Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Big Snow A'Coming

What happens when a big snowstorm is coming (1 to 3 feet) in the Crested Butte/Gunnison area?
Nothing - no grocery store bread, milk, and toilet paper panic, no emptying shelves at the hardware store of firewood, snow shovels, etc., no automatic school cancellations  A different land here indeed...
Mark went skiing with a friend up on the mountain and I went snowshoeing in the woods before the stuff starts falling from the sky. We moved some more firewood into the garage for dryness, that's about the extent of the preparedness. I'll let you know just how much it turned out to be.

After our advanced cross country lesson we optimistically zipped out to the trails that had been recommended to tune us up for unlevel ground and hills, since we think we are ace on flat track. Um, a big HA, HA, HA on the tune up. We slopped around the 5k trail is the best I can describe it. Grunting, we herringboned our way up hills and then either fell or, in my case, became completely out of control on the way downhill putting my beloved spouse at risk. The endless trail, and yes, we had a map, was gorgeous but we were sweating bullets, exhausted, and in fact took off our skis and walked down and up a couple of those stupid hills. There were other people of all ages zipping by us, a couple with their very small baby in a carrier with little skis so as to ease the ride up and down, and a group of advanced age happily effortlessly zooming on the trail. A little more practice is needed I think.

elk at leisure
We have seen porcupine, bald eagles, fox, coyote, elk, and big horn sheep of recent days. Only caught photos of a few, and these crazy big horn sheep were practically on the road as we went by. No big males in this group.

Mill Creek
Happy Snow!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

And we embrace winter

Gorgeous weather has continued. It is amazingly beautiful around here. The Castles from a little different view (Carbon Rd) Had I mentioned what we learned in the Gunnison Cty history class last year at Western? The Castles are the remnants of a much higher volcanic peak that exploded - millions of year ago of course.

We still have not seen any wildlife around the house or in our woods. Now that's not saying they're not here, the variety of animal tracks around is great. It's the all skulking nighttime activity rather than in the daytime. I did see an amazing print in the snow of a hawk (above) near my snowshoe path. Swooping down for prey?

Speaking of snowshoeing, twice now have heard the avalanche boom while out. Mark was there as a witness one of the days just so I can say I wasn't imagining things. Somewhere on Carbon Peak or the Anthracites is our best guess. There is avalanche danger all over the place in this area. And our extreme skiers are just on it and going to the outer regions all the time. I overheard two young guys talking about the purchase of an avalanche beacon, apparently a save your money, must buy item for the wild and crazy. $400 crazy...

There was a goodbye/good luck celebration for Dr. Gloria Beim yesterday in CB. She leaves shortly for Sochi as the chief medical officer for the Olympics. From our small area - yippee!

Red tail Hawk nest - empty sadly
Finally signed up for another cross country lesson yesterday. Had a great instructor Molly at the Nordic center in Crested Butte. Whooey, we were two tired people after the hour plus session. Learned a lot -technique, technique, technique. We plan to go out to a different area tomorrow to practice. Keep the body moooving.

The "little" hill in front is Star Mountain
And the Roman Architecture class marches on. The real work begins this week, as they always give you a soft start before they hit you with quizzes, peer assessments, projects, etc. Ha, I know the drill.
Finally the books read list. Just forgot to add, and you may notice I have taken off the revolving librarything book list on the blog. I still am a participating member (great site for storing, cataloging , etc your books) just time to overall the blog design a bit.
My Father's House: A childhood in wartime Bavaria by Beatrix Ost - very goodmemoir, had to order a hard copy, no digital
Leave the Grave Green by Deborah Crombie - one in a British murder mystery series - good
Lost on Planet China by J. Maarten Troast - great travel writer with a crazy sense of humor. China is a mess, I'm going to say...
The Devils Cave by Martin Walker - love, love his murder mystery series set in France
Paris, A Love Story by Kati Marton - wow , great memoir by the woman who was married to Peter Jennings and Richard Holbrooke both deceased sadly, and she is a great journalist writer in her own right.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Outdoors in the majestic mountains

After all the wind and snow that manufactured itself just for Star Mt. we have had picture perfect last few days. We have taken full advantage and been skiing up on the mountain, snowshoeing in our woods, and cross country skiing in CB. Breathtaking crystal clear blue skies and sparkly snow and reasonable temps -single digits at night and high 20's daytime. Really, that's great for here - last year at this time it was -20 every night.  Single digits at night and high 20's daytime. So of course, I start to worry about losing our great snowpack situation in the area, and when is the next good snowfall happening,  but, I have promised myself to just leave it alone - as if we can do anything about the weather.

We can however have our driveway widened back out after wind and wind and wind nearly blew it shut. New sport for Mark - driveway snow hill climbing...

Most around here get out and about doing some kind of activity, otherwise you'll go stir crazy. Our drive up the Taylor saw a few at the hog trough fishing in the frigid water, and some ice hut fisherman at the reservoir. No, Mark has not tried that yet and you won't catch me either - all I can think of is the Grumpy Old Men movie.

The first skiing up the mountain was actually good for me (remember I'm the nervous nellie downhill skier now) so definitely will be back up. Amazing mountain, no lift lines anywhere...Some unknown artist has wonderful ice sculptures all around the square, interesting  the impermanence of it. All that work and it will be gone come sometime in March.

I shake my head over all the equipment we have - snowshoes, poles, boots, downhill - boots, poles, skis, and yet another set of skis, poles, boots for cross country. CRAZY. Summer requires so little...

Elk out and about on our way home
Lunch at the new Coal Creek Grill in the Forest Queen Hotel after cross country. It was very good, a little southwestern flair and game meats - open breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don't know the full story of how Paradise Cafe is out or if the owner will reemerge elsewhere, but now a couple from Alaska are running the hotel and opened the new restaurant last Nov. Continuous change around here, hard to keep up.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The joys of January and company

Wonderful visit with Lisa, Charles, Chase, and Heli. Brave group coming in from Santa Fe, not that they had winter weather, WE did. The magical, or not, winter weather just at Star Mt. Mark waited for them at the gate in the jeep and ,gently of course, helped bump them up the road to our house. 2 wheel drive you see...

Super fast cramming in what we could. A trip down memory lane visiting the old Spring Creek Resort, now a private neighbourhood with lovely homes. Yes the Rock is still there. Mark and Lisa came here for childhood vacations, we all brought our children for years, and in fact Lisa and Charles were married there. Sad it's gone...

Our wildlife behaved in an amazing way to entertain the visitors. Up the Taylor the big horn sheep were out to say hi. Actually one ram was close enough to our group I got a little nervous. Them's sure biggin animals...

Up to Crested Butte to eat at Secret Stash (of course) and see a little bit of town. Chase has never been here in winter and fiancé Heli not at all. Psst, there's a Santa Fe wedding coming up in 2014- we'll be there with bells on!

Lots of laughs, later hours than my norm, Mark's paella (yum), and a last stop before they trekked home, at Power Stop. Ooh, crazy Gunnison place with the most interesting eclectic hamburger menu. Wow another first for the Santa Fe group. Come back soon...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The main event in January - SNOW

Bit of drama here. The gigantic winds kicked up again causing drifts large enough to suck a number of our neighbor's cars in before our plow guy from town could get here. One set of neighbors had just flown into Gunnison and drove into Star Mt. only to find they couldn't get to their house up the hill. They stayed our house for a couple of hours with tea, coffee, and a blazing fire while waiting for the plow. In the meantime, our landline (oh, yes that antiquated thing) dropped every call in or out, and as many of you know, there is no cell service at the house, making it quite difficult to communicate with the plow guy and the neighbors. That problem is fixed, well temporarily anyway, after repairmen found the main power boxes had blown. How did those miners and their families manage here in the winter...

Lots of snowshoeing the last couple days, which of course guarantees more snow will fall to cover up the hard work of breaking the trail. We went on our neighbors track as well - twice as long as ours and really pretty. Mark spotted bear claw tracks all the way up a large aspen. Quite a sight - what scared it up there?

And so, it is snowing today, but only on Star Mt. 2 inches last night, 4 more so far today. I went into town and nothing. Very disconcerting. And this reminds me to add I have been an unfriendly "Gunny" person on the roads since we've been back as I cannot seem to remember to wave as a car passes by. This is the norm here, just not where we've been. The bigger the city the more its "us against them". God love the small town. It's also the only place I've been where you give out your local phone number using only the last 4 digits.

old miner's cabin
More business changes, this time in Gunnison. Long time restaurant Farrells is closing the end of January, and a new store on Main has opened, called The Local Market owned by Kathleen Curry, our ex state Representative. She and her husband own a natural beef ranch, and those meats are available, plus a whole host of local producers featuring goat cheese, vegetables, soaps, jerky, maple products, bakery, local fish etc. And I forgot to mention the most exciting item for me - local farm eggs! We have missed those tremendously since the farm we visited sold their chickens. Yippee. Crossing fingers she does well.
Also crossing fingers our Santa Fe group will be able to get here Sunday. Possible snow is in the forecast...