backlit by afternoon sun. Time stood still while I stopped to take in this magnificent sight.

In stillness we find beauty.


daisy macro

As I headed to the car, a bike racer road up behind me on the trail. He was a couple miles away from the finish line, all downhill. You can see the relief in the smile on his face.

“How many hours have you been biking?” I asked.

mountain bike racer

“Nine hours. Almost done,” he said while whizzing by.

Amazing. We both succeeded in our quests only mine required complete stillness.

Do you have plans to go hiking this summer? Is it winter where you live? Have you ever mountain biked or found a huge field of wild flowers?

This is a response to the Weekly Photo Challenge – Details.

Click for more adventures on my Wild Ride. You are welcome to share my photos on Pinterest!

It’s Official! Wild Tags

Wild tags

After five years of writing for Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride, it’s official! They’ll see me coming now… Wild tags for a Wild Rider.

Would you ever buy vanity license plates? What would yours say?

Dissolving Bone, Wimping Out and Shaping Up

Hey, Wild Riders! How was your weekend?

Would you take a pill that dissolved bone?

dissolving bone

You’ve seen the commercials. Almost every drug has side-effects. My oncologist switched me from Tamoxifen, which can cause uterine cancer to Anastrozole, which breaks down bone. You can imagine I’ve been more than a little concerned. I picture a vinegar-like substance hitting my bloodstream. It rushes through my veins and arteries. When it comes in contact with my bone, Tsssssss, it dissolves it like acid. Not good, right?

I’ve become obsessed with everything that strengthens bone. I’m 5’4” and don’t want to lose any height. As it is, I have a hard time reaching the top shelf on tippy toe.

With all the calcification they saw in my breast tissue before my double boobectomies, (the radiologist said my boob x-rays lit up), I was reluctant to go back to taking calcium supplements. Instead, I’ve been on a calcium-rich diet. My oncologist also mentioned, weight-bearing exercise.

You might remember how I broke my wrist the first week in January. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? The fall could have broken anyone’s wrist, according to my doctor, but you never know. After being relegated to sitting inside my house for eight weeks, I hit the gym way too hard. My knee ballooned up like a basketball. I overdid it, so I cut back. Waaaaay back.

Have you ever seen a penned up mustang? That’s how I felt, without the mane.

penned horse

My daughter texted me last week. She has been taking classes to become a certified personal trainer. The next best thing to having a doctor in the family. She told me in order to build bone I needed to engage in weight-bearing exercises including quickness, speed, and agility.

Parkour jumping from ledge to ledge

Whoa. That sounded a lot like tennis and skiing. Parkour looks like fun though.

I looked it up. Walking, hiking, running, weight-lifting, tennis.


The next morning, I scheduled the ball machine. I couldn’t imagine sprinting again after weeks of taking it easy. Even though I had been on the exercise bike (which is NOT weight-bearing exercise), and had been walking, I felt weak.

Would I dog after the ball like an old lady? Would I injure myself in some other horrific way?

I quickly banished those thoughts. Geez! I’m a Wild Rider, after all.

The last person who used the machine set it so the ball would go straight up the middle. I sighed and set a big span. Yep. I would run for every random ball that was fed.

tennis player's racket turns into light saber

I felt like a Jedi warrior.

Soaking wet and out of breath afterward, I felt great. The true test was the next day. No pain. My knee was normal-sized. Wow. Ha!

I had been babying myself, BIG TIME

No more.

Danny and I skied on the first of May. I plowed through the moguls and hit the trees. Not literally, thank God.

Take a look!


view of A-basin from the top

The weather has changed once again and it will be a lovely week. Time for Wild Adventure!


Are you shaping up for summer? Have you challenged yourself recently? How do you feel about videos on the Wild Ride?


Just Messing Around

We’re all in contact with digital technology. It can be more than difficult to learn the full capabilities of the tools we use every day. I bought a Sony 3N Digital SLR camera almost three years ago. I have taken thousands of pictures, not knowing how to use it. Every once in a while, I got lucky. I have a zillion excuses for not taking a class, but I’ll spare you my long list.

With so many disappointing results, I turned to my iPhone for picture-taking.

Something wasn’t right.

I stopped by Mike’s Camera in Boulder. The man behind the counter shrugged. “It’s a great camera,” he said.

I signed up for a class.

*mind blown*

I messed around with the settings and took some pictures in my yard. Here are some of the results:

juniper berries taken with macro lens


close up of snow crab next to pond


Crabtree blossoms with macro lens

I cropped the last photo which was already in zoom. Suck it, iPhone!

It's a duck on a pond

I regret not taking the class sooner, but I’m a coffee cup half-full kinda girl.

It made me wonder what else I don’t know. Probably more than I think. Ask anyone. And yes, you will see more photos on the Wild Ride.

Do you like to take classes? Are you into photography? Do you like ducks or would you like to creep up behind that drake and give him a little scare?

Ski Therapy in Beaver Creek

Aspens in Beaver Creek

My family went skiing at Beaver Creek Ski Resort, Colorado last weekend. I wondered if my knee would be stable and strong enough in the heavy wet snow. I knew it would be therapeutic to exercise in the fresh air.

I had a partial knee replacement over a year ago. Although my doctor thought I would be back to my wild life in a few weeks, it started squeaking and then became really noisy last summer. Now it grinds and squeaks! Weird right? What’s really weird is it’s totally painless, but can swell. My orthopedic surgeon thinks the scar tissue could wear off as I use it. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Anxious to get back into shape after a broken wrist, I overdid it a few weeks ago. Stationary biking, walk/running, working out with weights and playing tennis was too much in one week. My angry knee swelled up like a gargantuan grapefruit. It took a few weeks to calm it down.

I knew skiing would be risky and I didn’t want to endure yet another setback. But sometimes you just have to go for it to find out if you’re ready.

My son, Kelly, me, Leksy Wolk, and my daughter, Courtney.  Do I look confident?

Kelly, Susie, Leksy Wolk, and Courtney Lindau at the entrance to the terrain park

I survived the first run without a problem.

Skiing under the chairlift at Beaver Creek

The April, ice cream-like snow was smooth and easy to carve. Although I felt my muscles work hard, my knee felt great.

I’m the one behind the camera.

Skiing the slopes at Beaver Creek As the day wore on, my confidence grew. I even skied a rail in the terrain park. Ha! Sorry. I have no proof. You’ll have to take my word for it.

My husband, Danny, and daughter, Courtney, clowned around in the snow. 

Clowning around trick skiing

The day after, my muscles were sore, but it was a good kind of sore. Although my knee was a little swollen, it resembled a knee and nothing from the produce department.

We drove down from the mountains and I took our Bichon, Roxy, for a walk. No running. No weightlifting. No biking. Just a walk.

This time, I’ll get back in shape by adding a small amount to each workout. Maybe my knee will quiet down and someone will record me in the terrain park.

That would be WILD!

Do you have a tendency to overdo it or do you ease into activity after a setback? Have you ever been to Beaver Creek? 

This is a response to the Weekly Photo Challenge – Landscape.

When March Becomes Monstrous and Mazelike

To me, spring break is synonymous with warm, sunny beaches while surfing, swimming and exploring.

We didn’t plan a vacation this spring.

*cue sound of needle scratching record*

Dj scratching record gif

Not quite what I was looking for, but you get my drift, right?

No worries! March padded in with little lamb toes. They were so cute and pink and soft… Buds formed on the trees and some leafed out. My roses basked in the warm sunshine. I enjoyed temperatures that hovered in the high sixties.

And then, when we least expected it, that baby lamb transformed into a MONSTROUS WILD CREATURE! I live in Colorado, but I still wasn’t prepared.

We woke up to this on Wednesday.

snow covered windows

Snow flew sideways in quarter-sized flakes plastering our windows like a landscape from The Day After Tomorrow.

The day after tomorrow polar vortex gif

So when you just wake up and you can’t see out your windows ON THE SECOND FLOOR it makes you think. Okay. It made ME think.

Me: Whoa! How much snow fell last night? Thirty feet? Is this Snowmageddon? Is this the beginning of a new Ice Age?

Sure forecasters predicted snow, but in the 2-4 inch range. Inches. Not FEET!

If you look closely, you can see the size of the flakes.


Our Bichon, Roxy, wasn’t having it. She’s a hopper and for having super short front legs, she can race across the lawn like a rabbit, if there isn’t any snow on said lawn.

Roxy couldn’t see above the shoveled path.



She was like:

maze in The Shining gif

After my husband, Danny, shoveled a path to the street, Roxy shot through the tunnel-like maze. She continued to the street right past him to an intersection of tire track on the road. I raced out after her, but she wouldn’t come to me when I called.

A neighbor whose flight was cancelled drove up to us. While we commiserated about the snow and beach vacations, Roxy trotted all the way down the long block until I couldn’t see her anymore. As I grew concerned, her little head appeared in the tire track as she ran back with her head down and tail between her legs.

I brought her back inside the house.


Then I built a snow woman.

Do you think it’s fair that snowman is one word and snow woman is two? I don’t.

building a snow woman

We had heard from a very reliable forecasting source, (Okay, so there is no such thing) temperatures would rise into the 50’s the next day.

Although it warmed up into the 40’s, we woke up to this at twilight on Saturday morning. WHAT? MORE SNOW!

another snowy day backyard photo and pond in Boulder

When will it end?

Snow can fall through May. I better start planning a vacation.

Are you ready for a spring vacation or are you already on one? Can I come and visit?

This is a response to the Friday Photo Challenge – Half-Light in the reverse of the old allegory, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.”