Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fun with Heather, skiing, restaurants, shopping, and mountain lion tracks

Much fun happening here and a little animal drama. We have been cooking, eating out, skiing, shopping and generally having merriment with Heather.

had to have the pizza of course
Beautiful weather for skiing  except Heather had a major issue with her boots. Pain and numbness meant cut the day short and go to town and change out boots.

hanging out at the top
The animals have started popping out in great quantities everywhere. It's been pretty warm for here (mid-30's) and no new snow. Coyote, fox, deer, elk (3 big bulls were on "our" secret shortcut road back home after dinner), and, this is a big and, enormous mountain lion tracks in my snowshoe trail yesterday. I'm so used to seeing coyote and fox tracks, it was a shock to see giant prints, to the point that as I got deeper in our woods following the trail, I got nervous and turned around. Heather looked up info and I shouldn't have worried: as they are nocturnal hunters and conflict with humans rare.Even so...
Brought Mark back out and we trekked to the end of his trail at the overlook. You can see where he went straight down the hill across Carbon Creek Rd over to SMR common ground. Whew, We measured the paw prints and he was in the max category, we surmise male and 150lbs +.

Finally success with homemade tortillas thanks to Heather. This was from Heather's online cooking challenge - lots of people are participating including Mark. He had made them twice, second time better, but nothing like the yummy ones we remember. High altitude adjustment was the key. We ignore this piece most of the time - whoops.

 A few days left before Heather is back to Maryland. More adventures to come we hope!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Fire and ice, the winter constant

We've had snow, we've had monster wind, and now we have sun and calm. Terrific since Heather flies in tomorrow. We've put our order in for perfect weather while she's here. Fingers crossed.

We went skiing (downhill) the other day and this giant group of elk were just off the highway.. There were  many more out of frame - probably 200 in total. They were still there when we came back later in the afternoon. Crazy - what were they doing?

The monster wind caused enormous snow drifts all over Star Mt. including our driveway. Our neighbor valiantly attempted to clear our driveway with some extra entertainment getting his truck stuck. Lots of effort (Mark helped) later got things clear. Thanks Pete!
 Most of us who have been here for some portion of winter the last few years would say this has been a pretty rigorous one. Not done yet... Glad we still have enormous amounts of firewood from the woods cleanup 2 years ago. And thanks master fire maker Mark!

We are officially on baby watch. Baby #2 is due in less than a month (well,a month minus a day) still it counts. After Heather's visit, we have Paul and family coming for spring skiing, but I will break away to fly to Tiffany's in Virginia for the final baby countdown. Now no one knows when Miss Baby #2 will decide, (yes, it's a girl) to arrive, that's the scramble.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Deer and snow work, otherwise called winter sports

Warm temps (at least for here- mid 30's) make for lots of fun in the snow and some slushy muddy roads. Oh, well. Our white car will not be white again for some time. Lots of people around for the holiday weekend. Mark went up the mountain for a couple hours of skiing and surprise, shuttle buses jammed with people like sardines and long lift lines, but he zoomed into the singles line bypassing all. We are both going up the mountain skiing tomorrow as I was opting to wait until the crowds went away. I'm definitely a fair weather downhill skier wanting perfect for my not so expert technique.

Deer in town (Gunnison) as we drove in for errands. Acting a bit like pets there.

Crossing over the Slate River - looks just a tad different
Yes, apparently people snowshoe here too
Ended up cross country skiing two days in yet another new area that was beautiful, requiring a map again. These trails are all complicated. We happily made a right turn away from the black run (yes cross country has black) called Mordor. Any Lord of the Rings fan should recognize this. I'm thinking it will be quite awhile before we'll be ready for that. Nice long run for us anyway - 3.5 miles. Did try Middle Earth (yes, get that name reference again) today - a little more challenging with some hills for practice. To be honest not so much hill practice, this herringbone step up and edgeless snow plow down is not easy - at all. A great workout this sport!

Word of warning, when it is sunny and 15 degrees, do not wear too much clothing as in jacket, hat, or long underwear for cross country. BIG MISTAKE. Today was such a day, gorgeous, but the amount of sweat equity in this equals wear less clothing. Mark was sweating and heat stroke seemed imminent, so we chose a shorter run. Phew...

Never had seen the machines that actually groom these trails for classic and skate. Quite the thing. Remember there are 56 miles of cross country trails in CB alone.

summer exit to the back patio
back patio
After cross country ate at Sunflower Deli today. Mark's idea (surprise since he's not really a sandwich guy) but I never think of it in winter. They've either remodeled or it just looks different in the cold.  Good food.

Started with deer and ending with them. Deer out and about on our way home. There were 20 more behind this group. Our car pause for photos hopefully caused them to go the other way - they were heading to cross hwy135, a very bad idea in the middle of the day...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

February and lots more winter

Those couple inches of snow here and there turned into a monster amount - 3 feet. We haven't been around for this much snow since we've have the house. What a winter, what great snow!

Yup, that's Mark out in the whiteout
Much snow blowing, much shoveling, multi treks on snowshoes to clear our satellite dish of ice and snow (well, you gotta have TV right?), many visits from our neighbor to clear our driveway plus our road snow removal guy with heavy duty equipment. He, by the way, spent two 15 hour days trying to keep up with the snow and keep the roads open. It's exhausting just writing this...

After it was all over, I went out to assess and start breaking the snowshoe trail, again.Something interesting in both the above photos, no fence. The snow depth has taken over and we have at least 6 weeks for more.

Crested Butte got even more than we did and the town was digging out when we went in for lunch and some cross country skiing.

Avalanches are everywhere right now including right here at home at Star Mt. One blocked Carbon Creek until the county could get out to clear. Accident just yesterday with a snowmobiler at Kebler Pass killed in an avalanche. Denver TV spends time every day pleading for back country skiers and snowmobiles to stay off. It's crazy out there.

The back end views of Crested Butte we don't often see. We were exploring the nordic trail area via car this time. It's a complicated set of trails that a map does not explain fully.

And what is this? Says barbecue on the bottom, coming soon on the top. Really...may have to see what that's about this summer.

And late on list of books read, of course. Anatomy of Murder by Imogen Robertson - number 2 in her British 17th century murder mystery - excellent series. The Sisters Antipodes by Jane Alison - very good memoir of her childhood, but disturbing. How two sets of diplomat parents switched partners with each other. How to devastate children should have been the title. I found her from the historical fiction class where she was a guest author.Very talented. And lastly, Paris in Love, a memoir by Eloise James. Excellent also, she is a romance novelist and esteemed professor at Fordham University (she hid the romance writing for some years -thought backlash -probably correctly!)
Countdown for company. Heather's coming in 10 days!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Big horn sheep, Olympics,Tibetan food, and nordic skiing

And the winter continues. It's been snowing a couple inches during the day and than again at night the last few days. More to come.

I think I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. Here, when you see flashing lights from an oncoming car, you do not slow way down to avoid the speed trap, you slow down for the wildlife. I'm so used to this now that if I rounded a corner and flashing lights were there, I'd screech to a halt in shock. These big horn were out again on the road outside Almont. They do not watch out for cars so we must.

Anyone excited about the Olympics? We always watch summer or winter, but it feels pretty close to home this year. In addition to Dr. Gloria as CMO in Sochi, we have 4 people from Crested Butte in the 2014 Winter Olympics as participants or coaches. WOW! I'm thinking that's a pretty high percentage for this teeny tiny town of Crested Butte.

We made it out cross country skiing again. Remember this was the first time since the intermediate hill track debacle. We went back to our 2.3 mile flat track and I'm happy to report we breezed through it. At least something was accomplished with all that sloppy hill effort - the flat seemed effortless.

Went to MoMo's for lunch which is inside what was Montanya Rum. It's a sorry looking karaoke bar weekend nights now. Our food was great however,had a momo among other things, and in the summer he's outside by the Buddha serving his Tibetan food. Another person from the Kathmandu area. Crazy. And not to worry - Montanya Rum has just moved down the street.

A few facts learned so far from my Roman Architecture class:
Roman cement is better and lasts much longer than modern day cement, and it's green (lime,volcanic ash, crushed rock, seawater).
They were bath crazy, daily, hot, cold, repeat, and no soap. Olive oil and scraping were the tools of the day.
A sea sponge on a stick was used as toilet paper, stored in vinegar between uses (did you really want to know this?)
Romans served hot fast food in the streets long, long before we had a thought.