Fireworks & Homemade Ice Cream

This 4th of July we were able to hang out with family and cross Fireworks & Homemade Ice Cream off of our Summer List. It was awesome.072714A_7

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As we were at the checkout I look behind me and see Mark Ruffalo!

072714A_6On the walk back home we crossed a very dead snake

072714A_8and we set them off!

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(thanks to my brother for those great photos!)

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By special request mom made us some homemade ice cream

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By the time it was done churning we were all so excited to eat our share I didn’t have time to take any after photos!

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Silver Dollar Lake Trail

Back on 6.14 we tried hiking up to Silver Dollar Lake. Because the folks we were hiking with planned on meeting up at the trailhead around 7a we left home at 5…that’s FIVE AM. F.i.v.e. in the morning. We drove through/past Georgetown (an adorable mountain town). It was a beautiful drive up Guanella pass (my first scenic byway) to the trail head.

Remembering breakfast isn’t my forte and Panera can’t possibly be counted on for a quick bagel sandwich I thought…’why not leave Mr. Awesomesauce, the breakfast man in charge of breakfast?’ Best idea I’ve had. We whipped up some of his delicious Breakfasta Burritos (more on those later) friday night, wrapped them in foil and stashed them in the fridge until we woke up. The first thing I did after rolling out of bed was turn the oven to 350 and place those bad boys in. By the time we were ready to walk out the door they were perfectly reheated and delicious on the drive up.

BOOM! Finally found the perfect pre-hike breakfast! and it only took 4 months, ha.2014-06-14 08.04.39

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On to hiking. The first lake you come across on this trail is Naylor Lake, which is privately owned so eyes only and from a distance. But, man oh man was it pretty.

 

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then onto Silver Dollar Lake. First we must cross a glacier. Talk about risky business!! I’m the only one who almost fell and I did that twice! 100_0050

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100_0047after we made it across the glacier and trekked up a bit further there were more of these glaciers. No thanks! I did not want to break any of my body parts way up here! so Jake & I tried taking an alternate route, up the long way around the snow fields. All was well for a while.

then we spotted a cougar. Baaaaaaaack down the trail we went. not staying or moving further there! no way, no how.

DSC_245620We met up with our hiking buddies and took a nice long break soaking up the sun, views and the outdoors (which is really starting to become addictive I might add). Sadly no one made it to Silver Dollar Lake however i’m sure we’ll be making another trip up later this summer to try again.

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On the way back home we took Guanella pass up to Mount Bierstadt one of the 14ers (on the right) and Sawtooth. Great views, just astonishing.

DSC_247933Let me show you a ‘real’ shot of these places…here’s the parking lot at Bergen around noon thirty. I always think it’s interesting people show you what the mountains look like but no one really shows the ‘reality’ of visiting some of these places. 072714A_1Further down Guanella Pass before B we stumbled across Coney Island. Apparently the best hotdogs in the entire state. Jake tried one and was wowed.

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Overall:

Miles hiked: 3.7
Altitude gained: 1,287ft
*Post holes: >10
Wildlife spotted: Marmot, Cougar, Cute gerbil/rat like beasties & grey squirrels
 
*’Post holing’ is when your legs sink into the snow as you try to walk across

 

 

 

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Camping

072714A_45We went camping!  It was my first time camping as the ‘responsible adult’. I’ve been camping as a kid and it was awesome, my responsibilities never exceeded packing my favorite book, occasionally baiting a hook and … … that’s it.

Being the ‘responsible adult’ was a little worrisome. Did we pack enough food and water? How do we find a place to camp? What happens if we encounter a BEAR?! (no so much a worry in KS) Where do we put the food & trash away to avoid raccoons and other mischievous rodents?

072714A_19Let me say I was over thinking it. Waaay over thinking it. It’s not that hard or complicated. I’d say the most difficult thing about my first grown-up camping trip was finding a spot that made everyone happy. Jake & I didn’t want to be surrounded by people and we wanted a great view. More google searching that necessary led me to Rampart Range Road. Rumored to be beautiful with plenty of trails and they allow ‘dispersed camping’.

I had no idea what ‘Dispersed Camping’ was so I called the Forest Ranger Station. (WOW! Those folks are amazingly friendly, helpful and seriously funny!) Dispersed camping is where you drive down the road and just pull off wherever you’d like to set up camp. Free. AWESOME! I was imagining just pulling off the road and being like “Here’s my flag, I’m declaring this as mine for the weekend!”072714A_4

Not so much. There are specific places the parks department has set aside, flattened, cleared and numbered off. The concept is still the same: Pull off the road, steak a section as yours and camp but it’s more convenient with less bushwhacking.

The downside to this experience is we live in Colorado. Where everyone wants to camp for free on the weekends. Out of 39 dispersed spots there was only 1 left when Jake & I hit the road. It was quickly snatched up by the Jeep in front of us; we were car #3 in a line of 5 on Friday afternoon at 3. So instead of the freebee sites we pulled into the Devil’s Head Campground.

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072714A_20WOWZERS! Great views, a picnic table, grill and a fire pit were all provided. As well as water, a bear proof trash bin and a port-a-john. All for just $16 a night. Not bad! PLUS when you claim a site no one else can come up and camp in your claimed spot; not the case with Dispersed Camping, if you pick a site and someone else wants to park their tent 10 feet away they will.

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072714A_21This is shaping up to be a loooooong post.

We grabbed our permit, picked a spot for our tent and got busy setting up.

072714A_25The tent went up without a hitch. We bought a bundle of firewood at the grocery store before we left town in the event we couldn’t find any. With that we started a fire (by we I mean Jake and our friend, not me) and got the bratwursts and hotdogs going. YUM!

072714A_26The only hardship, after finding a campsite, was sleeping on Friday night. I brought our air mattress and since we’re one sleeping bag short of a pair I pulled a ‘glamping’ stunt and dressed it like a regular bed, sheets, quilt and used the sleeping bag as a comforter. In Kansas this would’ve been well warm enough on a day that hit 90+, not the case in Colorado where the humidity is null and the heat leaves when the sun sets. It was COLD! The air was so frigid in our mattress it felt like we were sleeping on an ice block.

072714A_27Saturday night I put 3 beach towels across the top of that ice block of a bed and the difference was astonishing. We slept much better – that could also be because we didn’t hit the sack til after midnight.

072714A_13Saturday morning we warmed up some of Jake’s delicious breakfast burritos (made at home & wrapped in foil, zipped in a bag, left on ice in the cooler) and used the french press for coffee. I wasn’t about to go 2 days without it!

072714A_16After lounging in the sun for a few hours and gathering more wood we had sandwiches. More  lounging and fire making, we cooked up Chicken Kabobs and foil potatoes. We were stuffed!

Of course there is always room for s’mores!

072714A_29Sunday morning we had bagels & cream cheese, took down the tent and headed home.

072714A_10This wasn’t really an adventurous camping experience, it was more of an informational gathering ‘can we do this?’ and ‘what gear do we need’ kind of trip. In all actuality for me it was a ‘be surrounded by nature and relax’ weekend. Which was much needed and so refreshing.

072714A_18We’ll be doing this again. hopefully soon. Definitely with a little more adventure.

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Onsies

Jake & I made some onsies for our little nephew.

Using the same fabric stenciling technique as I did on the “Crafty Bag” we made these:

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Jake’s is a little hard to read in the photo but it’s a Daft Punk song title “Up all night” in a little glow-in-the-dark robot helmet. He’s so clever.

Mine’s from the song Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show. I saw this on-line somewhere and that song was stuck in my head for days.

In case you haven’t heard these songs:

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Calzones

I saw this on Pinterest and thought…that HAS to happen in my kitchen.

It did. And it was good.

We used Bisquick to make some pizza dough (warm water and Bisquick), pizza sauce & Cheese.

IMG_0002Jake sliced the sides & we pulled the little arms over the cheesy goodness.

IMG_0003baked at 375 (I think) until the bread was all toasty brown.

IMG_0006We ate the whole thing up. Then made it again with turkey pepperoni the next week.

Highly recommended!

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Bergen Peak

Bergen Peak - 4 (1)On April 4th we tackled Bergen Peak outside Evergreen, CO. We started out a little later than usual, as in after 8a, so we ran into a little more foot traffic than we typically do which wasn’t really an issue.

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Bergen Peak - 4.4 (23)This out and back trail was easy to follow, but at this time of the year we ran into quite a bit of snow. Quite a bit. The air was crisp and clean with a bit of highway noise towards the beginning.

Bergen Peak - 4 (4)There are two magnificent overlook points. One, closer to the beginning of Bergen Peak Trail.

Bergen Peak - 4.4 (16)The second was a mile from the summit.

Bergen Peak - 4.4 (24)That last mile up the summit we felt like mountaineers. Snow covered the trail so thickly our tracks were the only foot prints up there. It was gorgeous!

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Bergen Peak - 4.4 (41)There are a few Jessica-isms from this trip that MUST be shared.

Let me begin this one with the following disclaimer: I didn’t have a compass and, at least for me, when you’re up there it’s hard to get your bearings. We summit (more on that later) and I’m looking at flat land, awestruck. I’m misty eyed with the sheer beauty of the landscape and our view.

I look down over flat planes and sigh “wow, this is amazing” followed by the declaration “I’m seeing NEVADA! Is that VEGAS?!”

“That’s Denver dear.” Jake standing over my shoulder kindly replied.

“oh. . . well that’s mildly disappointing.” HA! Bergen Peak - 4.4 (26)

Second Jessica-ism wasn’t fully realized until several days after our hike. I was so proud to have summited a real peak, something substantial, I’d worked pretty hard to get up there and back down without much complaint, the view was majestic. I’m sharing with co-workers this awesome experience and our wise guide Rick piped up…

“So you went around to the little radio tower just a few feet behind the rocky overlook right?”
“No, not me, someone else did but not me.” I replied skeptically “Why?”
“Well that radio tower the real summit…you were just a few feet away!”
“Your KIDDING ME?!” I reply in near fury.

We made that 9.4 mile hike up through snow, down through ice worried about a snow storm the whole way and i didn’t even actually SUMMIT!??! not cool.

We’ll just have to try again later this summer.

Bergen Peak - 4 (6)Miles hiked: 9.4 (Making this the longest hike we’ve taken so far)

Altitude gained: 2,100ftBergen Peak - 4.4 (46)
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June Love

This idea stolen from Janet who apparently ‘borrowed’ it from a few other women.

 

Visiting Family : it was a blast kicking the month off with family in KS and having Julie in town for a week

The BBC’s Sherlock: with all three seasons on Netflix it was hard to ‘ration’ this addictive show.

Touring down a Scenic Byway: Colorado is by far the most beautiful state I’ve ever been in. ever.

e.v.e.r.

Camping: tents, sleeping bags, s’mores, a campfire, it was magnificent

Patio Time: it’s wonderful to have a little slice of the front range to come home and watch the sunset over after a day at the office

Lunch Dates: twice this month we were able to fit in lunch dates

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(i couldn’t help myself, she’s just too cute!)

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Coors Tour

IMG_0022In the quiet and quaint town of Golden you will find the Coors factory. They happen to give free tours. We happened to have a free Sunday afternoon. Perfect-o!

I’d been told to take the ‘long’ tour which is about 45 minutes long. Apparently the ‘short tour’ is simply a ride in the elevator to a lounge. (Booooring!) I’ll try not to spoil anything but it was a fun & educational tour.

IMG_0004On ‘the long tour’ you’re shown through the majority of the facility, you get to see the barley being roasted, the beer being brewed and learn all about how Adolph Coors kept his company afloat during the prohibition era. Did you know he invented aluminum drinking cans? We were told he didn’t mind sharing his invention with others so it wasn’t copyrighted.  We also learned Mr. Coors chose Golden because of the natural Rocky Mountain springs. ‘Tap the Rockies’ was a catchy slogan but it’s also truth!

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The building on the Right is part of the original factory and the section on the left is new, interestingly enough our guide said that if new equipment is purchased and won’t fit into the current building, sections of the concrete can be removed to make room…innovative!

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Verdict: DO IT! It’s fun even if you’re not a beer person, seeing a cool and ridiculously old factory was pretty neat; do I need to remind you it’s absolutely FREE?!

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Summer Reading

Reading was the 1st item on both of our Guidelines for Better Living this year.

Sadly we’ve dropped the ball. As of today I have finished only 2 books and I Jake’s still working through the first.

The ball is on the court, sadly rolling away.

This week we’re pickin’ it back up and have dreams of jaw dropping slam dunks by December 31st.

Here are the stacks on our nightstands:

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